Irja Bodén: Constellations
Amos Eno Gallery, New York, NY, March 30 - April 30, 2023.
Curator: Emireth Herrera Valdés
Installation view of the gallery.
Bodén's ceramics begin as functional vessels, which she transforms into non-functional forms. The works reference subterranean, terranean, and celestial realms, as well as the dualities of the immigrant experience: empty vs. full, new vs. old, and strange vs. familiar. Bodén articulates that
our memories reinvent themselves into new constellations of self. Empty vessels yet are full, just as the night sky holds our constellations; we take the stars from random and ambiguous to a deliberate, though subjective, interpretation. Most vessels contain other ceramics, with some but loosely placed, with unfixed interior pieces, to receive a new arrangement upon another showing, echoing malleable identities.
With Constellations, Bodén utilizes assemblage to articulate vessels as messengers. In Geoffrey Winthrop-Young's article Material World: An Interview With Bernhard Siegert (Artforum, Summer, 2015), media theorist Siegert relates, "With a pot, empty and full comes into the world. You need a pot to have that difference. [Vessels] are not symbolic objects. They are actors. [P]ots are not closed objects; instead, they show that all things . . . are . . . ambiguous things that can exist in two forms and two realities . . . ." Similarly, the artist invites us to experience a transformation of stories, dreams, and conversations poured into a vessel.
Through this exhibition, Bodén invites you to take part in a journey. Beginning with Earth Shell, this series evokes a deep connection with the land; it continues with Passages, whose amorphous forms suggest transcendence. As the sculptures in the Ferrum series remain patient observers, Oracle and Aurora take us to the firmament to complete the journey.
Installation of works from the Passage series, 2023
Earth Shell and Oracle installation, 2023
Installation of Oracles and Earth Shell, 2023
Fe [iron spirits] group of 11, 2022, alternative fired ceramic; various sizes 4 - 9 in.
Earth Shell 1, 2022, alternative fired ceramic, 28.5 x 11.5 x 11.5 in.
Aurora 3, 2022, glazed ceramics, 9 x 5 x 5 in.
Aurora 8, 2022, glazed ceramics, 5 x 7 x 7 in. and Aurora 2, 2022, glazed ceramics, 11 x 5 x 5 in.
Detail of Aurora 2
Aurora 1, 2022, glazed ceramics, 9 x 6 x 6 in., and Aurora 6, 2022, glazed ceramics, 4.5 x 5.5 x 5.5 in.