Klara Kristalova creates beings that would appear to come from the dark enchanted forest in Holden Caulfield’s (The Catcher in The Rye) dreams. Kristalova is known for her ceramic sculptures, which portray narratives of change that are doomed with brooding undertones. Alongside the sculptures, her repertoire includes installations, drawings, textile works, paintings, and sketches. Kristalove finds inspiration in nearly everything: traditional myths, fairytales, Hans Christian, Oscar Wilde, TV, music, and even overheard conversations. Reflecting on these various mediums, Kristalova explores themes of trauma, the loss of childhood, changes, memory and decision-making in her work.
Born in Prague (1967), Kristalove and her family fled to Sweden when she was a child. Her mother passed away when she was only six years old and she was left to grow up with her father and brother. She studied painting at the Royal Institute of art in Stockholm. Eventually, she found the medium to be limiting and wanted to explore three-dimensional works. She began experimenting with bronze and gypsum, but being a broke student (many of us familiar with the struggle of the ramen noodle diet) led her to using clay. She was also fond of the fact that most of her peers saw ceramics as passé at the time.
It is evident that clean lines are not a daunting concern to Klara Kristalove; her creations rarely follow real life proportions and their paint bleeds like a crying drunk girl’s makeup. Their size range from smaller delicate works to almost child-like proportions. The artist primarily portrays fauns, young girls, flora, the deep woods, animal human hybrids, masks, and doubles. The roughness and muted colors of her sculptures gives them a tone of shame and isolation. These motifs remind us of the difficulties we ourselves felt (possibly still are) when growing up. The inner anxieties we all feel when shedding our childish individuality in order to fit in as adults.