Taking over the halls of the König Galerie Chapel in Berlin, artist Claudia Comte presents a body of new works unified under the title Jungles and Corals, a selection of new sculptural works produced while Comte was on residency last year in Jamaica at the Alligator Head Foundation as a fellow of the TBA21–Academy. Created in collaboration with local woodworkers, the show draws on natural forms and iconographies to create a distinct and cohesive spatialized experience.
Working in Jamaica, Comte collaborated with Jamaican woodworkers in an outdoor studio set up on the premises of the Alligator Head marine Lab, and drew as well from interactions with marine biologists, conservationists and coral reef specialists as well as nature wardens. Influenced by the myriad of coral species and their strange alien forms, Comte set out to produce a body of coral shaped sculptures made from ecologically sourced tropical woods such as, almond, dogwood, and guinep wood.
Alongside the coral sculptures in the exhibition are a series of paintings that were produced in Comte’s new studio in Basel last year. The paintings are expanded through her signature geometric patterns, which oscillate in the background. The canvas is cut into eight panels and hung 18 cm apart fragmenting the image, a structural conceit often used by Comte to suggest the infinite division in all things, a meta conceit in this case that refuses categories of bifurcation. Using the language of comic book illustrations to create a sense of abstraction and distance from the original images, her work uses the distortion of natural forms to gain an abstract quality, forcing the viewer to piece them back together.
Using nature and popular culture and formats through which the artist can create new graphical patterns and experiences of space, the show is an intriguing investigation of color and form, using swirls and curves of line and shade to create an otherworldly experience of the space. Foregrounding the artist’s keen interest in the natural world through her idiosyncratic representations of mutating flora and fauna, the show’s embodied interpretations offer spaces for active reflection by positioning the viewer within a cool abstract landscape where corals and jungle take primacy.
The show closes February 28th.
– D. Creahan
Claudia Comte: Jungle and Corals [Exhibition Space]