Constant motion and transformation underpin ceramic artist Cecil Kemperink’s philosophy, drawing inspiration from the rhythms of nature. Since 2019, she has lived on Texel, an island north of The Netherlands in the Wadden Sea that’s recognized by UNESCO as the largest continuous, undisturbed intertidal ecosystem in the world. The infinite crashing of waves on the shore, grasses or branches waving in the wind, and the way humans interact with these phenomena inspire the artist’s linked, organic pieces that combine sculpture with performance (previously). Her work centers on a sense of connectedness, both ecological and within our communities, that manifests symbolically in the form of links that expand and contract like ceramic chainmail.
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Intended to be manipulated and reshaped, each ring is looped to others to create a robust yet delicate fabric that the artist can move around on the floor, suspend from the ceiling, or wear. “Motion is a key part of the expressiveness of my sculptures,” she explains. “The movements show the importance of each circle. Every ring is essential and influences the other; they are all connected. They are all one. Every link wears the symbolism of a circle: conjunction, connection, power, endlessness, an eternally ongoing movement.” In some works, the components vary in size and can be expanded or contracted, while in others, such as “White grey tones,” they are closely connected and emphasize the circular form.
Kemperink’s sculptures bear a significant literal and metaphoric weight: when a piece is worn or carried, there is a strong awareness of its presence, responsibility for its care, and occasionally, the burden of carrying it. Characteristically, there’s also duality in the works’ being both malleable and taut. “The interaction of sculpture and woman/man opens several layers of consciousness,” she explains, as “each relation reveals new sensations, change of feelings, and a different energy. New perceptions are being shaped, multiple points of view arise, and consciousness is in full motion.”
Kemperink’s work “Wishful thinking” is included in the International Academy of Ceramics’ 70th-anniversary member’s exhibition in Geneva, Switzerland, from September 12 to 16. She has also recently started a YouTube channel, and you can find more of her work on her website and Instagram.