Gaia Head Vase
A core theme of Cathrine Raben Davidsen’s practice is a strong interest in mankind’s relationship with nature and our understanding of the spiritual world. In particular she sees the concept of transformation as an omnipresent precondition of humanity – a continuum that connects us with our surrounding environments. The ceramics for the Mess exhibition are inspired by prehistoric Mexican terracotta, Danish Bronze Age stoneware and German Bartmann ceramics from the 16th and 17th centuries. The characteristic feature of these styles, later known as Bellarmine vases or face urns, was the embedded motif of an old man’s bearded face on the neck of the bottle. In some regions, these containers were also used in occult rituals with the purpose of expelling evil spirits. By playfully adapting this stylistic expression to her own vases, Raben Davidsen introduces the association to the ghostly and spiritual in her work, juxtaposing the old tradition with a modern mystique.
By exploring various elements of the spirituality and mythology and embedding these notions within her own work, Raben Davidsen asks how we can view and re-appreciate the meaning of these ancient traditions and belief systems anew.