Israeli artist Ronit Baranga’s ceramic sculptures are hauntingly lifelike and playful. Her education in psychology and literature resonates through her intimate and connective works on human nature, that blur the lines between living and still. We caught up for an insight into her delicate practice.
Describe your journey to this point – have you always been a ceramicist or did you begin with another medium? What is your favorite?
I have always made art, since I remember myself; it was more a need than a choice. After completing my university studies, getting married and having my first child, I decided to make a change in my life and start studying art professionally.
Tell us more about your latest ceramic tableware series.
In various series of works, I sculpted human mouths and fingers emerging from tableware. The blurred border between the living and the still in these works is intriguing. In this combination of the “still” and the “alive” joined as one, I try to change the way in which we observe useful tableware. The useful, passive, tableware can now be perceived as an active object, aware of itself and its surroundings – responding to it. It does not allow to be taken for granted, to be used. It decides on its own how to behave in the situation.
Many contact me and ask whether the tableware is for use. I find it unfortunate that the concept behind these works is not always easily comprehended: the tableware is not a useful vessel anymore.
What are the upsides and downsides of the artist life? The greatest challenges for you?
My life as an artist is filled with ups and downs. I believe this is the normal state when creating. Any sort of creation.
The greatest challenges for me are to create during the “down” periods.
Describe a typical day in your life.
Every day I enter my studio at around eight in the morning.
I leave the studio running at 13:45 to pick up my third and youngest daughter from kindergarten. This is when my daily work as sculptor ends and my day as a mother continues. At night, I sit in front of the computer; update my website, my Facebook page, my e-mail.
Do you have a studio space? Could you paint a picture of it for us?
My studio is in the backyard of my house. I designed it from scratch and followed the entire building process. Its entrance is through a display space, my “mini-gallery”. It has a wonderful yard where my kiln is. I have many work surfaces on wheels and many windows so I can work with as much natural light as possible. I love entering my studio every morning.
What is you greatest dream as an artist?
In terms of creating, my dream is to continue making art, exhibit it in serious, prestigious locations and to continue exposing it, through the web, to so many people around the world.