Maria RubinkeIt's better to burn out than to fade away
11 April - 17 May 2014
The Danish artist Maria Rubinke is taking over Martin Asbæk Gallery for the first time with an exhibition that puts our view of the classic porcelain figure to the test and allows the incomprehensible and chaotic in the human subconscious to rise to the surface. The pure white porcelain surface attracts the gaze of the viewer, but at the same time distorts our presuppositions when the small porcelain girls are slowly broken down and subjected to contrast-filled madness. They sink down and seem to drown in the thick mud of the bog and are fatally bitten by a snake. Like the Surrealists, Maria Rubinke thematizes the complexity of the human psyche and works in a formal idiom all her own.
The exhibition has been created throughout the artist’s 27th year – a year that has offered emotional ups and downs. With inspiration from ‘Club 27’, the group of legendary artists who lost their lives at the age of 27, combined with her own experience, Maria Rubinke subjects her innocent little china girl to a process of decomposition until she has quite vanished and only the delicate little shoes remain, slowly consumed by an army of ants.
Maria Rubinke works in an extremely structured way, but for this exhibition has for the first time let go from the beginning of the creative process and let the works slowly create themselves as she worked through her own personal crisis. This is why there are also traces of a kind of panic throughout the exhibition, which reflects the emotional plunge the artist has undergone – Rubinke has let go, let the dark, gloomy thoughts find expression in the porcelain, ending with a rebirth. This is manifested in the sculpture I died a hundred times, which shows the porcelain girl standing on a heap of black skulls, carrying a small infant whose umbilical cord has not yet been cut. The title of the sculpture is a quotation from the singer Amy Winehouse – a ‘member’ of Club 27.
The symbolic language is powerful throughout the exhibition. The tall straight birch trunks that stand as densely as a forest from floor to ceiling in the first room of the gallery are like a symbol of life, connecting earth and sky. But the roots, our foundation, have been removed like the safety net that was pulled out
from under the little girl so she is left standing there helplessly, only to start all over again.
Maria Rubinke studied at the School of Glass and Ceramics on Bornholm in 2008. Later she has exhibited at Haugar Vestfold Museum of Art in Norway and the Civic Museum Bassano del Grappa in Italy, and most recently she has presented a comprehensive solo exhibition, Fragile, at the Vejle Art Museum in 2012.