Soft Coral (three teeth), 2020

Photo: Roman März | Comte Studio

Bitter dimsel
78 x 27 x 15.5 cm
Commissioned by TBA21–Academy and Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary

Claudia Comte is known for a style that merges traditions of geometric abstraction and minimalist sculpture with lines and shapes borrowed from cartoon animation. Using simplified forms to deliver visuals injected with humor and character, she engages with the history of sculpture in ways that are as playful as they are interrogative, whilst using her forms to address pressing environmental concerns. In a series of works she produced during her residency at the Alligator Head Foundation in Portland, Jamaica in 2019, she applied her signature style to a series of works based on cactus and coral forms to call attention to the urgent questions surrounding the current state of the ocean and the impact of rising sea temperatures on marine life. 
In the past, Comte has stated that cartoons represent to her a kind of perfection in form. Further exaggerated by the treatment of her materials in post-production using techniques such as oiling and sanding, this quality of perfection supplies her work with an internal paradox where outer appearances both reveal the internal beauty and configuration of her natural materials, and contrast sharply with the imperfect reality of her work’s subject matter. Along with other works she produced during her residency, Soft Coral (three teeth) (2020) extends her ambition to transcend the figure of the human that has long been central to depictions in art history, and redress the balance by forging new works that redirect our attention towards some of the most complex life-sustaining organisms and the extinction they face. –Elsa Gray