A Vase is a Vase is a Base, 2015

Photo: Elodie Grethen | TBA21, 2020
Photo: Elodie Grethen | TBA21, 2020

Performative installation with conceptual framework, 22 ceramic vases, 22 mirror plinths
Ca. 60 x 50 x 90 cm (each vase)
Ca. 89 x 39 x 34 cm (each plinth)
Commissioned by Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, produced by Cerámica Suro, Guadalajara

Gelatin has produced a series of unique vases of voluptuous shapes. Dented, buckled, deformed, they carry the hands-on-process of their own creation inscribed in their equally rough and diverse surfaces, mocking with their stark material presence.
Ceramics actually is not the material of Gelatin’s usual or “classic” repertoire, as most of their work is devoted to the malleable, moldable, “plastic”, and playful matter such as plasticine, or the bricolage of found objects, the assembly of the discarded, broken, the castoff. Though in the “processual stages” of the ceramics these elements are still incorporatedthe molds use the materials found in their studio — wood, cardboard, rugs, ropes, foam, even toilet paper; The molds have the malleability of plasticine, may be manually distorted, made to “fail”, to lose the perfection of their age old production process. Finally, the glazing — reminding sugar and caramel “glazings” used in previous work, adds an additional painterly layer — with an “abject” connotation. 
Far from perfect, the vases are individual formations, each deformed individually to carry the markings of its making.
Modeled in Vienna, and cast and glazed in Guadalajara, Mexico, a processual dynamic is similarly traceable in a spatial and temporal layering, covering different continents and places in time.
It seems it does not really matter if these vases are originals, fake, reproductions, editions or originals, who made them, if they are from Persia, from Greece, from China, from 1452 or 2015. As flattened out carriers of cultural symbols in circulation, they are deprived of their use, are pure exchange. 

The title A Vase is a Vase is a Base reinforces the “irrelevance” of the vases as individual objects — Both, the vase and the base are equally important works, built with the same energy, they have connected identities, like the pedestal of a sculpture — which, in some cases, is by convention just a white rectangle made to be “unseen” but in other instances co-create the meaning of the artwork, is in correspondence, in an up/down, positive/negative relationship. 
Inevitably, when reading the works title Gertrude Stein’s infamous and seemingly simple observation that “A rose is a rose is a rose” comes into mind. What the American poet meant was, things are what they are, because we create identities as their self-perpetuating meanings:  a rose is red, it smells sweetly, it has thorns, it means love. Yet, Gelatin seems to playfully deconstruct these inscribed signifiers and signified and overthrows re-performing conservative ideas of heritage, Western legacy, maybe even gender roles.

Living and working in Vienna, Austria
Gelitin is a group of four artists from Vienna, Austria. The group was formerly known as gelatin and changed their name in 2005. They are known for creating sensational art events in the tradition of Relational Aesthetics, often with a lively sense of humor. Among their projects are a gigantic plush toy: a 55 meter tall pink rabbit on Colletto Fava (near Genoa, Italy), intended to remain there until 2025. In November 2005, the group had a show at Leo Koenig, Inc. in New York, a project called Tantamounter 24/7. The project was a "gigantic, complex and very clever machine", according to the artists, which functioned as a kind of art-Xerox. The group erected a barrier blocking off one half of the space, locking themselves inside for one week, then asking visitors to insert items that they wanted copied into an opening in the barrier, which copies were then returned through another opening. 

This biography is from Wikipedia under an Attribution-ShareAlike Creative Commons License
Commissioned by
 Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna