Merete Larsen


Edith Herlemont-Lassiat

 The presentation of the bowls of Merete Larsen at the Marianne Brand Gallery in Carouge, close to Geneva, is a rarefied moment of pure emotion.  Such absolute understanding of the material, pure aesthetic pleasure, such a multitude of shapes and infinite lightness of texture is utterly breathtaking.

It is the fruition of an exacting and delicately meticulous artist’s intimate and peacefully anchorite voyage into the mystery and very essence of the material…

Like a tenacious funambulist she defies weight and extracts light from dense and opaque wooden mass, which is imparted with the almost improbable translucent lightness and beauty of opals and glass.  The wood is pushed to paroxysmal extremes that seem to transcend all limits imposed by the material.

Challenging the raw wooden slabs of her material, Merete Larsen purges them into transparent weightlessness evoking purification.
 An alchemist of the forest, she selects the rarest essence and painstakingly identifies the pieces upon which time has conferred a crude beauty of its own; she hollows it, turns it and transforms it.

She does not sculpt, but lets the live material be her guide, as she patiently, but forcefully scoops out unwanted mass with subtle craft akin to a master violin builder’s, as the bowl is inexorably persuaded to take on the whispering fineness of a feather, while its thickness is reduced to danger point and beyond.

This solitary walk into the heart of the forest, defying the gravity of the massive trunks and logs which form her point of departure, brings to light the colours, the burrs, and the very texture of the wood, delicately unveiling the myriad scars of noble rot, and the infinite patterns of variation inflicted by time on the flesh of the living tree. 

The process, unique as it is, is wrought with peril.  Where to stop, how to perceive the physical limit of the material, requires nothing but complete empathy, lest it be pushed beyond its endurance.    

Inspired by recollections of 18th century china, the individual pieces are peculiarly vibrant and their visionary colours, whether natural or enhanced by staining inks of profound tonality, as well as their gentle and vivacious curves, lend them a unique sensuality.  Their rich and generous shapes contrast with the extreme finesse of their base and make their equilibrium appear almost miraculous.

She executes works of such lightness, grace, luminosity and diaphaneity as to appear to transcend the fragile line separating the material from the immaterial.

Edith Herlemont-Lassiat,

Expo Revue

Geneva, April 2006