Malene Hartmann Rasmussen is a Danish ceramic artist living in London. She works with mixed media sculpture, making and arranging multiple components into complex narrative tableaux of visual excess. She tries to create a place beyond reality, echoing ancient myths from the Nordic Lands.
She says myths are ‘a way to explain a lot of things you can’t understand. Its about what goes on in the forest when the sun is going down’ she says. ‘There are many stories from Denmark about tree sprites and beings that are half plant and half animal; acorns turning into eggs for instance.’
Having worked as a cinema projectionist, Rasmussen turned her hand to making ceramics after joining a pottery evening class. From there she went to study ceramics at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts School of Design in Bornholm and thereafter at the Royal College of Art.
Speaking about one of her most iconic pieces in the show Stocky Rabbit she says: ‘It was the rabbit I always wanted to have but was never allowed as a child. My sister convinced me to have a hamster which I was never entirely satisfied with. The pink rabbit is an all knowing little creative. You don’t know if he’s nice – you don’t trust the pink rabbit. He might look really cute but he might bite you.
Malene wants her work to look like a very skilled child could have made it, clumsy and elaborate at the same time. Initially the viewer may, mistakenly, be drawn to my figures thinking them to be toys; however closer examination reveals their rather darker narrative. They invite you into an absurd and surreal world where things are not what they seem.