Yeah right, like my filthy tableware needs help to look like its crawling with ants.
As part of a partnership with the Rijksmuseum in the Netherlands and Etsy, Evelyn Bracklow, of LA PHILE, finds vintage porcelain plates and paints them with realistic ants. Titled Chitins Gloss, the plates in this ceramic design series are an example of how the smallest intervention can inject some much-needed panic and chaos into the mundane. On one hand her plates are a crass practical joke, but on the other they’re satire. Talk about porcelain is often given to overly flowery language, with its fans stumbling over themselves trying to describe it in the most awed, reverent tones. With that in mind, the plates read like a debasement of something holy.
In a way Bracklow is similar to artists who add monsters to old thrift store paintings, but her approach is simpler and more sinister. I’m preoccupied by reading the monster paintings because (until the stars align) monsters are not real. The monster paintings are fun, but I’m not invested in any immediate way. Ants are a different story because my summers are spent watching colonies of them surround my home before they run suicide missions on my pantry. Ants provoke an instant, visceral response. You have no time to think. My food is tainted! The house is being invaded! Burn it down! They’re everywhere!
Ants are creepy. They’re the hive mind, slave-owning, soulless fascists of the animal kingdom. They’ll run this place one day. There’s about one million of them for every one of us, meaning that if they wanted to break into your fine china to look for scraps they certainly could. They could probably do much worse if they put their minds to it. I read a story once…
Bracklow sells the pieces on her Etsy page, where they run from $150 to $700 each. While I imagine most of your guests could manage some nervous laughter at the plates, I don’t recommend testing them with any of Bracklow’s porcelain figurines. Her work takes a decidedly ghoulish turn with those.
Bill Rodgers is the Managing Editor of cfile.daily.
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