When Finland based artist Kim Simonsson began experimenting with figurative ceramic art in the 90s, it caught people by surprise. The term ‘ceramic’ brings to mind sophisticated objects, but his is a decidedly unusual mix of Eastern traditional materials and pop culture. “The subject of my work, as a rule, are children, animals, or something in between,” he shares. There are glazed-white ghostly children ‘bullying’ exotic wild animals like panthers and deer, or jumping into metallic puddles.
Animation and comic art, specifically Japanese Manga, and Eastern fairytales have inspired Simonsson since his first collection. Interestingly, the Finnish fairytale creatures “Moomin” are a huge success in Japanese pop culture, bringing Simonsson’s creative interests full circle. That covers the cuteness, but beyond that, his figures have a dark rebelliousness that plays on the idea of power struggles. It’s hard not to think of Brian Froud’s distinctive fairies designs from the flick Dark Crystal, or the long nosed Tengu masks of Japanese folklore. Perhaps it’s because these children look intently through black eye sockets like puppets suspended in motion. Their glass eyes are the only suggestion of a spirit within, completely covered otherwise by their outer shell. His upcoming solo show in August, “Invisible Hand” at Galeria Sculptor in Helsinki will further explore this eerie, visual juxtaposition.