ISRAELI ARTIST RONIT BARANGA IS SCULPTING IT OUT WITH AN IMPULSE TO CREATE
MARIE BERTELSEN | ARTICULATE #19 | APRIL 2019
Baranga’s work as an artist can be described as an impulsive stream of inspiration. When shaping the clay there is a creating force that drives her. Art can be a comforting experience and when in a chaotic state of mind, working on the clay and expressing one’s own state of mind creates a calming effect.
Baranga finds inspiration in everything. Her work usually starts, in her words, as a result of an irresistible impulse to create.
This can happen with inspiration or without it. For her, creating is a necessity and creating comes from an uncontrollable state of an unquiet being. Creation is an ambivalent state of an endless, unsatisfying search, according to Baranga. Sometimes this can create things which excite and balance an unquiet state of mind, even if only for a moment. These moments are the essence of Baranga’s existence as an artist.
It is both ironic and in compliance with Baranga’s relationship with her art that we see her work as being with wild emotions. There is an unpredictable element to Baranga’s work even though artworks made of clay, can carry expectations of being neat and tidy. On the contrary, Baranga’s art is far from this.
The material is in itself chaotic and unpredictable. Therefore, it is even more impressive to see the control and precision in the sculptures.
What is your preferred media and why?
Baranga primarily uses clay as her medium. To her, the appeal lies in clay allowing her to create everything she imagines, on her own, in her studio. However, it has its challenges since clay does not promise certainty in how the sculpture comes out. It takes much skill and knowledge to work with clay, understanding the complex process of drying and burning it. Today after fifteen years of acquaintance Baranga states that the clay and she have reached a relationship of understanding each other. She feels calm that the sculpture she sees in her imagination can be sculpted and that she can release it to reality where it will survive the entire process that the clay demands.
When she works on figurative sculptures, she begins to sculpt, and when the basic work stands, she places a live model beside it and corrects the proportions. This is repeated several more times, and when the sculpture is ready, a slow drying process begins. This process lasts several weeks to months, after which the sculpture enters a ceramic kiln for a slow high-temperature firing. Due to the kiln being 80 cm high, the taller sculptures are sculpted in several parts and fired separately, e.g. “My Artemis”, which were made in two parts one from the bottom to the waist, and one from waist up. After firing, she connects the parts to a figure and finishes off painting the sculpture with acrylic colors.
From Baranga’s description of her work process, it seems as if the clay has its own life and takes shape when energy is driven into the material, making it evolve and grow.
How is your work process in the studio?
At any given time, there are several artworks in various stages. A number of sculptures are in progress for Baranga simultaneously, because the material requires different working times and because she likes the diversity of starting the day working on one sculpture and ending it working on another.
When working such a substantial amount of hours with a material one can almost build a relationship with it. The process of creating clay work is in itself almost alive. It has processes, stages of growth and aging and develops its own unique shape. This is emphasized by the artwork having a human expression and form to it. Zooming out, on a larger scale, the whole process is alive as well. As one big production and creature artworks are created and ended in a continuous flow with evolvement. In this way clay, as an organic matter, reclaims its natural expression.
Are your works pre-thought or do they emerge by their own?
When Baranga works on a there are no sketches or drawings but, in her words, she just sculpts it out. Working in series, examining and testing concepts that evolve and change slowly are the ways for her to create. Despite the seemingly impulsive creation, she enjoys the precise inquiry and even with the impression of a slow examining process the reality is quite different. Her studio is madly intensive, and several series are worked on at once. The studio has dozens of works-in-progresses at any given moment and in general, Baranga makes an effort to always have works-in-progress, making it easier to start the next working day. In no circumstance does she walk into the studio and think: “What will I do today?”. There are always works to finish and while working on them, new beginnings come up.
This article about RONIT BARANGA takes part of ARTICULATE #19. Read, download or order your print version of the full publication below