Eileen Cohen Süssholz
25.06 > 26.11.2020
From June 25 to November 26, 2020 the Erasmus House & Beguinage Museums will honour the ceramic work of the artist Eileen Cohen Süssholz in an exhibition entitled Omnia Vanitas.
This series of ceramic works takes its name from the Renaissance genre of still-life painting – Vanitas – that referred to the Christian notions of the vanity of earthly possessions, the superfluousness of pleasures, and the fleetingness of life; a solemn reminder of the memento mori (“remember that you will die”) etched into the face of life…And all that gives the artist and viewers justification for enjoying her representations of earthly objects, despite their futile nature.
A drainpipe, tuba, hair dryer, and knife are but a few of the everyday objects associated with highly symbolic representations borrowed from traditional still-life paintings. This series of ceramic works takes its name from the Renaissance genre of still-life painting – Vanitas – that referred to the Christian notions of the vanity of earthly possessions, the superfluousness of pleasures, and the fleetingness of life; a solemn reminder of the memento mori (“remember that you will die”) etched into the face of life…And all that gives the artist and viewers justification for enjoying her representations of earthly objects, despite their futile nature.
The matter of which the sculptures are made – clay, a fragile material close to bones and the human skeleton – also refers back to death. However, the iconographic vocabulary and brilliant glazes contrast joyously with the announced theme. Whilst the objects remain recognisable, their status, monetary value, aesthetic value, and meanings in today’s world are highly disparate.
They are associated with memento mori torn from their original contexts to become part of a work that can become a symbol in turn, even if one is never quite sure of what. United with and melted into the clay and colour, they are reborn in compositions of flashy, eccentric beauty in which parody and irony have important roles. Whilst the artist also draws inspiration from poetry and literature, as certain titles indicate, she suggests that we not give specific meanings and interpretations to her works. Instead, we should give free rein to what this dissonance may engender in our hearts and minds.
Whilst painting has long been the primary focus of Eileen Cohen Süssholz’s artistic practice, today she has turned to ceramics, a medium that enables her to treat the subjects that gnaw at her “both seriously and playfully”, as she puts it. Her fascination with psychoanalysis has led her to consider her creative approach to be the product of free association.
Eileen Cohen Süssholz was born and raised in South Africa. She began her studies in Fine Arts at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg but broke them off to pursue a career in advertising. Eileen moved to Belgium, where she resumed her studies, in 2001. She has a diploma in drawing from the Berchem Academy of Fine Arts (Antwerp) and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Psychological Studies, magna cum laude, from the Open University of England. She is currently studying ceramics at the Berchem Academy of Fine Arts.
Eileen’s work was included in the “Cent artistes en liberté” (100 free artists) exhibition of the Jewish Museum of Belgium in 2016 and she was selected to create an in situ installation for the 2016 edition of “Sporen” (“Traces/Tracks”) in Ypres. Other exhibitions include the individual exhibition Omnia Vanitas at the Pedrami Gallery in Antwerp (2018) and the group exhibition held by this same gallery in the Antwerp Art Pavilion in 2019.
Director of the Municipal Museums of Anderlecht
Curator of the Erasmus House & Beguinage
25.06 > 26.11.2020
Around this exhibition
20.09 > 15:00
Meet the artist (Heritage days)
18.10 & 22.11 > 15:00
Meet the artist & the curator & drink
12.11 > 20:00
Concert Vanitas & drink
La Cetra d’Orfeo