Delight in a Modern Take on 18th Century Porcelain

300-year-old porcelain manufacturer Meissen teamed up with artist Chris Antemann on a series of sculptures and decorative art objects.

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18 August 2016, 6:55pm

Chris Antemann, MEISSEN, Little Maid, 2014, Porcelain, 7 × 7 × 4 in. (17.8 × 17.8 × 10.2 cm) Courtesy of Chris Antemann and MEISSEN. Images courtesy the artists

In 2011, 300 year old porcelain manufacturer, Meissen, invited Chris Antemann to participate in the artCampus design program. Alongside a team of Meissen artisans, the Oregon-based artist worked over the span of several years to create a series of unique, custom made porcelain sculptures. Now, Forbidden Fruit, which opens at New York's Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) in September, is a traveling exhibition showcasing all the work Antemann produced during her years with Meissen’s creative team.

The museum explins that the series represents a perfect balance between Antemann’s style and the brand's storied history. The sculptures featured in Forbidden Fruit were inspired by 18th century Baroque figurines—with a twist. Antemann riffs of the style and tone of the era’s high society, creating her own “contemporary interpretation of the 18th century banqueting craze,” according to the MAD. Her installation of sculptures and decorative art objects are presented to the viewer on a central banquet table, surrounded by various standalone sculptures and a nine-light porcelain chandelier.

Chris Antemann, MEISSEN, Lemon Chandelier, 2013, Porcelain, Other: 41 × 32 in. (104.1 × 81.3 cm) Courtesy of Chris Antemann and MEISSEN.

Forbidden Fruit uses the story of Adam and Eve to explore themes of domesticity, seduction, civility, and restraint. Antemann's contemporary approach to the historic medium forces the viewer to reflect on how social etiquettes and our understandings of morality have changed over the years. Scantily dressed in traditional 18th century garb, Antemann’s characters are placed in wildly seductive, Bacchanalian poses. Women spill over laps and crawl atop tables, fannies aloft; men are shirtless and dazed, seated and gazing idly over their female counterparts.

Chris Antemann, MEISSEN, Dinner Party, 2013, Porcelain, 15 × 28 × 15 in. (38.1 × 71.1 × 38.1 cm) Courtesy of Chris Antemann and MEISSEN.

Chris Antemann, MEISSEN, Covet, 2013, Porcelain, 13 × 19 × 7 in. (33 × 48.3 × 17.8 cm) Courtesy of Chris Antemann and MEISSEN.

The show's centerpiece, Antemann’s Love Temple (below), is an interpretation of Meissen’s historical model of Johann Joachim Kändler's 1750 Love Temple. According to MAD, the artist stripped the original piece down to its core elements and then added her own figures and floral embellishments, most notably the band of three musicians sitting on the top of the spire greeting guests as they enter the party. See it and more from Forbidden Fruit below:

Chris Antemann, MEISSEN, Love Temple, 2013, Porcelain, 61 × 43 × 30 in. (154.9 × 109.2 × 76.2 cm) Courtesy of Chris Antemann and MEISSEN.

Chris Antemann, MEISSEN, Fruit of Knowledge, 2013, Porcelain, 34 × 14 × 11 in. (86.4 × 35.6 × 27.9 cm) Courtesy of Chris Antemann and MEISSEN.

Chris Antemann, MEISSEN, Trifle, 2013, Porcelain, 14 × 13 × 9 in. (35.6 × 33 × 22.9 cm) Courtesy of Chris Antemann and MEISSEN.

Forbidden Fruit opens at the Museum of Arts and Design on September 22, and will be there until February 5, 2017. For information head over to the MAD website, and for more from Chris Antemann, head over to her website.

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