Mischievous Baby Demons and Creepy Tableware by Ronit Baranga

ronit barnaga clay sculptures

Israeli artist Ronit Baranga creates figurative art that sits on the cusp of lifelike and lifelessness. Her mischievous little demon babies and tableware infused with human body parts are simultaneously compelling and repelling.

Ronit Baranga Clay Sculptures

Ronit Baranga has been working predominately in clay for the past 15 years, becoming familiar with every aspect and stage of the crafting the material into finished pieces. Once inspired, she just begins sculpting, without sketches or drawings, letting the medium evolve and come to life, much like her completed pieces do.

The artist adds human features to tableware, turning them into entities as opposed to objects. You’ll find teacups that seem to walk and talk and anthropomorphized sugar bowls, plates and more that appear to have their own purpose for existing.

A twist on still lives, she calls these “creatures” and “wild things.”  Despite their impulsive appearance, the process of creating them is intensive and precise. Once individually fired, the clay pieces are connected and then painted with acrylics.

Her “Grave Watchers Childhood“, little horned homunculi made of acrylic-painted fired and glazed white clay, are a series of beast-like infant sculptures.

Baranga’s Grave Watchers in clay before firing and glazing
The Choir, finished piece (detail view), 2017

These mischievous baby demons have had several incarnations and have evolved since the first pair in 2015 that were inspired by two ancient figures – the “Tomb Guardians” from the Tang Dynasty (618-906 A.D.).

Her first Grave Watchers, 2015, were inspired by the Tang Dynasty Tomb Guardians (above left)
The Choir, 2016
The Grave Watchers #2, 2017
Choir Members, 2018
Baby Watchers, 2018
Grave Watchers Childhood 2019 #2
The Watchers, grouped, 2019, painted clay

“As I tried to imagine the process of how they become what they currently are: stiff figures, deterrent with a fearful role, I sculpted them in their early childhood, as babies. A time where the innocence, sweetness and playfulness were possible.
This process raises several questions: is their role as adults an unavoidable faith or an outcome of the reality in which they grew up in? Is their role a threat? A necessity? Or maybe a wishful heart desire?
In the “Grave Watchers Childhood” series of works there is a threating (sic) and intimidating aspect together with sweetness and vulnerability.”- Ronit Baranga

About the artist
Ronit Baranga is an Israeli artist who currently lives and works in Israel. Baranga holds a B.A. in Psychology and Literature from the University of Haifa, studied Art History at the University of Tel-Aviv and Fine Arts at Beit Berl College (“HaMidrasha”) in Israel. As a sculptor and installation artist, she creates realistic clay sculptures consisting of fragments of human body parts, often oscillating between still life and the living, developing an absurd moment. 
The excellence of her work is also reflected in an outstanding exhibition career. In 2015 she participated in Banksy’s group exhibition “Dismaland” and participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions in New York, Taiwan, China, Tel-Aviv and Australia. In 2016 she received the “Israeli Ministry of Culture Award for 2016” and can today be counted among the most exciting contemporary positions in the field of sculpture. Her works are represented in numerous museums and private collections worldwide. (bio via Storpunkt)

Ronit Baranga

You will find some of her pieces available to purchase here

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