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Modernisers Erna Aaltonen and Pekka Paikkari at Puls Ceramics

For her latest presentation at Puls Ceramics, renowned gallerist Annette Sloth brings two “modernisers from Finland” to her renowned exhibition space in Brussels.

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Text by Ray Hu

Born in Denmark but taking a decidedly global perspective, Annette Sloth has put Brussels on the map as a destination for world-class ceramics. Modernisers from Finland at Puls Ceramics is further evidence of her discerning taste and judgment. She founded her gallery in 2000, thanks to her exceptional expertise in international contemporary ceramics and is a leading platform when it comes to the future of ceramic art. Puls Contemporary Ceramics quickly established itself as a renowned contemporary ceramics gallery in Belgium. Her latest exhibition, Modernisers from Finland, celebrates two of today’s most respected ceramicists.

While Erna Aaltonen and Pekka Paikkari both hail from Finland, each has honed a signature style over the years. The 65-year-old Aaltonen is a master of minimalist abstraction, yet her vessels express a rich inner life. Nearly a generation younger at 50, Paikkari is known for his technical savvy and occasionally working in monumental scale. Finnish designer Erna Aaltonen’s elegant, hand-made pottery is acclaimed worldwide for combining coarse surfaces with refined precision. She uses neither potter’s wheel nor moulds, building her colourful work slowly, layer by layer. Aaltonen’s conceptual minimalism is complemented with a selection of work by Finnish artist Pekka Paikkari, who has a strong interest in the history of pottery, and brings out its importance as a marker of human civilization and a container of time. Presenting his pots, brick, and tiles as found objects, the work carries a particular archaeological aesthetic. This universality, however, is countered by the closeness of the moulded touch and an occasional sense of humour.

Erna Aaltonen, photo by Johnny Korkman
Erna Aaltonen, photo by Johnny Korkman
Erna Aaltonen, photo by Johnny Korkman
Erna Aaltonen, photo by Johnny Korkman
Pekka Paikkari
Pekka Paikkari
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