Matthias Merkel Hess is opening a show called “Hereafter” in New York, and he makes ceramic copies of mostly household objects. The interesting concept of the show’s name, however, represents the tradition of leaving behind possessions and treasures in a deceased’s tomb along with the body. The things left in tombs for ceremonial or ritual use are mostly made of precious metals and ceramics, so he was inspired to make his own version of that. He copies an existing design, and destroys the items that he copies to make plaster molds. He enjoys seeing people’s reactions when he puts his creations into a gallery and people wonder why the artist spray painted trash cans. He also makes sure to use an interesting glaze because the pieces themselves are so standard.
We don’t have this tradition of burying people with stuff anymore, but in a weird way, each artist is making their own version of that. These are things that, if taken care of and not smashed to pieces, will outlast me.