fbpx Biennale Arte 2022 | Magdalene Odundo
La Biennale di Venezia

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Magdalene Odundo

1950, Kenya

  • TUE - SUN
    23/04 > 25/09
    11 AM - 7 PM

    FRI - SAT UNTIL 25/09
    11 AM - 8 PM

    TUE - SUN
    27/09 > 27/11
    10 AM - 6 PM
  • Arsenale
  • Admission with ticket

Magdalene Odundo’s understated, anthropomorphic ceramic vases speak to a layered understanding of the ceramic arts, following in a long tradition of associating women’s bodies with architecture or vessels. Hand-coiled and scraped with a gourd, Odundo’s objects are laboriously produced via a method that involves gradually hollowing out a ball of clay and slowly pulling material upwards to form the pot. Instead of using traditional glazes after shaping the clay, she uses an ultra-refined terra sigillata slip, burnishes her surfaces with stones and polishing tools, and fires her objects multiple times, transforming her raw materials into voluptuous and shimmering red-orange and black sculptures. Born in colonial Kenya in 1950, Odundo did not start working in pottery until she moved to the United Kingdom in 1971, where she developed an interest in modernist sculpture, ancient Greek stoneware, and global craft traditions. In the early 1970s she would travel to Nigeria to study at the Pottery Training Centre in Abuja, where she made rounded earthenware forms inscribed with linear geometric markings inspired by the taut, full-bodied shapes of Abuja pottery – primarily made by women. Odundo speaks of clay vessels as having an inside and an outside. “I think very much of the body itself as being a vessel; it contains us as people,” she says.

Madeline Weisburg

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Biennale Arte
Biennale Arte