In 2012, the renowned Meissen Porcelain Manufactory in Germany invited Oregon-based sculptor Chris Antemann to collaborate with Meissen’s master artisans on a series of contemporary sculptures. The results are a grand installation that reinvents and invigorates the porcelain figurative tradition.
Using the Garden of Eden as her metaphor, Antemann created a contemporary celebration of an 18th-century banquet. Inspired by Meissen’s great historical model of Johann Joachim Kändler’s monumental Love Temple (1750), she created her own five-foot version, which she designed to house a host of semi-clothed revelers around a banquet of “forbidden fruit” that evokes the decadence of Boucher and Watteau.
After sculpting the “Love Temple” and the banquet table, Antemann expanded her vision to include a pleasure garden, creating eight separate pieces that surround the temple in the 18th-century royal tradition of surtouts-de-table. Accompanying this too is a massive, porcelain chandelier and a collection of smaller sculptures that reinvent the tradition of palatial porcelain rooms. These small, intimate vignettes, like the lavish and overflowing banquet table, entertain with playful scenes of dalliance and seduction.