2014-02 Michael Cleff: Failing Geometries?

From February 8 through March 8, 2014, Terra Delft Gallery will feature wall hangings and pieces by the ceramic artist Michael Cleff, of Noordrijn-Westfalen, Germany.

At first glance, his work is strict and sober, even simple and completely devoid of expression. But nothing is further from the truth. On closer examination the geometry appears to fail: here a straight line is not the shortest distance between two points, but an edge formed free-hand, and that line is anything but straight. Result: what remains is dependent on this lack of precision, lending an enigmatic appearance to the objects. His work radiates warmth, despite its relationship with minimalism.

The basis is circles, ovals, squares and rectangles. Some are closed, with many small openings; often they have additional ornamentation. The surfaces possess the color of the pure material – brown, grey, partially demarcated with matte white or matte black – and are rough or polished smooth.

Cleff uses working titles for his modules, as he calls them: Über Addition, Über Mauern, Impromptu. These do not function as names; rather, the primary focus is on the search for formal proportions and the references to the empty space.

Etty Walda