Riga Porcelain Museum, 16 December 2022 - 9 April 2023
Ilona Romule is one of the most remarkable personalities of Latvian porcelain art, well-known at home and abroad. Her art is distinguished by masterful application of porcelain sculpting techniques, distinctive cast of characters and delicate graphic drawing that gracefully compliments the original forms. Ilona Romule is also among the few artists working in lithophane technique.
Asked about her creative process, Ilona Romule tells that she is most inspired by travel, seeing different cultures and conversing with diverse people; experiencing different environments, architecture, folk art, social habits and so on. Ideas come to her in elusive, hard to define ways - for instance, in early mornings, noticing the unusual silhouettes and shadows cast by everyday objects; by observing cracks on the wall, movement of clouds, marks left by a cup of tea left on a sketch paper; in dreams and in the moment of waking. Particular experiences and people leave impressions and traces, memories of emotions and ambiances that are transformed into the artist's works and her vivid idiosyncratic imagery. Over different periods of life Ilona Romule has developed different thematic series and types of characters, at times focusing on construction and design features, creating functional objects such as the tiger teapots and horse vases, at times giving in to emotions and abstract expression, resulting in sculptural artworks. From time to time she returns to her previous themes to continue the series with a new approach from a new point of view.
This holiday season, Riga Porcelain Museum invites to experience the art of Ilona Romule and to enter her sensual and imaginative world presented in the exhibition Incomplete Games in the museum's ground floor display windows. The main motif of the exhibition is that of unfinished pursuits calling us back to complete or solve them once and for all - the games that we have started and left halfway. It does not matter why we stopped or for how long - the game has to be finished otherwise there is no point to it. We need to come to the conclusion and to find out who has won and who has lost. The design inspiration for the exhibition is a children's toy - the roly-poly or wobble doll - a round-bottomed doll that, when pushed, always rights itself and returns to the initial vertical state. By using the doll as an inspiration, Ilona Romule has designed a new cast of characters in which several formal elements are combined to create different variations and figures that are both anthropomorphic and geometrical, imagined and real. In this surreal gallery of types everyone shares similarities, but each one is distinct; everyone is related to somebody else, but their relationships change if their position is changed in the common arrangement. This is a game in progress, where the winners and losers are yet unknown; and now it is your turn - take it!
The works of Ilona Romule has been exhibited in over 20 solo exhibitions in Latvia and abroad; she has participated in over 50 international competitions and 80 group exhibitions all around the world. She is a frequent participant of international porcelain art symposiums and creative residencies, as well as reads lectures and leads workshops at porcelain art centres in Hungary, China, and the USA, and gives master classes in plaster mould making, lithophane and porcelain painting in universities and art centers internationally.
Previously, Riga Porcelain Museum hosted Ilona Romule's solo exhibition Lithophane and Other Delicate Beings in 2012. Incomplete Games is the final exhibition in the artist's jubilee series of exhibitions that opened this June with the solo exhibition Two Sides in Riga Museum of Decorative Arts and Design, and currently continues with the solo exhibition Breakout Light in the Martinsons House exhibition space in Daugavpils Mark Rothko Art Centre. The series of exhibitions is supported by the State Culture Capital Foundation. The exhibition in Riga Porcelain Museum will be open until 5 February 2023.
Photo by Gvido Kajons.