I have been working on a series of photographs of a porcelain Rosenthal rabbit figurine off and on for the past twenty years.
The rabbit belonged to my maternal grandmother, but during my childhood it was on a bookcase in my mother’s bedroom. The rabbit always caught my attention. Something about its laugh seemed slightly sinister to me. Like a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Or rabbit’s clothing as the case may be. The rabbit came with my family from Germany to the United States after the war, as my grandparents, holocaust survivors, brought my mother to New York to start a new life.
When I was in my twenties, on a visit home I saw the figurine on my mother’s shelf and knew I had to take it to the studio. The resulting series, everything turns into something else and slips away, consisted of large-format photographs. The white on white prints were nearly inscrutable. The rabbit was shot out of focus, fading in and out.
In 2014, I continued to explore the rabbit by slip-casting porcelain copies. Making and remaking the rabbit allowed me to forge a deeper connection with this banal, yet personally significant object. The process of slip-casting figurines also forged a deeper connection between me and my grandmother, who took up ceramics in her 50’s. Sitting in her garage, she cast figurines from commercial molds. Gifting her loved ones beautifully glazed clay menageries.
This recent incarnation of rabbits consists of pit-fired porcelain copies. Bits that break off during this primal firing process are mended with gold. The evolving series is titled epigenetic inheritance, and will be on view during Greenpoint Open Studios.
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