SannÉ Mestrom

Earthward Bound

The sculptures of Sydney artist SannÉ Mestrom are weighty, voluptuous correctives to the empty monumentalism associated with the masters of the form.

By Rebecca Gallo

Sanné Mestrom’s Dora Maar (2013) is an immense, stylised steel and bronze fountain, after Picasso’s painting of his tear-streaked muse. Her Still Life series (2013) of flattened ceramic vessels are sculptural renderings of Morandi’s famous paintings. Soft Kiss (2011), a market-bought sculpture and its cast double, are distant descendants in the style of Brancusi. Mestrom has taken what she describes as “singular gestures” by so-called master artists and turned them into multiples that “have a limited lifespan, or are made of vulnerable materials like clay”.

Arguably Mestrom’s sculptures are bolder and more permanent than the ‘originals’ that inspired them. Ceramics, for instance, may be fragile, but if cared for correctly, will outlast oil on canvas. Mestrom’s appropriations are also more immediate: rather than a depiction of tears, her sculpture actually weeps water from a bronze eye. Mestrom deconstructs the originals, introducing the influences of time, place and new materials. These elements act as reinforcements in robust new renderings, which – although they may speak of temporality and vulnerability – are solid and earthbound.

When we speak, Mestrom is at work on a new series titled Corrections. It is a return to – and extension
of – her work from the late 2000s, in which she used her own body as a primary reference. I ask if she can describe the works, and halfway through our phone conversation, Mestrom texts me some photos of the work in progress. “I was reluctant to send them,” she admits. “They’re very speculative, I suppose. But I can at least talk.. Subscribe to read this article in full

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