Israeli ceramicist Ronit Baranga‘s “body of work” is unsettling, to say the least. Sculpted from clay, realistic fingers emerge from plates while mouths lurk inside cups. The gnarled fingers and lips seem poised for action. We would most certainly hesitate before using any of these for fear of being bitten.
The mouth is an interesting element for ceramic tableware as its main purpose, at least conventionally, has been to carry food and drink until it reaches the mouth. “I chose to deal with ‘mouth’ as a metaphoric connotation to a border gate,” said Baranga in an interview late last year. “A border between the inner body and the external environment surrounding it.”
Artist Ronit Baranga (previously) creates ceramic sculptural works she describes as existing on the “border between living and still life”—objects guaranteed to either tickle your funny bone or haunt your worst nightmares, depending on your perspective. Baranga depicts dishware as sprouting human fingers and gaping mouths as the objects traipse across table tops or physically cling to one another in a permanent embrace. The pieces are both silly and sinister as they come to life as if from a cartoon. A quick scroll through her Instagram reveals even darker works that give us the bonafide heebie-jeebies.