With its 2020 summer exhibition, the Kunstgwerbemuseum in Schloss Köpenick is turning its attention to the contemporary ceramics artists Grita Götze, Heidi Manthey and Sonngard Marcks, whose works embody a symbiotic relationship between painting and ceramics. In their masterfully painted decorations they bring to life an entire microcosm of flowers, grasses, fruits, insects and amphibians. These are joined by fantastical creatures and ornamentation inspired by historical traditions and fables. The approximately 80 exhibits are incorporated into the permanent exhibition of Schloss Köpenick, taking visitors on a tour of discovery through the ages.
Grita Götze (born 1959 in Schlema) and Sonngard Marcks (born 1959 in Eisleben) studied in the 1980s under Heidi Manthey (born 1919 in Leipzig) at the Burg Giebichenstein Kunsthochschule Halle (Saale), where Manthey herself had studied some 30 years earlier. All three master the difficult techniques of faience, porcelain and slipware painting like few others working today. Through these techniques, they carry on traditions stretching back hundreds of years, breathing new life into them.
They draw inspiration for their representational painting from precise observations of nature, from historical figures and motifs, and – in the case of Heidi Manthey – from ancient mythology. The luminosity of the colours produced by the melding of paint and glaze lends the motifs a particular presence and expressive power. But the forms of the ceramics are much more than mere backdrops to the imagery, they are conceived in concert with their decoration. This produces a fascinating dialogue between surface and receptacle, an interplay between two and three-dimensional effects. Almost all the ceramics on display are one-off works. It is not functionality that is being foregrounded here but free, artistic expression. Teapots become miniature statues on plinths, vases become sculptures, and plates wall features.
In this presentation, numerous connections emerge between the 80 ceramic works of the special exhibition and the exhibits of the permanent display in Schloss Köpenick. Echoes of the ceramic painting of Grita Götze, Heidi Manthey and Sonngard Marcks can even be found in the ornate baroque stucco ceilings with their deceptively realistic fruits, plants and figures. The core of the exhibition is drawn from the Kunstgewerbemuseum’s collection of ceramics by Heidi Manthey, while loans from the three artists and from private collections complement the presentation.