Gerit Grimm was born, and grew up in Halle, German Democratic Republic. In 1995, she finished her apprenticeship, learning the traditional German trade as a potter at the “Altbürgeler blau-weiss GmbH” in Bürgel, Germany and worked as a Journeyman for Joachim Jung in Glashagen, Germany. She earned an Art and Design Diploma in 2001 studying ceramics at Burg Giebichenstein, Halle, Germany. In 2002, she was awarded with the German DAAD Government Grant for the University of Michigan School of Art and Design, where she graduated with an MA in 2002. She received her MFA from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in 2004. She has taught at CSULB, Pitzer College, Doane College and MSU Bozeman and has worked at major residencies like Mc Coll Center, Bemis Center, Kohler Arts & Industry Program and Archie Bray Foundation. In 2009 NET Television created “Fantasia in Clay” a Nebraska Story about the artist Gerit Grimm. She now works as an Assistant Professor at UW-Madison, Wisconsin.
“The central idea for my newest artwork is to transgress the boundaries of folk art and fine art by means of the following method: appropriate historically significant folk art and theatrical genres—such as the characters from the commedia dell’arte; and interpret them through visual idioms of contemporary sculpture. My work appropriates historical narrative subjects deriving from fables, myths and interprets them in forms that have visual and conceptual affinities with contemporary fine art—affinities that allow me to further explore and question the boundaries between pop art, kitsch and high art. This new direction of my work would be a hybrid between ceramics and these traditions within contemporary sculpture. By risking technical failure in the process of creating the forms, I am able to attain a complexity, dynamism, and litheness of form. The technical risks are a corollary to another type of risk—one that reinterprets a folk figurine tradition and pushes it to its limits. My reinterpretation of this tradition combines both narrative and form—synthesizing pots with fairytales in a way that tests the boundaries of each. The result is often an uncanny union—one that evokes all manner of stories about dolls, puppets and statues coming to life. It is a union at once wonderful, elegant and fanciful but also at times uncomfortable and awkward.
To illustrate the manner in which I work, I will describe my recent exhibitions in New York City and Los Angeles, in which I reinterpreted folk traditions as well as a series of autobiographical recollections of my childhood in the German Democratic Republic. In Gerit Grimm: Beyond the Figurine, Contemporary Inspirations from the Museum’s Collection at the Long Beach Museum of Art, each piece formed one part in a whole scene—an imaginary European market square, set in the Baroque era, as if the sculptures were magically conveyed from the Old World into the New. This series of artworks was inspired by the history of Baroque art and ceramics, especially Staffordshire figurines and French ceramics from the 17th and 18th centuries. The increase in scale highlights the sculptural forms of my ceramic figures. To date, I have been quite successful in building life-size and larger-than-life ceramic with some exceptions. I use reduction kiln-firing techniques to produce a highly austere (a subtle metallic sheen or bronze- looking) surface, which leads to the stone-like appearance of my work. This surface reinforces its sculptural qualities and conveys an appearance of moments frozen in stone and in time.”
Have a question, make a comment, or just say hello!