Working with a range of processes and materials, Esther Kläs (German, b. 1981) creates totems that register the residues of their construction. Her plaster, ceramic, resin, and concrete sculptures are usually made using very basic forms of casting, which the artist does herself, alone in her studio. They lack decoration; what color appears on their surfaces is never applied after the fact, but instead is introduced by the artist early in the casting process. Kläs embraces the variable possibilities that arise from her methods of production, deriving a freedom from the structures and procedures she puts in place. Her works are constructed from the inside out, and the visible indices of their making delicately undermine their outwardly monolithic appearance.
Describing the scale of her work and the physically demanding aspects of her practice, Kläs explains, « It is easier for me to have a dialogue with something I can move around. » The body is her implicit subject, whether abstractly referenced in the human size and shape of her sculptures, or directly represented in casts of her hands, knees, and elbows. The outer skins of Kläs’s forms, defined by the edges of her molds, are as important as the material they contain. Displaying the conditions of their making, her sculptures ask us to consider how we brush up against the world beyond ourselves.