A 5-minute introduction to Mike Meiré’s Coastline
We decipher a work created by throwing clay, which aims to redefine the way we interpret art
At what do we look first when we are in front of an artwork? The work itself? The artist’s name? Its title? We try to assemble all of the information like pieces of a puzzle, to form a coherent idea of what we see.
Entitled Coastline, this sculpture by German artist Mike Meiré resembles an unusual geological formation, created in clay. Its glaze goes from yellow, to brown, red and blue – each colour merging into the next.
Meiré, whose work features in our presentation at Enter Art Fair, describes his approach to artistic production as working against a ‘blind spot’ – a term typically used to identify an area where a person’s view is obstructed. For Meiré, we develop a ‘blind spot’ when we view art through the lens of a traditional art historical education – whose ideas about form and beauty we might, unconsciously, have adopted as absolute.
The material Meiré uses in Coastline is purposefully traditional. The finished sculpture, however, challenges established approaches to artistic production, reflecting a process in which chance, failure, and surprise all play an important role.
To create the work, Meiré physically slung pieces of clay into a prepared corner metres away from him – allowing the effects of gravity and time decide their final form. Similarly, though its glaze was first applied by the artist, this process was followed by a patient wait, as Meiré allowed the colours to flow across the sculpture’s surface and intermingle.
Coastline combines physical action, with clay, air, and the fire of a kiln. Its origin, in manual labour and raw materials, roots it in prehistory and the origin of man. To view the sculpture is to acknowledge the creation of art and development of civilization.
Meiré has explained that Coastline reminds him of a shore wracked by an oil spill. Its appearance, and its materials, make it closely linked to nature – and reiterate nature’s potential to be shaped by our actions. Meiré reminds us, both of our ability to generate man-made catastrophes, and of our responsibility to remedy their effects.