Catalogue from solo exhibition at Gallerie L'ancienne Poste

"Crystal and Flame – Order and Entropy in the Works of Barbro Åberg

Crystal and flame: two forms of perfect beauty that we cannot tear our eyes away from, two modes of growth in time, of expenditure of the matter surrounding them, two moral symbols, two absolutes, two categories for classifying facts and ideas, styles and feelings.

-Italo Calvino, Six Memos for the Next Millennium

Since the dawn of the Enlightenment, scientists, philosophers, and theorists have sought to understand the relationship between order and chaos. In the 1850s, scientists laid the foundation of the second law of thermodynamics, which says, in simple terms, that entropy always increases—for example, you can't unscramble an egg. Current science has allowed for a more nuanced understanding of chaos. Rather than existing as a strict binary that allows for the creation of order from chaos (or vice versa), we have now come to understand that order can exist within chaos. Rather than being seen as lacking order, chaotic systems can instead be read as being full of complexity and detail.

This understanding is crucial to a full appreciation of the work of Swedish-born (and Denmark- based) ceramist Barbro Åberg. Åberg has spent the past thirty-five years of her career on a path that has looped and changed course like one of her tangled coil sculptures, yet when viewed from a distance, a dominant shape comes into view."

Garth Johnson
Curator of Ceramics Paul Phillips & Sharon Sullivan Center,
Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York

Order the catalogue from the gallery.


By Rosette Gault

Front cover: Momentum 2007

Bloomsbury 2013

Addition to Clay Bodies

By Kathleen Standen

Pages 77-78, 82-83 and 115

Bloomsbury 2013

Contemporary Ceramics

By Emmanuel Cooper

"Defining Space" p. 81

Thames & Hudson 2009