Courtesy of Ronit Baranga / www.RonitBaranga.com

Diner beware.

July 12, 2017

Some people use their skills in ceramics to make gorgeous ceramics that make you feel calm and at peace. Others use them to do...not that. Israeli sculptor Ronit Baranga's "Embraced" series turns would-be gorgeous dishware into a deeply creepy spectacle by incorporating all-too-realistic human body parts.

Her Breakfast series takes the charming delft china look and makes it totally horrifying by adding fingers, open human mouths, and, in one particularly disturbing piece, fingers prying open a human mouth. Her Crowd series uses the same unsettling mouth motif, and adds the twist that the bowls and plates are being totally distorted by the movement. Her Embraced series shows teapots and teacups with fingers poking out of them, disconcertingly cuddling up to each other.

 Courtesy of Ronit Baranga / www.RonitBaranga.com

 Courtesy of Ronit Baranga / www.RonitBaranga.com

Possibly most horrifying of all is 2014's The Feast collection, where not only does the dishware have fingers and mouths, but it's also covered in images of fruit, so you can almost imagine your plate eating itself, sending the food to some horrible, monstrous digestive system (we assume, also made of ceramics because after seeing these we now know anything is possible). 2015's Untitled Feast adds an unsettling sense of motion to the whole thing by including the twist that pitchers and teacups are walking up to the plate (with a mouth on it) on their finger-legs, with unsettlingly unknown intentions.

In describing these projects, Baranga writes, "The blurred border between the living and the still in these works is intriguing...In this combination of the still and the alive joined as one, I try to change the way in which we observe useful tableware." She goes on to say "[The tableware] decides on its own how to behave in the situation. This is how I prefer to think about my plates and cups. Metaphorically, of course. What about you?" We prefer to think of our plates and cups staying perfectly still and not eating us alive, thank you very much.