Monday, March 26, 2012

In the company of animals—Swedish artist Margit Brundin's magical sculptures

A self portrait amid a colony of rabbits.

"Animals have always been a big inspiration for me," says Swedish ceramist Margit Brundin. "As a little girl I was fascinated by everything from dogs to parakeets, but what I most longed for was a horse, a horse that would carry me across the open fields." 

It was a dream she would realize but only under the most tragic of circumstances—at the age of twelve she lost her mother to cancer. To help ease her sorrow a family friend suggested she take one of their horses. Soon Brundin and Boggi were forming an unbreakable bond.

"It's a great experience getting to know an animal, and to build a bottomless love and a wordless understanding," she explains. "I've carried that experience with me, and here I am now, seventeen years later, with mud up to my elbows and surrounded by animals. I have found my calling in life. Or is this how my life has always been, just expressed in a different way?"

Working in a red clay Brundin sculpts a wide range of creatures, though primarily those that she might encounter in her daily life. ("I'd chose a deer, rather than a giraffe," she says.) Her focus lies in the details of the animals—their facial expressions, their fur, their eyes, the tilt of an ear. There's an unfailing tenderness to each of her sculptures, or portraits, as she calls them. "It's about creating a meeting between animal and viewer, a long eye contact."

For Brundin, working with animals is a means of showing her respect for them, and a means of honoring the companionship Boggi offered her. For all who see her work, that respect is stunningly clear.


In 2010 Brundin completed her MFA at the Academy of Design and Crafts in Göteborg. Her work will be featured in two Swedish exhibitions this spring, and she's currently working on a major installation for 2013. The Röhsska Museum in Göteborg and the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm have already acquired pieces.

She resides in Malmö. 

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