Keeley Haftner – Artist’s Breath

Artist Keeley Haftner focuses on recycling by pulverizing works discarded by other artists to create material for new ceramics. She completes the circle by breathing “artist breath” into the finished works.

Above: From the series Carbon Copies (Frances Whitehead), 2021. Unwanted ceramic sculpture by Whitehead, waste clay, artist’s breath, and gas cap, dimensions variable.

After the pulverisation (of sculptures discarded by American artist Frances Whitehead) there is 3D printing and firing to create the series of works in Carbon Copies. Haftner then captures and seals her own breath inside the works as a symbolic compensation for the CO2 emitted during the transport and production of the works. (Below, the crushing process – see more about creation of the works on this page)

Born in Saskatchewan and trained in Chicago, she is currently based in the Netherlands, where Carbon Copies debuts on Sunday at the Princesshoff National Museum of Ceramics.

“Carbon Copies (Frances Whitehead)” is part of a larger series titled “Sculpture From Other Sculptor’s Sculptures,” an expanding group of works in which unwanted sculptures from other artists are transformed. In 2002, Whitehead did a project in which she glazed two toilet sets to make a symbolic statement about water levels. These are the works later given to Haftner and crushed for use in her own work.

Haftner has long attracted attention, exhibiting across Canada, the USA, Korea, Germany and the Netherlands. This week, she was among 25 Canadian artists nominated for the Sobey Art Award long list.

Keeley Haftner website, here.

Her biography here.

Princesshoff National Museum of Ceramics exhibition site, here.

3 replies »

  1. Thanks for asking.

    Proposing that I buy the artist’s breath as art?
    Other odiferous bodily emissions are implied as worthy of my purchase – e.g. the crushed up toilets
    Is this what Andy W foresaw when he said that art is what one can get away with?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am always grateful when visitors/followers express how they actually feel about a work, as you have done. Excellent. Thank you. (The Sobey Award generally chooses non-traditional work to nominate – see the full list – link in post)


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