Claudette Schreuders: Great Expectations
The figure of a white horse embodies the fantasy of romance, locating the cast of characters within the space of fiction. It is here that children’s projections of their adult selves play out their imaginary lives – in ‘the realms of the unreal’, as the outsider artist Henry Darger termed it. In the sculpture that lends its title to the group, a girl lies on her bed, daydreaming; another gathers up her long hair, echoing the self-absorbed reverie of Balthus’ 1955 Nude before a Mirror. Other characters include Loved Ones, a girl with bare breasts; a pair of best friends/rivals; the bust of a young boy; Song; and a lovebird on its perch.
Schreuders creates tableaus of figurative sculptures that combine to reveal the richness and complexity that characterise interpersonal relationships. Where her previous group, Close, Close (2011), explored the impact and dynamics of the arrival of children, here Schreuders observes those children as they grow up and, more specifically, looks at their ambitions to be ‘grown-up’. At the core of this narrative is the fraught and magical realm of love, seen from the perspective of anticipation. The artist explains: ‘As a small girl I imagined being grown-up would only be about love and being in love. This group is a tribute to that imagined life.’