Walking into your kitchen to see that an un-rinsed plate has attracted a horde of ants is a pretty disgusting surprise. For German artist Evelyn Bracklow of La Philie, seeing ants swarming a carelessly placed plate was a source of instant inspiration for her new series of hand-painted fine china.

The artist recognized that the sight of ants on otherwise beautiful dishes inspired a number of conflicting feelings: fascination, disgust, fear, and admiration all swirled inside her. She decided to recreate this fascinating scene on pieces of fine china.

Bracklow collected pieces of fine china and carefully, lovingly hand painted swarms of tiny realistic ants all over them. The first reaction upon seeing the pieces might be shock, amusement, or a creepy feeling, but the tiny painted pests are somehow delicate and beautiful against the backdrop of the china pieces.

The incredibly realistic ants are startlingly lovely, despite the initial recoil that they inspire. The artist calls it “a seductive horror,” which seems an apt title for such a shocking and inventive series. Each piece is unique and signed, and some are available on Etsy.

About the artist

“Evelyn Bracklow *1986 lives and works in Dortmund. In her work she negotiates the interfaces between art and design. She draws her material from everyday cultural practices and the daily handling of objects. In addition to ceramics of table culture – cups, plates, vases – she also deals with figurative objects. Bracklow paints over, inhabits and alienates the objects with ants. Whole insect states and busy individuals walk on the objects and crawl on the surface. The supposed pest creates irritation and negotiates the relationship between man and nature. The ant becomes corrective and provokes thoughts about values, appreciation and impermanence and thus becomes a direct reaction to social conditions.”

“But Bracklow is not only committed to the ant. And yet remains true to the theme of processing: In picture objects, she sticks thousands of filigree D-c-fix film strips onto the picture carrier. The material comes from the industry and is otherwise used in advertising lettering or the cladding of everyday objects. Layer by layer, nets, nests, and structures grow into dynamic objects on the surface. In neon colors, reflective, monochrome white or black, the snippets and fragments form a new context – they now appear almost organic and invite you to look at them multiple times. The works are also to be understood as an alternative to the fast pace and efficiency of our time, as an attempt to decelerate. For the artist – through the process of her creation and for the viewer, through the enactment of this activity. The time spent should be visible and noticeable and can offer orientation in a confusing time.”