A delightful exhibition of functional ceramics and offbeat collages to inject some magic into the ordinary of everyday life

The two artists of the Cutting the Flame with Curiosity exhibition at the Bellhaus Atelier & Galerie could not be more different. Or that’s what you think at first glance. 

Andrea Horsthemke is a graphic designer by trade and Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn is a Namibian farm girl who works as a special effects snow technician for film and TV in Europe. So, first of all, one would expect that in a joint exhibition of ceramics and collages, Andrea would have produced the collages and Anne the ceramics. Not so. 

Then there is the interesting fact that Anne, amongst various other international acclaims, was shortlisted for the SASOL New Signatures award and Andrea was announced one of the top three in the New Signature category for her work at Namibia’s 10th National Ceramics Biennale. 

What makes the radiant blonde extrovert scissorhands and the delicate, fairy-like introvert potter such a perfect match really is a rich, extremely creative and complex inner life that you might not sense straight away from their work. One gets the idea that they take the raw products of their thoughts and emotions and recycle and rearrange it in expressions that are more the outcome of processing than a deliberate point. 

Anne’s art is very much, as she calls it, “a recycling or recontextualising of things to create narratives that explore memory, sexuality and identity”. 

Weighty topics as they are, the pictures are a curious combination of social commentary and silly, psychedelic yet thought provoking, such as Obscure Observers – a nude, industrial style, light fixtures of a kind, a tree and you. The viewer… 

Andrea in turn diverted from her earlier sculpting work to enjoy the meditative movement and rhythm of the potter’s wheel. Teapots in a variety of fascinating shapes, a flowing white fine porcelain bowl that looks like a coral creation, artistic candle holders in the shape of anthills – the products of this exploration are simply beautiful. 

“I feel more in control of what I create with the wheel. It’s frustrating when I have something specific in mind that I struggle to produce. But sometimes I just put the clay on the wheel and see where it wants to go. The black range that I made for this exhibition has very clean lines, which is my way of having a bit of control over what I’m creating. But the process has also taught me to give a situation a bit of space.” 

This is where the synergy is most evident. There is an organic unfolding in both of their art but in a way that allows each individual to control the narrative. 

“Art keeps us sane, I think. In many ways. The physicality taps into your subconscious in a meditative process. You escape from reality and your thoughts can wander, but it also helps you to come to grips. It’s a cheap form of therapy that takes quite long”, Anne laughs. 

The result of the process, specifically for this exhibition, is aesthetically pleasing, without pushing any specific agenda. 

“I think we both just wanted to make beautiful things,” Anne says. 

“If you eat something out of a beautiful vessel, it just tastes better. The experience is better”, Andrea concludes. 

Cutting The Flame with Curiosity by Andrea Horsthemke and Anne Lacheiner-Kuhn is on show at the BELLHAUS Atelier & Galerie at 18 Bell Street in Windhoek until Saturday, 13 May 2023. 

Christine Hugo