Bente Skjøttgaard — Dans les nuages
Dans les nuages
Past: September 3 → October 16, 2010
Between earth and sky, or, more specifically between clouds and mud, for a while now, Bente Skjøttgaard has been working both above our heads and below our feet.
In the clouds is her fourth exhibition in Paris. It is the fruit of an almost contradictory attempt to materialise in clay the light and ephemeral qualities of clouds. Funny coincidence, as it was developed parallel to a public commission for a monumental piece, Traces, where she is inspired by the imprints of bovine hooves still visible in the ground of the historic axis Hærvejen, which formerly connected the Danish breeders to the German markets.
Bente Skjøttgaard’s interest for the “higher spheres” began two years ago, during her first visit to South Korea where she discovered the country’s ceramic tradition, notably the celadon and moon jars. Soon after, her first clouds were born, sort of growths where interlaced columbine structures rise above very fine ‘trunks’. The palette combines immaculate whites and cobalt blues, with reference to the blue/white porcelain tradition. Rapidly, the clouds spread horizontally or, on the contrary, become more dynamic, rotating, on the verge of expanding to form lazy floats, or sometimes vivid…
A second voyage to the “land of the calm mornings” in 2009, brings a strange vision to her: barely perceptible spheres seem to fill the air of a hazy evening. These circular, three dimensional and graphical forms join, from then onwards, the cloud constructions; in certain sculptures, they even create very free organic structures in a sequence of circulars and cavities. The chromatic research tends towards the psychedelic: Lucy in the sky is not so distant when one contemplates the turquoise blues, the mauves and pink variations, the light yellows and acid greens which have seized the clouds. The whole celestial spectrum in its incredible diversity is represented here, either harmoniously or with strong contrasts created through the use of copper oxides, chrome or stains.
In these works, if the colours bring joy to the retina, the glazing also invites the touch, even the savouring…dense and mat, silky, occasionally foamy, they recreate the plump texture of clouds. Sometimes of small format, hanging together to form cloud fields, sometimes tall, solitary, planted or suspended, these sculptures reflect the mix of poetry, of excess and humour which characterises the artists’ universe. Bente Skjøttgaard is well on the way to filling the space with clouds, vaporous masses which can transport the immobile spectator far away.
Galerie Maria Lund has presented three exhibitions (2004, 2006 and 2008) by Bente Skjøttgaard (born in Denmark in 1961) which have received an excellent welcome — as much by the public as by the press (amongst others: Art Press, Le Figaro, La Revue de la Céramique et du Verre) and the institutions. The first two exhibitions rendered an account of the evolution of her work: the systematic interrogation of traditional functional objects in clay to the elaboration of forms where function is totally lost in references to the organic, the botanical or the aquatic. The series Elements in white from 2008 was a real tour de force where twenty or so large format sculptures were born. Going from research on the geological origins of ceramics and experimentation of the colour white along with texture variations, Bente Skjøttgaard created fragments of landscape and mass movements.
Two of these sculptures were publicly acquired, joining the Fond national d’art contemporain, Paris and the V&A, London. The artists’ work is equally represented at the Musée National de la Céramique, Sèvres, as well as in a number of public collections in Northern Europe. Bente Skjøttgaard regularly exhibits in Europe, the United States as well as in South Korea (Adventures of the Fire — World Contemporary Ceramics, 5th Ceramic Biennale (2009), KIAF 2008, 2009 and 2010). In 2009, she participated in the Biennale de Chateauroux and in 2010 she was selected for the sculpture section in the Biennale de Vallauris.
Opening Thursday, September 2, 2010 6 PM → 9 PM
48, rue de Turenne
T. 01 42 76 00 33 — F. 01 42 76 00 10
Tuesday – Saturday, noon – 7 PM
Other times by appointment