Terres — Copenhagen Ceramics invites
Copenhagen Ceramics invites
Past: June 22 → September 14, 2013
The project Nouvelles Vagues — The season of young curators is the opportunity for the Maria Lund gallery to present an exhibition that takes on a special meaning. Indeed, the gallery has echoed for nearly ten years a current that is taking a certain scope on today’s scene: ceramics, a material long discredited because of its association with decorative arts, is getting a renewed interest from contemporary artists. They have freed it from its functional and decorative aspects by considering it in a completely plastic approach. Terres, curated by Margaux Brugvin, wants to give an overview of this current, of this newly found freedom.
This exhibition is the result from a collaboration with Copenhagen Ceramics, an exhibition platform imagined by confirmed artists — Martin Bodilsen Kaldahl, Steen Ipsen and Bente Skjøttgaard — who already have international recognition. By reuniting artists from different generations and by offering them a completely free space, they have created an emulation which effects are already visible. Thus, with their exhibition in this space, several artists have abandoned the container, systematic basis for their explorations until now. Terres wants to pay homage to the initiative of the founders of Copenhagen Ceramics, by giving the scene they defend even more visibility-whether the artists are Danish or from elsewhere.
Who ? Where ?
Terres puts an emphasis on major experimented artists, avant-gardist in their abandonment of the tradition of Applied arts in which they had been trained — Wayne Fischer, Bente Skjøttgaard, Martin Bodilsen Kaldahl, Karen Bennicke. They have led the way and are now recognized by the ceramics world, by amateurs and specialists, but are still struggling to find a place in the landscape of contemporary art. The exhibition also wishes to introduce a younger generation of artists, who, in a limitless approach, multiply experimentations by questioning this millenary medium. The fifteen selected artists work in Denmark, the Netherlands, England, the United States, as well as in France, where the recognition of ceramic sculpture is still reticent. This matter continues to be depreciated, to the benefit of other mediums, from painting to plastic art, from marble to the digital. This finds its explanation in the heritage more or less conscious of a classification system for the Fine Arts, as well as in the long shared history between clay, porcelain and Applied arts. A past that has made ceramics an outdated material, considered neither noble, nor as a possible conceptual and modern vehicle. However, because of the strong vitality of this Northern Europe scene, in the Anglo-Saxon countries and in Asia, artists such as Wayne Fischer, Farida le Suavé, Akiko Hoshina or Emmanuel Boos have succeeded today in emerging in the French landscape. The exhibition strives to contribute to the state of mind change regarding ceramics in France, which we can already see the premises of.
The aim is to show how, at the age of the digital and dematerialization, clay — profoundly linked to the cultural tradition and the concept of handwork — continues to inspire, to reinvent itself, and pushes artists toward new experimentations. As we no longer consider interdictions regarding categories or a hierarchy in genres, Terres wants to unveil a still unrecognized and yet extremely dynamic side of contemporary art. Terres puts forward an overview of the diversity and quality of artists working with ceramics, whether they come from a Fine Arts or Applied Arts training. Thus, four different axis are used by the selected artists:
The sensuality of the glazing
Some explore the richness and sensuality of the material, the glazing, the engobes, leaning towards an abstract expressionism: the stoneware interlacings of Bente Skjøttgaard evoke cotton-wool clouds of rain, bushes or mineral formations; the glazing of the Magic Mushrooms of Morten Løbner Espersen take on psychedelic aspects; the organic, sensual and distant “bodies” of Turi Heisselberg Pedersen are covered in a second skin of clay with a matte, velvety and luminous aspect ; the formats of Emmanuel Boos are a pretext to explore the unfathomable and jubilatory matter that is enamel ; Wayne Fischer’s white and fleshy, eminently erotic shapes call for the touch, the caress, suggesting a certain mystery.
The works of other artists, on the contrary, deal with formal abstraction, to which this infinitely flexible medium lends itself particularly well: thus, Karen Bennicke elaborates absurd architectures where creative freedom and mathematical rigor cohabitate; Martin Bodilsen Kaldahl analyses a series of “ordinary", industrial objects, in a purely plastic approach; Esben Klemann creates series of light structures, “impossible” given the weight of the earth, where the systematics of the series is disrupted by the uncertainty of chemical reactions.
The cultural link to ceramics
Some very directly, but with humor and lightness — attack the preconceptions in which their medium is tangled up: the functional dimension of industrial ceramics is explored in the ready-mades and diversions of Kristine Tillge Lund, thus revealing the omnipresence of the material in our daily life; the decorative aspects of earth are unraveled by Marianne Nielsen, who, while isolating traditional decorative elements, transforms them into objects of study of our cultural relationship to Nature; the kitsch of the popular use of ceramics is mocked by Andreas Schulenburg, whose protean work analyses the notion of good and bad taste by taking a different view on the bucolic world of the traditional figurine; Yasser Ballemans, finally, creates works that “pretend” — to a function, a use : the last in date are a series of porcelain carts, lopsided and playful, that take inspiration in the carnival and overflow with references to art history.
The field of intimacy
The artists of this last category have made of clay a vehicle for intimate confessions: Akiko Hoshina invents rituals to transform the clothes, symbols of a love story, into relics; Pernille Pontoppidan creates an intuitive process of composite works that encompass entire cabinets of curiosities, accumulations of potentials stories, fragments of stories and emotions; and finally, the flesh-colored specimens of Farida Le Suavé explore the intimacy of the body in its moving and sensual clumsiness, curves and cavities, embodying the desperate bursts to exchange with the outside.
An issue of Palais is devoted to all the exhibitions selected for Nouvelles vagues — the season of young curators. Maria Lund gallery is preparing a publication of a catalogue dedicated to Terres, including a text by philosopher Yves Michaud and presenting each of the exhibited artists. Maria Lund gallery would like to thank the Acro-Terre, Favart & de Verneuil and Jousse Enterprise galleries for their very kind collaboration regarding the works of Wayne Fischer, Farida Le Suavé and Emmanuel Boos.
“Terres” has several meanings in French: Clays, territories, lands.
Opening Saturday, June 22, 2013 8 PM → 5 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