Bente Skjøttgaard — Aire de repos


Ceramic, sculpture

Bente Skjøttgaard
Aire de repos

Past: September 21 → November 2, 2013

A rest area is an interlude on the road — an intersection between the landscape and a gist of contemporary civilization. It is the place where the traveller finds his own speed, the contact with the ground and maybe a moment to dream and look at the sky. Such crossings of registers, notably those between nature and culture, are at the heart of the artist-ceramist Bente Skøttgaard’s research. Her new productions belong to a body of work that spans several years on clouds and traces. They are not only a very free and playful interpretation of phenomena of our environment, but also a pretext to question the notions of rupture and intervention.

Traces of passings

In 2011, the monumental relief Traces, 50 m2 consisting of fired clay with the footprints of oxen hooves, was set up permanently along the Army Road (Hærvejen), a historical axis linked in the past to the trade of Danish-German cattle. For this work commissioned by the Danish Arts Council, Bente Skjøttgaard sent six oxen to run on a surface of raw clay that she then cut into smaller pieces and fired. The idea to intervene by leaving traces of a passing found a continuation with the new series of reliefs Frieze P7 for which the artist drove with her Fiat Multipla and her Pirelli P7 tyres over several meters of clay. She then covered those friezes with monochrome glazes, white, turquoise or yellow, that, as rain water or ice, fill in the cavities, underlining the pattern of tyre marks in the soil. By transforming those prints on a horizontal surface into mural works of art, the artist turns the world upside down: the perspective passes at eye level and the billions of kilometers of tyre marks on the planet become potentially objects of contemplation that give the idea of an never-ending movement.

Clouds, turbulences and other disturbances

The theme of clouds was omnipresent in Bente Skjøttgaard’s latest monographic exhibition with the evocative title Dans les nuages (2010) at the Galerie Maria Lund. White and fluffy, in “marshmallow” pastel tones or in a cobalt blue, reminiscent of classical porcelain, this ensemble inspired by scientific observations morphed into a personal, imaginary and light park of clouds. In Aire de repos, the similar “clouds/shrubs” are found, created by thin coils of clay set on their stems — Cloud forest. But they are now linked to the idea of mirrors, doubles, with compositions organized around a horizontal central line, acting as a sort of colored visual cutoff, from which two nearly identical halves respectively drift to the top and the bottom. In other works, the basis of the turquoise and green shiny glazes reflects the clouds it supports, acting as a “mirror of the sky on earth” in the manner of a simple puddle where one can seen the sky. Bente Skjøttgaard has also created tridimensional still-lives, where a whirlwind effect neighbors an unnaturally large cloud formation resting on thin stems. The composition distinguishes itself by its fragile equilibrium. The whirlwind, that topples time and our physical environment in a few instants, is fascinating. The artist has studied it closely to create her Turbulences, frail structures that hardly touch the thin circle on which they are based. Their wide-open cones, more or less tilted, are set to whirl along in a centrifugal waltz on water or on air, charging these sculptures with a contained power.

A not so restful area!

For lack of absolute rest, Bente Skjøttgaard’s Aire de repos offers an opportunity to reflect on fundamental elements of our existence in terms of civilization and dependent on a nature that goes beyond us. Here the banality fades for someone that has the capacity and the desire to “see”. Ceramics, a quintessential matter of nature and vehicle of culture, becomes a ludic and perceptive medium to “show” what is so omnipresent that we tend to forget it.

Bente Skjøttgaard is born in Denmark in 1961. The artist regularly exhibits in Europe, in the United States, as well as in South Korea. In 2009 and 2011, she also exhibited at the Biennale de Châteauroux and in 2010 at the Biennale de Vallauris (sculpture section). In 2012 in Copenhagen, the artist created an exhibition platform “Copenhagen Ceramics” in collaboration with artists-ceramists Martin Bodilsen Kaldahl and Steen Ipsen.

The Galerie Maria Lund has presented four exhibitions (2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010) of Bente Skjøttgaard that were very well received by the public, the press and institutions. Her sculptures have joined the collections of the Fond national d’art contemporain, Paris and the V&A, London, the Musée National de la Céramique, Sèvres, the Musées de Châteauroux and of a number of public collections in Northern Europe.

Maria Lund and Mrion Bahy-Baril - translation : Jessica Watson
  • Opening Saturday, September 21, 2013 5 PM → 8 PM
Maria Lund Gallery Gallery
Map Map
03 Le Marais Zoom in 03 Le Marais Zoom out

48, rue de Turenne

75003 Paris

T. 01 42 76 00 33 — F. 01 42 76 00 10

Chemin Vert

Opening hours

Tuesday – Saturday, noon – 7 PM
Other times by appointment Spring 2020 : By appointment only

The artist