Much gratitude to artist Marit Tingleff for allowing us to transform her 2006 catalog Marit Tingleff into a gorgeous eBook for readers to view online. If you are already a member, view the catalog, or begin your 30-day free trial. Additionally, do not forget to submit your catalog to cfile.library!
Veiteberg, Jorunn; de Waal, Edmund
Oslo: Arts Council of Norway, 2006
Translated in Norwegian, English
Norwegian artist Marit Tingleff draws inspiration from functional objects, but her ceramic objects do not invite function. Life is her greatest inspiration, things that happen everyday, objects that she holds in her hand. It’s funny how often we hear statements like this from artists. But perhaps, Tingleff’s approach is more or less Duchampian than other artists and crafters. She makes functional objects, often painting them with lead glaze so that they cannot be used to store or serve food. The whole idea to begin with is the essence of Duchamp…. everyday objects as art.
Though it was through the pottery of Thorvald Bindesbøll and other potters that Tingleff came to work with clay, she is still repelled by the beauty conventions and rules of the craft pottery movement. Tingleff would figure out for herself what is beautiful.
Of Bindesbøll’s pottery she stated, “The earthenware suddenly stood there glowing, expressive and very advanced in its simplicity. The black and white slip against the red burned clay. Broad strokes, strangely inelegant patterns. I realised that there lay many undiscovered possibilities in the simple European popular pottery tradition; I had found my field of ceramics.”
Tingleff adheres to a very eastern view of art making…. wabi sabi! When cracks make themselves known in her work, she has no problem gluing (studio potters wouldn’t dare!!!) pieces back together or filling a crack with glaze. For her, a crack is a fault, but only in the geological sense. She leaves traces of the steppingstones in the life of her works, and the effect is an enriched viewing experience.
The artist attended Bergen Arts and Crafts College in 1974-1977, a time when the craft world was zealously seeking to define itself apart from the design world. Tingleff is in many ways a child of this turning point, advocating for craft but rejecting its principles for her own work. One of the ways that this manifests is through the element of craft called ornament or decoration. Ornament is often thought of as something added at the end to enhance the overall. For Tingleff though (who’s greatest strength maybe painting on wet clay) the “ornament” is built-in to the structure, it is the pattern yoking the structural components together, and to me, that is visibly obvious when viewing her work.
She is no traditional crafter. Tingleff sees that the shape of a plate, which allows us to serve and eat food, also allows us to treat it like a canvas, paint all over it, hang it on a wall. Tingleff is constantly seeking out intersections between the ornamental, the everyday, and the historical in her work.