X – Scapes is the title of a joint exhibition by Norwegian ceramicist Marit Tingleff and Danish Martin Bodilsen Kaldahl at Copenhagen Ceramics. The show opened May 1, curated by Alun Graves of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
The title refers to “scape” as in landscape, while also pointing to numerous other possible scapes – physical and mental scenarios– anything from seascape to cityscape to mindscape; from the concrete to the abstract.
This x- scape represents the pivotal point of the meeting in clay between the two artists, where, in spite of the obvious differences in their artistic expression, the ambiance of their work overlaps and visual resonance appears.
Marit Tingleff is internationally renowned as one of Norway’s greatest contemporary ceramic artists. Throughout her career she has consistently worked with, and against, the deep-rooted cultural layers of ceramic tradition.
Her particular strength lies in her ability to express the monumental character inherent in everyday phenomena. She manages to elucidate the metaphorical qualities of even the most ordinary functional objects, precisely by insisting so powerfully on their familiar and beloved forms. These are often presented in a monumental format – very large ceramic dishes or platters.
In the work she is showing at Copenhagen Ceramics, she treats the landscape as a painterly theme with reference to early faience tableware. Blue landscapes were favored as subject matter and are still found on plates, cups and dishes in many homes. Tingleff uses the landscape of her own daily life as a starting point for an interpretation of these ceramic landscapes.
In a abstract vein, a sense of being within landscape is also the theme for Martin Bodilsen Kaldahl. The underlying agenda is to emphasize simple existence in space. Characteristically, he insists that even the most casual, banal gesture in space can be made important through a precise formal elaboration. Here is the crossover with Marit Tingleff’s work: both have a vigilant eye for the monumental.
In his new works, entitled Spatial Drawings, he aims to establish the conditions for creating an intuitive, spatial form. He sets up his own obstacles to avoid consciously planning the figures. Out of endless small bits of clay tubes he builds parts that are then assembled into larger structures, which move around in space – dancing, groping their way, rising and falling. Like sculptural equivalents of semi-consciously scribbled doodles, they just exist – perhaps they emerged out of a void of thought – a distracted sense?
Marit Tingleff is represented in many public and private collections in Norway and abroad: e.g. Designmuseum Danmark; National Museum, Oslo; the decorative art museums of Bergen and Trondheim; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Anthony Shaw Collection, London and many more. She has made commissioned work for several Norwegian embassies and government offices. Recent solo exhibitions include Arabia Museum, Helsinki, 2012; Kunstnerforbundet, Oslo, 2011. Unforeseen Events, was a dual exhibition with Alison Britton at Marsden Woo Gallery, London, 2009. Since early 2013 Marit Tingleff has been a professor at the Ceramics Department of the National Academy of the Arts in Oslo.
The work of Martin Bodilsen Kaldahl is represented in Danish and international museums and private collections: e.g Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Musée des Arts Decoratifs, Paris; National Museum, Oslo; Designmuseum Danmark; Trapholt Art Museum, DK; MIMA, Middlesborough, UK; Annie and Otto Johs. Detlefs Collection, DK; Diane and Marc Grainer Collection, Washington. Recent shows include the New Year Exhibition, Marsden Woo Gallery, London, 2014; Danish Design at the House, Sydney Opera House, 2013; Copenhagen Ceramics, 2012 (solo); Contemporary British Studio Ceramics, Mint Museum, North Carolina, USA, 2010; The Digital Clay, Designmuseum Danmark, 2008 (solo); END, English – Norwegian – Danish group- exhibition, Designmuseum Danmark, 2007.
Martin Bodilsen Kaldahl is teaching part time at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Design. He is co-founder of Copenhagen Ceramics.
Above image: Installation view of Marit Tingleff’s and Martin Bodilsen Kaldahl’s X-Scapes pieces at Copenhagen Ceramics. Photograph by Jeppe Gudmundsen-Holmgreen. Images courtesy of the gallery.
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