NEW YORK–The highly successful exhibition at Hostler Burrows Bend, Bubble and Shine, Copenhagen Ceramics (April 29 – June 10, 2021, after which it will travel to Hostler Burrows Los Angeles with dates to be announced) is a co-production of the Danish co-operative Copenhagen Ceramics. It features the work of Karen Bennicke, Morten Løbner Espersen, Steen Ipsen, Gitte Jungersen, Martin Bodilsen Kaldahl, Marianne Nielsen,Turi Heisselberg Pedersen, Pernille Pontoppidan Pedersen, and Bente Skjøttgaard. It rates the best survey yet of Danish ceramic genius and identity and we urge readers to download (or purchase it in print) the excellent catalog with a delightful informative essay “Touching from a Distance” by Garth Johnson, from which, courtesy of the gallery, we have published his closing coda:
If you are lucky enough to see Bend, Bubble and Shine in person, be ready to check your assumptions about how each artist approaches the construction and finishing of their work. Just know that trying to enter the mindset of a Danish ceramist is a fool’s errand. There are too many failed studio experiments, too many late-night conversations with other artists, too many artist-led exhibitions, journals, and collectives to make what you’re looking at a straightforward manifestation of surface and form. Even the most casual viewer will be swept up in the diversity of materials and approaches—and this is a direct effect of the artistic ferment caused by the hothouse environment that is contemporary Danish Ceramics.
For those of you stuck at home and forced to “touch from a distance,” know that Danish ceramists have your back. Even before the COVID–19 pandemic, Copenhagen Ceramics curated a 2019 exhibition at Denmark’s CLAY Museum of Ceramic Art entitled Ceramic Momentum – Staging the Object that took social media and the relationship between contemporary ceramics, social media, and digital screens into account.
In the exhibition’s increasingly relevant essay, The Rise of the Hyper Pot, Glenn Adamson muses about the reciprocal relationship between Instagram and ceramics, a sort of Botany of Desire feedback loop that has seen a rise in ceramists steering their work into Unicorn Frappucino territory with colors and surfaces meant to capture eyeballs. Ultimately, Adamson reassures us that Hyper Pots, with their drips, colors, and screen-friendly forms still function in the same way ceramics were always meant to “exert friction in the flow of life, like a rudder in a swift current.” With their twin tendencies to both embrace their forbears in an intergenerational web, as well as the impulse to thoughtfully rebel against them, one can be assured that contemporary Danish ceramics will remain a vibrant node in a global network.