Gitte Jungersen was born in 1967 in Denmark and studied at the Danish School of Design in Copenhagen from 1988 - 1993.
Jungersen doesn't just go with the tide: she challenges the prevailing sense of aesthetics and she tests the limitations of her material by fully exploring its intrinsic qualities and capabilities. "I feel very ambivalent towards the inherent characteristics of the decorative arts. The importance of craftsmanship, functionality and aesthetics", says Gitte Jungersen.
Since her student days at the Danish School of Design she has strongly opposed the established ideas of "good taste". In 1992, she founded the group "Junta" with two fellow students of ceramics, Michael Geertsen and Morten Lshbner Espersen. The group challenged the emphasis on form and function and the Bauhaus tradition that prevailed at the college. "Junta" gave vent to the development of a new generation of ceramists, who were in opposition to the previous generation of grand ladies of Danish ceramic art. The issue of good taste continues to fascinate her today, "I am concerned with beauty and ugliness. I want to avoid a flat niceness and I believe that beauty has many layers that also include ugliness." And Gitte Jungersen's sculptural vessels, with their almost grotesque glaze work and heavy forms are certainly antithetical to much streamlined glossy ceramic design of today. More than anything though, it is the inherent qualities of the ceramic material and its formal and textural capabilities that she is fascinated by. The working process is clearly visible in her works.
"The works come into being in the process. I go on and on until I can control the process - the best pieces are actually the ones somewhere in the middle of this process - they are a little off-beat." Gitte Jungersen likes to explore something fully - it is in the process of testing her materials that the excitement and tension exist. "It is a game about controlling and not-controlling. There is so much resistance in the material. It becomes a battle between me and the material". At the point where she gains sufficient control, the process has ended and she is ready to move on to something else.
In her exhibition at Puls Contemporary Ceramics, she is showing a series of vessel forms - cubes and quadratic boxes - with softly modeled structures and powerful glazes. The pieces are like fields of energy with a vigorous undertone and they are excellent examples of her fascination with the inherent powers of the materials. The strict geometric form of the cube sets off the powerful emotionally charged surface texture creating a very dramatic overall expression. The glaze has been applied in many layers and fired and re-fired leaving a forceful testimony of the intense physical transformation that the works have undergone. With her quadratic boxes, she is exploring the texture and intrinsic values of colour in the ceramic process. The narrow box becomes both vessel and picture plane. In this case, she has applied the glaze in thin layers creating layers of colour. Small black and whitish gray points of colour appear through the artificial blues and yellows that make up the upper layers of glaze. Little bumps and streams with varying intensity of colour add to the texture.
"I have chosen yellow because it is the most radiant colour. It creates lightness and sets off the forceful physicality of the form. I am flirting a little with pop here and have chosen a yellow that appears artificial. It is poisonous and signals danger." Again, Gitte Jungersen intrigues. Her vessels are stringent and geometric. Yet, the minimalist form is heavy and is counteracted by the sensuous hand built surface that brings the form to life and makes it more organic - and by the dramatic almost seething texture of the surface. A texture that is reminiscent of the natural world, but thrown right into the 21st century by its contemporary colouring.
Portrait - Gitte Jungersen written by Ulla Munck Jorgensen.