In June, it will be ten years ago that I first opened the doors of my gallery Puls Contemporary Ceramics in Brussels. It was a very exciting moment for me and I pulled out all the stops and invited Keramiske Veje (Ceramic Ways) to exhibit. It turned out that I could not have made a better choice for my debut on the international gallery scene. Now, ten years later, the group is coming back to celebrate our anniversary.
Keramiske Veje is renowned as Denmark’s most talented and extraordinary group of ceramic artists. Its seven members are (in alphabetical order) Gunhild Aaberg, Beate Andersen, Bente Hansen, Sten Lykke Madsen, Bodil Manz, Malene Müllertz, and Jane Reumert. They have exhibited together in numerous international museums and world ceramic expositions since 1983.
The artists are highly individual in their ways of expressing themselves — but they also have important things in common. They know their métier intimately — the clay and the fire — and they have never stopped exploring the seemingly infinite number of ways of creating great art within the ceramic discipline.
Seven artists and seven creative paths are united in this exhibition. They will be showing outstanding and often nature-inspired one-off pieces in stoneware and porcelain. Individually, they each have achieved recognition as absolute masters of their chosen art, both internationally and throughout their homeland of Denmark.
If anything, I am even more excited than I was ten years ago and I welcome all ceramic lovers to the event. It is my honor to announce that the exhibition will be officially opened by Jørgen Molde, the Danish Ambassador to Belgium.
Gunhild Aaberg °1939
I was born into an old seafaring family and raised on a harbor. I saw many European harbors while sailing on my mother’s coaster and was fascinated by the mysterious things one can find there. I felt drawn to industrial buildings with their frequently brutal architectural bodies. I have a fondness for marginalized areas that have not yet fallen prey to gentrification. They are an inspiration for my ceramic works. These are hand-worked and then treated with impressing and incising tools and then slips of varying tactility. The final element is the touch of fire in a reducing atmosphere in a gas kiln at 1,300 °C.
Beate Andersen °1943
The experiences of my hands, the sight of the energy, and the inherent quiet of cosmic eggs all form the background for my experiments with egg-like shapes. Some are thrown, some are molded, and others are modeled out of several elements. They can be positioned lengthwise or upright and some are divided in the middle. When the shapes have been bisque fired, I spray them with extremely matt glazes, applying several layers and colors in order to create surface play. I have immersed myself into investigations of patterns in relation to form and my artistic aim is to create a synthesis, a greater whole.
Bente Hansen °1943
I have taken up and have worked with three different modes of expressions in the recent years: planes worked together by hand, modeled undulating forms, and thrown slanting shapes. All three idioms are concerned with the space in between, with the dark interior. The jars are simple, consisting of straight and curved planes, open and closed spaces, black openings, and colored planes. The crucial elements are to be found in the proportions, distances, angles, and spaces. These constructions with different idioms offer an infinity of potential solutions, all lined up awaiting a place in reality.
Sten Lykke Madsen °1937
I have always been keenly interested in playing my sculptures into being. Lately, I have discovered wood firing, which is an entirely new dimension for me. The beauty does not reside in the glaze on the outside, but in the way in which the wood and time burns itself so deeply into the sculpture itself. The sculptures look almost like something from nature upon being removed from the kiln. At that point, it no longer looks like something I made, but like something that is much older than I am. It is like finding a stone on the beach resembling a fledgling bird and feeling very lucky.
Bodil Manz °1943
The black-and-white porcelain Oman Vessel is inspired by the beaches of Oman; cast in a single-use mold of various types of sand. The well-known porcelain cylinders will also be on show. Decoration is applied as a transfer, which melts into the raw body. The outer and inner decoration become one in the resulting transparency. There is a wordless interaction between the frail, precise vessels and the abstract geometrical decoration, no matter whether it is a delicate line drawing or strong, large fields of color. The last stage is the firing, when I give the work out of my hands into the fire to alter the shape and line of the vessel as it will.
Malene Müllertz 1949
A cylindrical shape made of a solitary spiral evolving from the base, slowly working its way up, supported by countless small clay fret spokes. The making of these nets brings me back to humankind’s primeval receptacle, the woven basket. I am engrossed in the three-dimensional, the area within my concern, the space created by juxtaposition of the outer and the inner. The thread and spoke creation itself hangs freely, defying the contour. Nature and culture clash in a world of chaos — all paraphrased. It is a dramatic process in terms of artisanship, defying laws of nature and testing the clay to its limits.
Jane Reumert 1942
The purity and potential for transparency of porcelain has made it my preferred material since 1980. My desire to reach maximum transparency and lightness, even in large-scale objects, has given rise to countless experiments with techniques of building as well as with firing methods. My fundamental source of inspiration is fascination with all kinds of natural phenomena: budding life, growth, decay, transience, death, and transformation.
For this exhibition, I have combined primordial, organic clay with contemporary two-component polyester and high-tech digital media in my “ceramic metamorphoses” — large vessels built in clay and then molded in fiberglass-reinforced polyester.