Danish ceramics enjoys a particularly high international profile. One of its leading lights is without doubt Steen Ipsen. This new show continues his long association with Puls Gallery. Born in 1966 in Naestved, Ipsen works and lives in Copenhagen. He is one of the most important ceramists of the current generation. Even Ipsen’s most ambitious experiments and changes in direction invariably show a sure hand, an eye for potential, and a profound knowledge of materials and technique. Confronted with any piece by Ipsen, it is easy to imagine you have chanced upon an artifact from the cluttered office of a molecular biologist. Or perhaps a mathematician specializing in topology, that arcane branch of mathematics dealing with the way in which constituent parts are interrelated or arranged in two - and three-dimensional space.
Each successive development in his career has its roots, even inspiration in previous work. But be careful; even in repetition, he cannot step into the same river twice. There is an unbroken pattern of growth and evolution flowing throughout his entire oeuvre. Look carefully and you will find the fingerprints of all of his previous thinking in each new breakthrough piece. The works in this exhibition develop two threads of Ipsen’s explorations: the diversity and rich potential of spherical shapes and the infinite possibilities of abstract organic geometries. It is work that is the conjunction of techniques and spatial relationships that take them even further in their ability to speak to the viewer.
Some of the pieces consist of joined, simply colored spherical elements that are subsequently tied with colored strings and ropes of PVC and leather. Others explore materials in an organic pattern of broken or continuous connecting lines. The result is an abstract and highly spatial sculptural expression. Ipsen shares a fascination - perhaps even obsession - for the spherical shape with renowned German contemporary artist Gerhard Richter (Sphere, a 1992 single stainless steel polished sphere that reflects the entirety of its surrounding space and Belgian painter turned sculptor Pol Bury (12,000 Balls and the fountain sculpture L'Octagon). Other works, though seemingly rooted in non-Euclidian geometry, bring about associations of an erotic nature, in as much as they are reminiscent of early modernist sculptural experiments of the Bauhaus, Barbara Hepworth, and Henry Moore.