Is This Colour? … an exhibition by Kontempo at The Round Tower

 

Kontempo, an association of textile designers in the Nordic region, was founded in 2015. With a board of eight textile and furniture designers who meet once a month, they are "working to raise awareness about contemporary textile work and practices."  

Is This ….? …. is a series of exhibitions by Kontempo with Is This Colour? being the third following Is This Textile? in 2016 and Is This Knit? in 2017.

Here, twenty four works are shown that, using many different materials and styles, explore aspects of colour. The Gallery is in the Trinitas Church, the parish church for students, in an upper level that housed the university library, and access is via the brick spiral ramp in the tower. With windows on both sides - with views over the city - there is amazing natural light through the space and that is exploited in the exhibition so that what is clear, immediately, is that surface, texture and shadow all have a crucial role in how we perceive colours.

KONTEMPO
the exhibition continues at Rundetaarn / The Round Tower
until 23 June 2019

the framework
ide Blichfeld

NCS S 1080 Y20R
Kitt Dusnia

compleat
Charlotte Østergaard

colour lab
Louise Sass

duotone
Eva Fly

translucent faces
Henning Larsen

Axel Salto Stentøjsmesteren / Axel Salto stoneware master

 

A major exhibition of work by the artist, designer and ceramicist Axel Salto (1889 - 1961) opened in February at Øregaard Museum in Hellerup - just along the coast to the north of the city.

Salto studied painting at the Royal Academy and graduated in 1914.

By 1916 he was living in Paris where he met Picasso and Henri Matisse and on returning to Denmark he produced, edited and wrote for a short-lived but influential journal Klingen / The Blade that was published between 1917 and 1919.

He was a member of the Grønningen group of artists and one of The Four with Svend Johansen, Vilhelm Lundstrom and Karl Larsen who exhibited together between 1920 and 1929.

In the 1920s he began to design ceramics and his stoneware pieces were produced in the workshops of Carl Haller at Saxbo keramik in Frederiksberg and he also produced designs for porcelain by Bing & Grondahl with his work shown at the Paris exhibition in 1925.

This exhibition shows a full range of his ceramic works from small stoneware bowls with incised decoration or bold moulding with Japanese-style glazes to large-scale works with scenes from Classical mythology or stylised nature.

Paintings and strong and very confident ink and line-work drawings, including designs for the ceramics, show clearly the style Salto developed from his training as a painter.

He also worked with the book binder August Sandgren and a selection of designs for end papers are shown in an upper gallery which have a distinct feel of the 1930s with deep colours and stylised and small repeat patterns.

 

the exhibition continues at Øregaard Museum until 23 June 2019

Yellow at Officinet

An exhibition at Officinet - the gallery in Copenhagen of Danske Kunsthåndværkere & Designere - to show the works of the Danish artist Torgny Wilcke and the English artist Simon Callery.

Both artists have used the colour yellow for a common element and both use what are essentially functional every-day materials - for Callery heavy canvas and Torgny Wilcke timber and corrugated metal strip for roof covering.

Both work on a large scale with a strong presence in the space and both hint at potential practical uses for their works … the wall pieces by Simon Callery reference storage and the large floor pieces by Torgny Wilcke have been used for seating so they are challenging boundaries between art, craft and design.

Both use proportions to bring order and to assume control of the space in the gallery. 

 

the exhibition continues at Officinet,
Bredgade 66, Copenhagen
until 24 March 2019

Danske Kunsthåndværkere & Designere /
Danish Association of Craft and Design


Torgny Wilcke

Simon Callery

 

TRÆ, SAKS, PAPIR / Wood, paper, scissors

Karmstol, Stitched wood and a Skammel and Massive weaving

 

Knitted wood

Massive weaving and Folded wood

Knitted weaving and Folded wood

Knitted wood

An important exhibition of recent work by the furniture designer and architect Else-Rikke Bruun has just opened at the gallery of the Association of Danish Crafts and Designers in Bredgade .

There are several strong themes running through the works shown here but perhaps the most interesting and surprising idea is about not just defining space but also exploring shadow as a strong component as if it is itself a material element in the design.

Five screens in wood - the main works - define space but also occupy space and very considerable care was taken to set the lighting and to use the natural light of the gallery so strong shadows on the floor dissolve the sharp edge between the vertical of the screen and the horizontal surface of the floor and views through the screen and light coming through the screen from the other side change as you move round the space.

After completing her training as an architect Else-Rikke Bruun studied Arabian architecture for three years and here not just the fragmenting of light but also the use of precise geometric forms show the influence of Arabian architectural forms. Walking around the exhibition Else-Rikke explained that she is fascinated by patterns and the way we look for patterns and geometric pattern has a strong role in architecture of the Middle East, North Africa and southern Spain.

Influence from Japan is acknowledged both in the way the screens and the arrangement of faceted blocks of wood in the chair and in small panels reference the Japanese art of folding paper - two panels in wood are titled Origami panel - but also there is the sense of a Japanese aesthetic in the calm and measured division of space - a key feature of the way the pieces have been arranged in the gallery.

All the works shown are made with incredible precision so they also have the quality of fine engineering - particularly in the way separate pieces are linked or joined together or have different forms of hinge: all the screens can be articulated to adjust the angles of the parts or the alignment of the whole screen and Knitted wood folds back in on itself.

Another strong theme is inspiration from textile art and that is shown directly in the titles of three of the works … Stitched wood, Massive weaving and Knitted wood. This is not just about how elements interlock - Veneer has what are in fact giant warp and weft in cut plywood - but, as with woven textiles, the visual character from a distance is different from the complexity and subtlety that is revealed as you move closer.

Four of the works exploit the properties of laminated wood and develop different techniques for cutting to shape, bending, linking or interlocking plywood.

Use of colour is important but generally subtle … the screen titled Massive weaving uses spray paint so colour is strong on the cross-cut ends of the battens but fades out along the length. This work was developed with the colour artist Malene Bach. Generally subtle except that Knitted wood has a strong colour on one side that counterposes the shadow as you look through the interlocking curves.

The exhibition is the culmination of over a year of work specifically but actually develops and builds on themes that were first shown by Else-Rikke Bruun in the craft Biennials in 2015 and 2017.

Immediately  before the exhibition Else-Rikke Bruun had a residency at Statens Værksteder for Kunst / Danish Art Workshops in Copenhagen and in a longer review here both the development of the main ideas and themes of the exhibition and the role of the workshops in giving artists access to space and equipment to realise their work will be discussed.

Stools in Oregon pine were made by Anders Petersen Collection & Craft in Copenhagen.

Karmstol, the chair in the exhibition, took, as a starting point for its design, round-headed niches at each end of this gallery. It is not strictly site specific but does hint at just how carefully-considered this work is with strong references to the design of Classic Danish chairs while experimenting with both form and construction techniques. It is an important piece that blurs our artificial boundaries between art, craftsmanship and utility and will be the subject of a separate post.

Danske Kunsthåndværkere og Designere

Else-Rikke Bruun

 30 November 2018 - 20 December 2018
Officinet, Bredgade 66, Copenhagen

MONO - Snedkernes Efterårsudstilling / the Cabinetmakers’ Autumn Exhibition 2018

Piqué
designed by:
Hannes Stephensen
produced by: Snedkersind v/Kristian Frandsen

Sunrise
designed by:
Lise og Hans Isbrand
produced by: MoreWood Møbelsnedkeri ApS

 
 

The Cabinetmakers Autumn Exhibition for 2018 has just opened at Thorvaldsens Museum in Copenhagen.

SE - Snedkernes Efterårsudstilling - The Cabinetmakers’ Autumn Exhibition - is an association of 81 designers and manufacturers. Each year their board select a venue for their exhibition and set a theme along with any specific rules for a particular year - often to do with dimensions but this year also stipulating colour - so each work will be restricted to just one colour with the choice limited to either the natural colour of the material itself or to one of the strong and distinctive colours used in the original decorative schemes of rooms in Thorvaldsens Museum.

Each year, guest designers and guest manufacturers can apply to show their work. 

When setting the theme for this year, MONO was suggested to imply a range of associated ideas through monochrome, monolith, monopoly and monologue.

A subheading for the exhibition - furniture shaped by craftsmanship and insight - is important and significant: these pieces highlight the skills and the experience of the cabinetmakers who, in some pieces, take their chosen materials to new extremes and, in all the works, push their workshop techniques to the highest level of quality. So the exhibition is in part about the style and the form of each work but because, the cabinetmakers also represent a long and well-established craft tradition in Denmark, these pieces are about understanding the materials, to know what can be done and how, and to use incredible skills to shape, finish, join, refine or reduce the parts that make each work.

There are forty one works in the exhibition. Most were produced in a partnership between a designer and a cabinetmaker or furniture manufacturer - in many cases a  partnership that is now well-established over many years and over several projects shown at the Autumn Exhibition although several pieces were both designed and made by the same person.

The exhibition is also an opportunity to experiment or to produce designs that might otherwise not be commissioned … the aim is not only to challenge the skill of the maker but also to challenge the preconceptions of the visitor.

 

2 November 2018 - 9 December 2018
Thorvaldsens Museum, Copenhagen

Thorvaldsens Museum
SE - Snedkernes Efterårsudstilling

Cupola drejestol / Cupola swivel chair
designed by:
Niels Gammelgaard
produced by: Northern Layers

En stol / A chair
designed by:
Foersom & Hiort-Lorenzen
produced by: Kvist Industries A/S

Introvert position
designed by:
Andreas Lund
produced by: Toke Overgaard

Rum / Encircle
designed by:
Troels Grum-Schwensen
produced by: Malte Gormsen

2Gether
designed and made by:
Steen Dueholm Sehested

Bloom
designed by:
Hannes Stephensen
produced by: Egeværk

Beside
designed by:
Line Depping
produced by: Skagerak Denmark A/S

Guldlok / Goldilocks
designed by:
Monique Engelund
produced by: Sune Witt Skovhus

 
 

Oak Tree - an exhibition of work by Tina Astrup

 

 Tina Astrup graduated as a textile designer from the Danish Design School but also completed a post-graduate degree in furniture and spatial design.

Inspired by the timber and the colours seen in a local saw mill, where oak was stacked and seasoned, the work shown here is a project that has evolved over four years. She takes large disks of timber - sections of tree trunk - or substantial wedges of oak and baulks of wood and enhances both the pattern of the natural grain that mark the growth of the tree but her process seems also to echo mechanical cuts and saw marks that show how a tree is felled and the trunk cut into planks.

She uses vinegar poured over the timber that has been wound tightly with wire … a process that brings out tannins in the timber and creates slashes of dark colour in a way that echoes the effect when textiles are tie dyed.

 

This changes the character of the oak to make it darker both in terms of colour and in the sense of being much more dramatic.

We tend to see oak now only after it has been worked - so finely cut and planed and smoothed and pale - and see oak as the ideal wood for wide, hard-wearing floor boards or for strong finely-made furniture.

Along with beech and ash, pale or almost white oak is still a hall-mark if not the hall-mark wood for the modern Scandinavian interior. Through the classic period of modern furniture design, the English even talked about ‘light oak furniture’ to distinguish the look they wanted from the ‘dark’ oak of 19th-century and earlier furniture that was regarded as old fashioned or unfashionable.

But oak trees, in the wood or the forest, can be twisted and gnarled - powerful and impressive - and even disturbing.

The cuts and marks on these pieces by Tina Astrup reconnects us with what is, after all, the force - the almost aggressive force - of chopping down a large tree and cutting it into planks and should take us a step back from the product to the natural material and to the way we work with timber to see new possibilities in how designers could work with and use oak in very different ways.

 

Kunsthåndværkere & Designere
Tina Astrup

the exhibition continues until 28 October 2018
Officinet - the gallery of Danske Kunsthåndværkere & Designere
Bredgade 66, Copenhagen

 

Flammespor / Scorched traces - ceramics by Charlotte Nielsen

 

 

Ceramic works by Charlotte Nielsen that are fired using raku techniques that traditionally means rapid firing at a high temperature and rapid cooling so the fired clay takes on the colours and the sharp look of weathered and rusted iron. These incredible pieces are inspired by ironwork with ribs and spirals that make the pieces look like worn machine parts. 

 

Officinet
Danske Kunsthåndværkere & Deignere
Bredgade 66
14 July until 18 August 2018

Liquid Life - Biennalen for Kunsthåndværk & Design 2017

This is the last two days of the Biennalen ... an exhibition of some of the very best of Danish craft work.

What is astounding here are those very qualities that are not normally associated with Danish design … or at least not with common preconceptions about Danish design from the late 20th century. So here there is strong, bold use of colour and texture and the exploration of ideas that challenge perceptions and preconceptions. 

The theme Liquid Life - about how precarious modern life can feel - is from a text by Zygmunt Baumann and taken from his book Liquid Life that was published in 2005.

“Liquid life is the kind of life commonly lived in our contemporary, liquid-modern society ... The most acute and stubborn worries that haunt this liquid life are the fears of being caught napping, of failing to catch up with fast moving events, of overlooking the ‘use by’ dates and being saddled with worthless possessions, of missing the moment calling for a change of tack and being left behind.”

With an amazing diversity of both materials and techniques - with works in ceramic and glass, with textiles, jewellery, furniture, book binding, fashion and photography - and with many of the artists combining several materials and in some works several specialist skills - these works are the response that these observations by Zygmunt Bauman inspired in thirty seven artists, designers and makers ........... a response and an antidote.

 

Liquid Life - Biennalen for Kunsthåndværk & Design 2017

Museumsbygningen, Kastelsvej 18, Copenhagen until 27 May 2017

 

 
 
 

note: select an image by clicking on it and that will take you into the gallery where the title of the work and the name(s) of the artist(s) can be found

more photographs

Ultimate Impact

 

Ultimate Impact - an exhibition curated by Tina Midtgaard of the design studio Superobjekt - explores the culture of Scandinavian design through the works of 33 artists … photographers, ceramicists, glassmakers, cabinetmakers and textile designers.

Strong visually and important as an intellectual exercise about the imagination - the artists’ and our own -  the works are arranged by five ‘phenomena’  - Fantasy, Exoticism, Silence, Ragnorak and Baroque. It is the juxtapositions of pieces and the reverberation or resonance or contrasts of colour or texture or material across the space that is important. Two works use sound and all the pieces experiment in very different ways with form and light and shadow.

This exhibition deliberately questions any lingering preconceptions about Scandinavian design and style.

As a venue, the gallery itself is dramatic, approached by a long spiral brick ramp to climb the round tower, and with the beams and posts and braces of the 17th-century space high above the church itself and, with the massive timbers painted grey and with plain white walls, the architecture provides a strong but open framework for such a complex exhibition but without competing and, with natural light from both sides, there is also the space that is essential for moving around and between the works. This, together with the high quality of the works, makes the exhibition an appropriately challenging but very rich and rewarding experience.

Ultimate Impact at Rundetaarn - The Round Tower in Copenhagen - until 2 July 2017