Sten Lykke Madsen - March/April 2008
Sten Lykke Madsen
Exhibition March 1 - April 26 2008
Adventurous fabel figures with humor poetry and storytelling
Fancyful - Fabulous - Fascinating - Felicitous - Fabulating
The Fanciful Ceramist by Ole Lindboe, Editor of Art
There are ceramists and there are ceramists and then there is Sten Lykke Madsen. More than any other, he embodies the fanciful in Danish ceramics. In his universe the imagination is on a continuous voyage of discovery, and rationality has been relegated to the stuffy office where it belongs.
Sten Lykke Madsen tells stories as if drawing from an inexhaustible source of whimsical, humorous and bizarre visions. Anything is possible in his fantastic universe where nothing is what it seems. Fish, frogs, small lizards and other strange but benign mutants tumble about as if they were a kind of people.
These beings are indubitably sweet but make no mistake: They may bare their teeth, revealing dangerous depths. You might feel somewhat ill at ease upon meeting his creatures and their fickle natures. Imagine turning your back on them for a minute: What might they do?
Transformation is a keyword for the ceramist’s universe. Believe it or not, we live in a world that is both magical and realistic at the same time. The magic cancels the realistic. Or extends it. The magical causes us to question conventions. And everybody is something in someone else’s narrative. Altogether we are always included in other people’s stories. And maybe we are also all part of God’s great narrative?
Sten Lykke Madsen is blessed with a both simpleminded and refined sense of the wonder of life. In his perspective even the most mundane objects are imbued with magical forms. A kettle, a washboard and an iron (and their basic forms) can appear side by side with the strangest lizard creatures. Everything is stirred together in the wizard’s kindly cauldron where mythology and the everyday form a synthesis.
His deeply original sense of form has a touch of cubism. The world is lightly twisted. It is turned upside-down. Cracks to the subconscious are opened, but please refrain from interpreting Sten Lykke Madsen’s universe to death. He has an almost childish aversion to heavy-handed interpretations and theoretical explications attempting to schematise his art. It resists that. It is sufficiently anarchistic in a beautiful and subtly witty manner.
There is no doubt that Sten Lykke Madsen is one of our great artists in his special field. The false dichotomy between art and crafts loses all meaning when you visit his world. His art is a happy marriage between the curious and the general. It is freewheeling fancy.
When encountering the artist for the first time you cannot help deliberating whether he is really of this world. Might he not be a pixie later in the evening to return to his knoll somewhere in the woods? It seems credible that he is an envoy sent to our world to spread fables and fantasies.
His approach to his art is the same deliberately naïve one found in Henry Heerup. And Sten Lykke has retained his childhood’s ability to wonder. He can go off into a reverie. He can be surprised and he can be amused.
He is a watcher who always looks again, pondering the details, always spotting the small in the great – and the great in the small. And he just can’t help inventing over the things he experiences in his inner world, as well as the outer one (and every time we see his works, invariably we think: What is the difference?).
O, to once again encounter his stories for the first time!
BIOGRAPHY - STEN LYKKE MADSEN
Born 1937 Copenhagen, Denmark
EDUCATION & PROFESSIONAL CARRIER
The Art, Craft & Design School (now: Achademy Design School) Copenhagen 1958 - Bronze Award.
Kähler, Næstved 1958 - Own studio 1959.. - Bing & Grøndahl 1962-86 - Royal Copenhagen Porcelain Factory 1986-2003.
SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS
Bing & Grøndahl 1971 - Höganäs Museum 1973 - Charlottenborg 1975 - Koldinghus 1975 – 'Ceramic Sculpture' Travel exhibition in Scotland, The Danish Culture Institute in Edinburg 1986-88 - 'Keramiske Udtryk – med Kærlighed' Lidköpings Konsthall 1987 – Royal Copenhagen Porcelain Factory 1988, 1995 - Musikhuset in Aarhus 1990 - Næstved Museum 1989, 1998 - Galerie b 15, Munich 1992 - Rundetårn 1998 - Gallery Nørby 1999, 2002, 2006 – Danish Embassy in Berlin 2001 - 'Salt' Design Museum Denmark 2002 - Gallery Pagter 2004 - Gallery Svenshög, Lund 2005 - Kähler, Næstved 2006 – 'Dice & Dice' Fukuoka, Japan (w. Takashi Nakazato) 2006 - Ann Linnemann Gallery, Copenhagen 2008 -
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
Bing & Grøndahl 1963,1965, 1967, 1981 - Nieman Marcus, Dallas 1964 - Concorso Internazionale delle Ceramice, Faenza 1967, 1975, 1978, 1981 - International Ceramics, Victoria & Albert, London 1972 - Chunichi International Exhibition of Ceramic Arts, Japan 1976 - Keramion, Frecehen - Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam 1977 - Design Museum Denmark 1978, 1980 - Kunstnernes Efterårsudstilling, Charlottenborg 1983 - Keramiske Veje, Den Fries Udstillingsbygning, Copenhagen 1985, 87, 89, 92, 94, 97, 2000, 2004 - Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taiwan 1984, 1994 - Denmark Modern Craft Exhibition, Seibu, Tokio 1987 - 1st Biennial Internacional de Obidos, Portugal 1987 - 'Design au Danemark 1950-87 - Travel exhibition in France 1987-88 - 'Deense keramisten en Leen Quist', Singer Museum & Galerie Amphora, Holland 1990 - 'Form und Glasur', Hoechst, Frankfurt 1991, 2000 - Gallery Nørby, Copenhagen - 1995, 1996, 2005 - 'From Golden Age to The present Day', Edinburg 1995 – Pro, Charlottenborg 1996 - Danish Ceramic Triennial, Trapholt 1997 – Denmark's Ceramic Museum 1997, 2000 - 'Keramik aus Dänemark', Munich 1998 – International Ceramic Biennial, Korea 2001 - 'From the Kilns of Denmark' New York, Fitchburg, San Diego, Sacramento, Racine, Paris, Berlin 2002–2004 – Danish House, Stockholm 2003 - Gallery Kaffeslottet, Gudhjem 2004 - 'Sofa', Chicago 2005 - Museum De Tiendschuur, Holland 2005 - World Clay, IAC members, Riga 2006.
REPRESENTED IN COLLECTIONS
Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam - Grimmerhus - Helsingborg Museum - Höganäs Museum - Keramikmuseum, Westerwald - Design Museum Denmark - Museo Internazinale delle Ceramice, Faenca - Nationalmuseet, Stockholm - Nordenfjeldske Kunstindustrimuseum, Trondheim - New Carlsberg Foundation - National Danish Art Foundation - Trapholt Museum - Victoria & Albert, London – Fuping International Museum, Kina.
Gavludsmykning Vesterbrogade 147, Copenhagen 1978 - Fountain, Store Torv, Holstebro 1986 - Gavludsmykning Sølvgade 14, Copenhagen 1993 – Wall commission Castberggaard, Urlev 2002.
GRANTS AND AWARDS
Guldmedalje Museo Internazionale delle Ceramice, Faenza 1967, 1975 - Hofjuveler Michelsens Anniversary Award 1969, Paul Mindelegat 1971, Thannings Rejselegat 1972, Danish National Bank's Anniversary Award 1974, Ole Haslunds Legat 1984, National Danish Arts Foundation 2003, 2005 travel grant 2004 - Sølvsmed Kay Bojesens og hustru Erna Bojesens Award 2005 – Arts Association of 14 August Award 2005.
MEMBER OF Académie Internationale de la Cèramique (AIC) – Keramiske Veje/Ceramic Ways DK
Indsendt af Ann Linnemann