(Photo: Ole Akhøj)FORM & IMAGINATION
Designer Ole Jensen and ceramist Louise Birch DK
6 - 29 September 2012
Great design starts with an open mind, a playful approach to form, materials and use of imagination in all directions, - a limitless curious testing of every possibility and impossibility.
This exhibition describes a play with form and fantasy, the moments before serious decisions and financial evaluations if an idea/product/object can be produced or in other ways is confronted with function, fashion or tendencies.
The pieces have become independent, showing the amazing, free playground where everything is possible, playfully easy, humoristic colourful, sketchy, - but also seriously holding their own rights.
At the exhibition the experienced Danish designer Ole Jensen is accompanied by the young ceramicist Louise Birch.
Ole Jensen's design is known in many Danish homes – salad strainer/bowl, yellow teapots, soft dish-washing buckets, brooms and dust pans. He designs for large industrial companies, but often with his eyes towards the inspiration that springs from the work of the hands, clay, ceramics.
Louise Birch works with the figurative narrative often in a humoristic still-life.
”It is not so easy to get in shape and be full of fantasy...” (Ole Jensen)
”Everyday objects change the meaning, when they change scale.”(Louise Birch)
Both of them have chosen to work with earthenware and from the same thematic starting point: form and fantasy; – and in many ways their worlds have come to play with and against each other.
Louise has intuitively decided to leave her figures entirely raw and unglazed, while Ole has jumped into a powerful, colourful universe of things for use.
They have let go of the well-thought decisions, conscious tendencies and lines of fashion to throw themselves and the viewer into the 'real' world, where the things appear...
Ole Jensen: ”It is not so easy to get in shape and be full of fantasy, and in the beginning it went a bit slow. The things became too thought-out and not free enough. Well assisted by the Spring and Summer, the colours and the phenomena, one gets well started with the clay and one thing leads to another. It is like an appearance of an almost fearless state with a new openness for aesthetic qualities beyond the perfect, 'good taste', stylistic order and what is in and out of time. A state of mind that can not necessarily be expected as permanent.
The material is coloured earthenware, and there have many more plates, bowls, pots, and many more signs, traces and fingerprints made that there ever will be for exhibition or use. It is only the 'fresh' and those with the most immediate qualities, that gives meaning sharing with others. Really many turned out to be hopelessly bad, or good the wrong way.
It has sometimes been funny to make the things. It has also been rather 'weird' – And maybe 'mind blowing'. It has probably really come out of an eternal longing for the things playful lightness.”
Ole Jensen (b. 1958). Ceramicist and designer. Educated at the Arts&Crafts Design School - Kolding 1980-1985 and the Royal Danish Art Academy, Copenhagen 1985-1989.
Ole Jensen preferably work both with design made by hand and industrial design. Yellow teapots, hand-thrown earthenware plates, soft dish-washing buckets, bath tubs, hot-water bottles, brooms and dust pans, super-white lamps, and rain coats for the 'Hærvejen'. In larger public he is known for his design in cooperation with Royal Copenhagen, Muuto, Normann Copenhagen and Louis Poulsen... etc.; but he still turns his eyes towards the inspiration that springs from the work by hand, the clay and ceramics.
Ole Jensen’s works are represented at the Designmuseum Danmark, Ny Carlsberg Fondet, Statens Kunstfond, Victoria and Albert Museum (London), Röhsska Museet (Gøteborg).. and many private collections. He has received the Kay Bojesens Mindelegat, Thorvald Bindesbøll Medaljen, Torsten and Wanja Söderberg’s Price (Sweden)... www.olejensendesign.com
Louise Birch: ”I remember from my childhood, how I could get lost for hours in miniature worlds, that I either drew on paper or built with a blend of toys and every day objects. The everyday things changed meaning when they changed scale in this miniature world, and for example an ice-cube bag filled with water, became the Barbie's or trolls water-bed in my 80-ties childhood-land.
The fascination of miniature worlds has followed me into my grown-up life. It is like looking in through a window to another dimension, where the logic is another and where it appeals to imagination and intuition.
When I work, I have great trust that intuition will show me the way, and at the same time help keep things open for the viewer. This especially feels relevant for this exhibition: Form and Imagination.
The figures are in earthenware without decoration or glaze. That the figures came out 'naked', I had not seen coming; but it is one of those sort of unpredictable things, that happen, and that seems right to follow, even though I had thought of it differently. And the figures seem to be relaxed about it.... One meditating, one yawning, some dancing, others playing up... They are in their own world, where we can peek in and let imagination run of with us...”
In 2007, Louise Birch début exhibition was at the Danish Biennial for Design and Crafts (this year co-curated by Ole Jensen). She graduated from the Danish Design School - Bornholm in 2008. She participated in the large ceramic exhibition 'Across' at Ny Tap, Carlsberg 2010 and the renowned juried Danish exhibitions: The Danish Biennial for Design and Crafts, Koldinghus 2011, The Spring Exhibition Charlottenborg 2009 and The Designmuseum Danmark...
Louise Birch is a member of the arts collective 'Inhabitants', who were praised by the Danish television program 'Smagsdommerne' for their exhibition 'Orders' at the gallery Copenhagen Ceramics 2012.
Louise Birch lives and works in Copenhagen. www.louisebirch.com