LEGENDARY - Niels Lauesen Jun-Aug 2018
LEGENDARY - Niels Lauesen ..and previous students
Ole Jensen, Marianne Nielsen, Turi Heisselberg Pedersen, Søren Thygesen.
Exhibition 4 June – 18 August 2018 ..July only open by appointment
NIELS LAUESEN art pieces, models & sketches, - a playful legend.
Niels Lauesen was a great inspirational, omniscient teacher and skilled ceramist.
This exhibition presents for the first time a large retrospective of Niels' works, models and sketchbooks.
Niels Lauesen had a playful side, which in the midst of all seriousness added a personal depth to his work. He was always progressive, but was in his time not as well known for his art work, which were all too seldom exhibited, - as he was known for his wise words and loved by his many students and collaborators.
His pieces are exhibited together with former students, now internationally renowned ceramic artists, who in various ways relate to their teacher.
The pieces talk about the artist and the time in which they were created, but also show, in the context of his former students' works, the influence Niels has had on his contemporary and hereafter.
- Where does inspiration come from?
- What traces do we follow from a teacher to becoming a master our self?
The exhibition's theme is emphasised by the works of Niels' former students at the Kolding Design School, who are well under way with their careers, known in Denmark and internationally for their personal expression. They display their experiences and inspiration from this important meeting, with special thanks to their talented teacher and inspirational artist.
In some parts the traces are clear and others more hidden; but the exhibition gives the viewer insight into a fine and important lesson about the creative art's playful origin and the importance of passing on experiences.
Niels Lauesen (1941-2011) was educated at the Arts and Crafts School in Copenhagen (now KADK) and continued at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. For a number of years, in addition to his own ceramic work, he taught at the Arts&Crafts School/School of Applied Arts in Copenhagen and since the 80's at the Kolding Arts and Crafts School (now Kolding Design School).
Niels Lauesen was an engaged promoter and teacher, also involved in the CLAY Ceramics Museum's Exhibition Committee, Adviser to the Guldagergaard Ceramic Research Center and working for the Lejre Culture Center.
Exhibitions: Trapholt Art Museum, Vejen Art Museum, Gallery Nørby, Exhibition Space for New Ceramics in Copenhagen. Danish Arts Foundation Awards etc.
Literature: About Wegerknapf's life and life - after C.J. Wiecks, in collaboration with Peter Hentze (1943-2017).
OTHER EXHIBITORS – previous students, Kolding Arts, Crafts and Design School.
(Photo - Top: Niels Lauesen - Bottom: Ole Jensen)
NIELS LAUESEN - by Ole Jensen
Niels's ceramics are one long study of form. Whether it was hand-thrown animals, geometric principles or tradition-bound functional pieces, Niels's works are characterized by research.
I think, Niels had trouble with glazing. It becomes too complete and final. Especially the raw non-glazed things appear as pure and unspoiled form.
The matte surfaces catch the light gently and the things appear as universal objects in the borderland between nature, foreign beings and human-made. Certainly made without any other intentions than to become wise on form. And this is precisely why he was an ideal teacher in form, as a language and linguistic formulation of form.
When I sit working with clay, and especially when a surprisingly clear expression occurs in the process, - a marked spout, a voluminous edge or simply attention to a phenomenon, then Niels very often still comes past. We get an enthusiastic talk about how amazing it is that something so simple can form such an expression and about the infinite possibilities of creating conciseness. We talk about rhythm, transitions and musicality. If I turn my thoughts into questioning, if it is a fashionable good style and might it be sold, then Niels is away again! This is not his area!
Niels has never talked about pure function and practical application. But always about form and expression. And I am grateful for that.
So, it all - even making functional things - has become much more fun.
(Photo by Ole Akhøj)
OLE JENSEN - born 1958, ceramist and designer. Graduated at the Design School Kolding, 1981-85 and the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen, 1985-89. Exhibitions include: Pottery Exhibition for New Ceramics, 2000; Functional Ware, Gallery Nørby, 2003; Röhsska Museum, Gothenburg, 2006; Mindcraft 2008 and 2009, Milan; Form and Fantasy (with Louise Birch), Ann Linnemann Gallery, 2012; The Opening (with Claydies), Copenhagen Ceramics Gallery, 2012; Mindcraft 2015 and 2016, Milan. Sunshine, Køppe Contemporay Objects, 2018. Has received: Thorvald Bindesbøll Medaljen, 2004; Torsten and Wanja Söderbergs Award, 2006; Danish Arts Foundation Lifelong Honorary Award, 2009; Danmarks Nationalbank's Anniversary Foundation Honorary Award, 2012. Represented in particular: Design Museum Denmark; New Carlsberg Foundation; Victoria & Albert Museum, London; Röhsska Museum, Gothenburg; Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indiana. Design for: Royal Copenhagen, Louis Poulsen, Normann Copenhagen and Muuto.
NIELS LAUESEN - by Marianne Nielsen
For "Niels' exhibition" I have decided to partake with two earlier series of works: "Ceramic Categories" and "Plates". Both series measure objects without being.
My interest is not the function of use, but a fascination with the importance of the convention in our understanding of objects.
From Niels, I learned that you should not be afraid of the banal. All values we hold on items are not absolute and that discussion takes me up in my work. Especially to emphasize the strength of the modest everyday objects as the plate with its decoration.
MARIANNE NIELSEN - Born 1971. Graduated from the Kolding School of Design 1999. EXHIBITIONS "Planted" m. Lotte Agger, Galerie Pi, Copenhagen 2018. "Flowers Vases" solo, Ann Linnemann Gallery 2017. "Large formats - clever hands," Tommerup Ceramic Workshop 30 anniversary exhibition cLAY Ceramics Museum 2017. "Modelled, glazed stoneware", Bagsvaerd Church 2017. "Danish Contemporary" Lacoste Gallery, Concord, USA 2016. "homeliness", exhibition in private homes, Copenhagen 2015. "Copenhagen Ceramics Invites" Galleria Salvatore Lanteri, Milan, Italy 2016. "Lunch of the Green", Solo, Shop for Table Cover, Copenhagen 2014. Mindcraft 2014, Milan. "All Elite Folklore" w. Anne Tophøj, Copenhagen Ceramics, Copenhagen 2012. Received the Danish Arts Foundation's three-year work grant in 2012.
NIELS LAUESEN - by Søren Thygesen
Niels and Tom Schroeder came one evening into the plaster room. They were very busy with a formative phenomenon they had discussed. They talked about physics and rotation, and a basin should be made of thin-flowing plaster, which would be forced through the centrifuge on the plasterboard to form perfect paraboloids. An eye opener for me and very inspiring to see teachers so absorbed by form examination.
"Physics and methodology is interesting, but you can also just make them by hand," said Niels with a smile.
Niels was an excellent teacher who guided his students to acknowledgement and continued curiosity. He spoke about form like in music of pure tones and corresponding lines.
Niels got his own small studio on Agtrupvej, and I remember, he was engaged in a bowl form, which referred to the growth principles of seashells.
Niels had a sketchbook filled with ceramic ideas, and he said he lived well in imagining the finished works. However, he had a production, and what I've seen is full of music and exciting line progress. I am fortunate to have one of his pitchers, and it is a display of hand throwing and composition. A rotation animal kicking ..
SØREN THYGESEN - Born 1961. Educated at Kolding Design School 1987. Own studio since 1987. Affiliated Kähler Ceramics, 1993-2006 Næstved, Kähler Design from 2007 Tommerup Ceramic Workshop from 2002. EXHIBITIONS "Wise hands - Large Formats" CLAY Ceramics Museum 2017 18th Biennale for Crafts and Design 2017,15. Ann Linnemann Gallery 2013. Morsø Art Society 2009. Charlottenborg Spring Exhibition 2008,05,04,03. The Autumn Exhibition of the Artists Award 2006.05. Gallery Nørby 2005. "Funen Art" SAK Svendborg 2004. Danish Ceramics trienale, Trapholt 1994. GRANTS Danish Arts Foundation's Scholarship 2018,16,01,00. Ole and Yelva Nimbs Fund 2004. Ole Haslund Artist Award 1989. Krøyers Award 1987. AWARDS Biennale for Craft and Design in 2015, the Danish Keramiktrienale 1994, the Danish Arts Foundation 1993.
NIELS LAUESEN - by Turi Heisselberg Pedersen
In addition to being highly absorbed by exploration, yes, near fundamental research in form and geometry, Niels Lauesen was a true reservoir of practical knowledge of techniques, specialist knowledge and smart tricks within all branches of the subject. Perhaps because he, through the years as a teacher, was keenly interested in the students' projects and thoughts and unreservedly shared his own experience.
For Niels there were no reservations or concerns whether a technique or phrase was "in" or "out". It was about what shapes and ideas a technique could generate. It was an added value of beauty for him if he could solve a form problem particularly well through an absolute use of a particular technique. You will see, for example, a remarkable example in Niels' hand-thrown vessels, where the handles are made from bowl-forms.
Niels Lauesen was an incredibly gifted, musical and open minded teacher, researcher and potter who has influenced me both in my ceramic practice and as a teacher. He will always be part of my inner ceramic compass.
TURI HEISSELBERG PEDERSEN - Born 1965. Educated at Kolding School of Design, Denmark 1986-90. Lives and works in Copenhagen. She has been lecturing at Kolding School of Design, 1994 – 2007. Co-founder of Exhibition Room for New Ceramics, Copenhagen 1996-2000. Turi Heisselberg Pedersen is represented in museums and private collections worldwide: Musée National de la Ceramique Sevrè, Paris, France; Le Musée Magnelli, Musée de la Ceramique, Vallauris, France; Designmuseum Denmark, Copenhagen, Clay International Ceramic Museum, Denmark, Schloss Gottorf, Schlesvig-Holsteinisches Landesmuseum, Germany; Statens Kunstfond; Annie and Otto Johs. Detlefs’ Foundation, Denmark. Turi has received Bayerischer Stattspreis, gold medal, Munich 2016, Annie & Otto Johs. Detlefs, Ceramic Price, travelling grant 2016, Ole Haslunds Artists Grant, and in 2010 Le prix dans la section ’contenant’, XXIst International Biennal of Vallauris (BiCC) France. Turi Heisselberg Pedersen has exhibited solo and in groups in museums and galleries: Puls- Contemporary Ceramics ; brussels, Tresor Contemporary Crafts and Design, Basel with Puls Contemporary Ceramics, Galerie Maria Lund, Paris, J. Lohmann Gallery, New York (Collective Design and The Salon Art+Design) Mouvement Modernes, Paris, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg, Designmuseum Denmark, Copenhagen, Clay Museum for International Ceramics, Middelfart, Denmark. Galleri Kaolin, Stockholm, Galleri Nørby, Chp. Gallerie Pierre, Paris, France. Biennale internationale de ceramique Chateauroux, France, International Biennale of Vallauris, Fr., American Craft Museum in New York, Mingei International Museum, Fitchburg Art Museum, Crocker Art Museum, Racine Art Museum, U.S.A. Röhsska Museum, Göteborg, Sweden and Keramion, Frechen, Germany.
THE ENCHANTING PARABOLOID - Helle Hove Interviews Niels Lauesen
CeramicsTECHNICAL No. 28, 2009
Ceramist Helle Hove met her former teacher at the Designskolen Kolding, ceramist Niels Lauesen, in his apartment-cum-studio in Copenhagen for a conversation about one of his great passions.
He can say ‘hyperbolic paraboloid’ so it sounds like an old friend and has no qualms about calling the shape of a venerable old bowl ‘frivolous’ if it helps the listener get the point.
Lauesen has taught for more than thirty years, and his fervour about form has been important to a whole generation of Danish ceramists. Examples from geometry, music and animal anatomy come tumbling out as Lauesen shows you around in the studio.
Thoughts and theories are typically rounded off with an amiable ‘…Isn’t that your experience too?’, revealing his way of approaching the students. All around modelled grasshoppers and other ingenious animals pop up. On the shelves of the studio stand thrown and modelled vases, jugs and bowls. These are the things that give us pause, for the talk is about lines and curves.
You can draw lines on paper, but they’re there too in the contours of all forms – furniture, cars, houses and vases. It’s the quality of these lines that interests Lauesen.
“With the carafes on the shelf there I’ve abandoned myself to the flow of the lines,” says Lauesen. “I’ve concentrated on the form, on getting the contour to curve in and out in a good way. It may seem old-fashioned because of the nature of the curves – the cute curvaceousness that’s been a no-no for many years. But in my view, for a long time now there has been too much use of the circle segment and the straight line in the contours of modern design. Industrial production has led to far too many false curves.”
What do you understand by a false curve?
“The cafeteria tray with its straight sides and rounded corners is a good example of a false curve. It pretends to be an unbroken progression, but in reality it’s composed of straight lines and circle segments, like a blunted rectangle. If it had been a food additive it would long ago have been banned as visual pollution. As the opposite of that we have the Super Ellipse, whose curves change gradually in a fluid, uninterrupted progression.”
For Lauesen it’s very important to distinguish between the two types of curves. He has difficulty concealing his urge to tell us all to polish our spectacles and look better at the things around us.
THE HIDDEN SPIRAL
He himself is clearly a ceramist who wants to understand. So at present his wheel is occupied by a strange steel-wire frame. It’s the starting-point for his photo experiments: lines, spirals and circles in white steel wire are set up in succession on the wheel – not as a vertical profile, but borne up by fine steel wires so they tilt and twine in three dimensions. With the camera on a long exposure Lauesen can turn his ‘three-dimensional line’ around so that the finished photo gives off the sense of a spatial form.
It all came from the work with one of the carafes.
“It gave me an ‘Aha!’ experience,” says Lauesen. “I discovered that I was far too hooked on the idea of the form of the vase as a silhouette. When I began to see its principle three-dimensionally instead, I could suddenly see that it isn’t always the profile that’s the key to the form. In the case of the carafe it was a quite simple bent spiral that lay there as the basic principle of the form. The profile was a sophisticated sequence of lines that curved both out and in, but the way I built up the carafe with my hand was in reality a spiral motion that was very simple.”
Since then Lauesen has been hunting intensively for that kind of geometrical ‘key’; for principles that support the difficult work of avoiding the ‘false’ curves. He describes how he stood in the dark photographing his steel wire figures and suddenly saw that a circle – a quite ordinary circle – can draw curved lines that look like bowls as long as it is tipped and displaced before it is rotated.
THE POTENTIAL OF THE COMPUTER
“I got quite cross with myself that I wasn’t familiar with that phenomenon,” exclaims Lauesen. “But there are lots of things you need to have physically in front of you before you really understand them.”
“We often think two-dimensionally, but we sense three-dimensionally,” explains Lauesen. “And in reality that’s an argument for modelling! When you model, your hands themselves discover movements that dance better with the form than the vertical profile.”
“I work with a colleague to get some of my experiments visualized digitally. The computer is really a fantastic tool. But it surprises me that the schools can have such great, indeed almost naïve, faith that the computer can make the direct contact of the hands with the materials superfluous.”
Aren’t the computer programs reaching an acceptable standard?
“On the computer you’ll typically define two-dimensional profiles, then rotate or pull them. Just the way you think and the way the industry’s old modelling tools function. A bit primitive in terms of form. When you model, though, the hand can work along three-dimensional lines that are clumsy for the mind, but profoundly logical in form – I’m not talking about emotions but about geometrical principles that are simply more advanced.”
That is why Niels Lauesen has great expectations of 3D scanning. With a 3D scanner you can photograph your hand-modelled form, transfer it to the computer, work on it and send it to production.
“It’ll give us fantastic freedom,” he tells me. “We can skip a whole stage that has traditionally had great limitations. Suddenly we can get the rich, sophisticated forms and lines of craftsmanship, the original design of the hand, into industrial production.”
HELLE HOVE (Helle Hove (b.1970) is a Danish ceramist. She works with large scale site specific projects and is especially interested in light/shadow and the use of patterns and ornamental structures.
Grateful thanks to The Danish Art Foundation for project funding in 2018.
Also a warm thanks to Tine Lauesen for lending pieces to the exhibition.
NECROLOGY - by Helle Hove, Bente Skjøttgaard and Ole Jensen
Ceramics Niels Lauesen is dead, but for many Danish ceramics he will continue to be the inner conversation partner when things are to be given form.
Niels Lauesen was educated at the Arts and Crafts School (now Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Design) with study leader Richard Kjærgaard, and at the same time as other significant ceramic designers, such as Snorre Stephensen, Erik Magnussen and Ursula Munch-Petersen. Niels subsequently continued his studies at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Professor Helge Bertram, and quickly got on the educational career first at the School of Applied Arts, which changed its name to the School of Functional Arts and later at the Design School in Kolding (now Kolding School of Design).
The teaching at Kolding started in the early 80's with course work together with visual artist Peter Hentze. Later Niels became a permanent teacher at the ceramics department in Kolding, where his "Socratic" form of education flourished. His enthusiastic presence, the continuous conversation - always with humour and warmth, but also with a base of strong views on form, a universal wonder and passion to reach the core of the formal issues - made an imprint on entire generations of young ceramists.
In almost provocative manner, Niels managed with courses such as 'Thrown animals', 'Modelled Flowers', 'Teapots' and 'Rosettes' to open the eyes to the universal forms that are always available. He had a pedagogic talent to give encouragement and find bright spots in even the most unwelcome beginners work by showing what important matters were attached. The foundation for his thinking lay in the geometry and nature's own design, but also the music and the hand's grip on the clay were sources of insight. If one thing came to look old-fashioned, saleable or modern did not interest Niels much. He at least avoided being reluctant to relate to it and considered it almost as poor and restrictive measurements in relation to discussing the real potential of the form.
Niels was in many ways a modest and reluctant person. If you google him, it does not draw a fair picture of his significant efforts for the ceramics and design culture in Denmark. An effort that was based on an intellectual surplus to put nuanced words to form considerations - all in all, in confidence that concrete form ultimately may be a language in itself.