MANUAL DESIGN - Ole Jensen Nov-Dec 2020
Ole Jensen, designer and ceramist DK
EXHIBITION 19 November - 23 December 2020
Manual Design & Design Manual.. stoneware pieces & thoughts by Ole Jensen.
A humorous and understated, - but also deeply serious approach to archetypes, use function and things for use on the table and in the kitchen.
Designer and ceramist Ole Jensen shows and describes the individual things and processes with a nice and fun approach in thought and action to what lies in creating a new design .. - or just making a utility item we all know, but otherwise not analyses further.
Things get their own story, and the work of the hand helps to give it a very special expression and warmth.
All pieces are made by hand in stoneware with and without glaze depending on intuition, thought and idea.
OLE JENSEN - About Manual Design and Design Manual
With the desire to once again maintain the function and action, and the ambition to make the project as free and open as possible, I set up work themes such as: Free Design? Wild Functional? Absolutely handmade applied art? Manual Design?
It made for a good work ethic and surprising and straightforward expressions.
This could be: quickly modelling a raised dish that clearly shows to be set up.
Or quickly modelling a flower water jug that clearly shows its speciality.
Or quickly modelling a sieve that clearly shows to be just a sieve.
Regardless of whether things are beautiful or ugly, straight or crooked, but only about each thing expressing its own function in an easy and free way.
There are almost no limits to what functionalities can be attacked that way.
And this is how the initial experiment went.
Elitist or popular? Here it is almost the same.
Although the whole thing is very handmade, the project has developed into a rare experiment in basic design, which contains the seeds for a compressed design manual.
The manual should describe how things are thought and made. Which functions have been particularly important to express in the individual pieces.
Also what previous objects and works have arisen in the mind along the way and thus become conscious sources of inspiration.
My idea with a text and image pamphlet should initially be seen as an accompanying work for all the handmade things.
Well also, as an artistic and intellectual handover out into manual form and design. Maybe making an analogue pamphlet on paper sounds a bit anachronistic?
It may also well be in this context!
OLE JENSEN – Selected texts from the catalogue DESIGN MANUAL
Project and catalogue are funded by the Danmarks Nationalbank's Anniversary Foundation and the Danish Art Foundation's Project funding of Crafts and Design.
A CUP. Pinched with a rather thin body with a waist that turns it into a cup with a grip for the hand. Absolutely nothing special. Still, with its lightness and celadon-like glaze – and my explanations – it may just be elevated from pure primitivity to a (high) culture context. Perhaps?
A LARGE PLATE. A clay slab shaped as a plate. A stick was used to carve long, shallow lines in the surface, intended to add an understated hint of culture. Inspiration from Japanese temple gardens and Royal Copenhagen porcelain, although the result does not rise to either level. The intention was good!
A SALAD BOWL. Pinched a thin and monotonous form to give the bowl a light character. It came out with a surprising – but apt – crisp and crinkled character. Almost like a crinkled lettuce leaf. Here in an early version that deserves a place in the manual.
A SMALL JUG. It was difficult to make jugs with a ‘free’ and light expression. Here is a tiny one, where body and spout are almost one. and where everything is simple and straightforward. I like the way it turned out with the thin, transparent glaze. Maybe you have to have a soft spot for jugs to think this is something?
A DISH. A lump of clay is rolled out and takes on a fairly random form. The edge is raised up and lightly shaped, so the object becomes a serving dish. Almost too simple. Because the matt glaze manages to surprise and bring an independent, uncontrolled sense of life to an object, the dish – just barely – makes it into the manual.
A LARGE OVEN DISH. Aiming for an expression of heat. Handling the clay as if it were heavy, room-temperature meat. During the process, I think of Peter Voulkos and Gareth Mason, or perhaps Danish Jørgen Hansen, and their fierce and intense treatment of the clay. Probably I always harboured dreams of being equally wild, becoming one with the clay. I don’t have it in me. Still, the result is a fairly ‘hot’ and coarse oven dish, which may even prove functional.
A WATERING CAN. An early and fairly naive-looking form, which is underscored by the matt, milky glaze. So much so that the piece appears unrefined and down to earth. Which is in fact rather apt for its function as a watering can.
A CITRUS SQUEEZER. Shaped almost like a traditional glass lemon squeezer. First, I pinched the basic form with a thick body, then I cut it to achieve the final form. Not the easiest process, but the result is crisp and tart. Quite appropriate for a citrus squeezer.
A COLANDER (kitchen sieve). Made the body fairly thin, knowing it had to be ‘leaky’, with holes. In the soft clay, I find that I can prick a hole and then smooth it by pressing from both sides with a finger. That makes the holes soft and ‘friendly’. Finally, I add a pair of quickly shaped functional grips, mainly inspired by typical industrially produced colanders, although the overall look is anything but industrial. This was the first colander I made. It has a thin glaze and a fairly raw expression. Almost like a bog find.
A VASE. Aiming to pinch an object that shows that it has a reservoir for water, is able to hold flowers and is able to stand without tipping. And, ideally, not much more than that. The result is a very naive-looking form. The glossy and imperfect glaze gives the object an almost ‘amateurish’ expression. But because it largely still expresses its underlying intention, it has been included in the manual.
A RAISED DISH. Fairly quickly and expressively pinched and glazed. As you can see. Maybe with an air of something natural? Something grown? That is likely what I had in mind. A sort of wild and ‘unstudied’ Skønvirke or Art Nouveau expression.
SELECTED PREVIOUS EXHIBITIONS AND PIECES - OLE JENSEN
Top pitchers by Niels Lauesen and bottom series by Ole Jensen
- sold to the New Carlsberg Foundation.
← Pitcher - Primal Pottery 2015
Hand thrown earthenware, stained glaze
← Tea pot - 2017
Modelled earthenware, mat grey glaze
International exhibition competition
"To make a thing that highlights and elevates the primary character of the cup, - to accommodate, in a simple and clear manner. The new cups are made with simple modelling. There is no particular equilibrium technique. Modelling technology allows for reinforcing and maintaining the overall idea without being seduced by a refined technique. The cups maintain the character of the idea and sketch in their final expression. Perhaps it is special that they are so simple and straightforward, - yes, almost primitive in their expression. Three thin legs raise the cup's cheek.
Red clay, mat high-fired glaze, white, yellow, transparent."
”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..”
BIOGRAPHY - OLE JENSEN
Born in 1958
Ceramist and designer.
Lives and works in Copenhagen
Design School Kolding 1981-85; The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen 1985-89
EXHIBITIONS AND PROJECTS
Earthenware, Exhibitionroom for New Ceramics, Copenhagen 2000 (solo); Crafts, Gallery Nørby, Copenhagen 2003 (solo); Danish Design Project, MoMA, New York 2004; Retrospective exhibition, Röhsska Museum, Gothenburg 2006 (solo); Mindcraft 08, Milan 2008; European Design Since 1985, - Shaping the New Century, Indianapolis Museum of Art 2009; Mindcraft 09, Milan 2009; It’s a Small World, Danish Design Center, Copenhagen 2009; The Hærvej Project, by the Danish Art Foundation 2010; Form & Imagination, (with Louise Birch), Ann Linnemann Studio Gallery, Copenhagen 2012; The Opening (with Claydies), Copenhagen Ceramics Gallery, Copenhagen; Mindcraft 15, Milan, 2015, Mindcraft16, Milan, 2016, Sunshine, Køppe Contemporary Objects, Copenhagen, 2018; Biennalen for Kunsthåndværk og Design, Nordatlantens Brygge, Copenhagen, 2019; Ceramic Momentum, CLAY, Museum og Ceramic Art, Middelfart, Denmark, 2019
GRANTS AND AWARDS
Design Prize of The Design Foundation 1996; Memorial Grant of silversmith Kay Bojesen 1997; Thorvald Bindesbøll Medal of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts 2004; Torsten and Wanja Söderberg’s Prize, Sweden 2006; The Danish Arts Foundation life-long Honoray Grant 2009; Danmarks Nationalbanks Jubilæumsfonds Honorary Grant 2012
The Danish Arts Foundation; Designmuseum Denmark, Copenhagen; New Carlsberg Foundation, Copenhagen; Museum Trapholt, Kolding; Victoria & Albert Museum, London; Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Cologne; Röhsska Museum, Gothenburg, Sweden; Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indiana; Habitare Collection, Design Museum, Helsinki
Royal Copenhagen; Louis Poulsen; Normann Copenhagen; Muuto; Innometsä