5th of October 2013
Fascination of function
I am interested in function versus art. The fact, that as soon as something have a functional value, it loses some of the artistic value. But before I get around to that, I will define why function is important to me.
We have stored supplies in jars fired in a bonfire, prepared food in the potter's dishes and been drinking tea in refined porcelain cups. Ceramics has been made in all cultures. In Denmark, the oldest pottery dates more than 6000 years back. It is an important part of our cultural history, but also an important part of our daily lives. Very early objects were made, that fulfilled more than a purely functional purpose.
Clay is a strong material. It gives the person who is holding it many opportunities for manipulation. But it is also a strong material, because it carries a long history within it. One can be inspired by history and oppose it, but it is impossible to create work that does not relate to history. History is interesting because it includes everyday life, culture, life & death, function, religion, artistic expression, technique and craftsmanship. Contemporary ceramics is interesting when it is placed in relation or opposition to history.
In all the time I've made ceramics, I have been inspired by function. Because it has a strong historic dimension, but also because of the fact, that my work is used in everyday life, that people relate through senses and the handling of it. The daily joy of the material and shape and the bodily relation, that is important to me.I have taken this very seriously. When you enter into people's everyday lives, it is your duty to do things properly. To me, there are just as many aesthetic considerations in a cup as in a sculpture.
Where I stand now, I've discovered that when I make a small production of things, they eventually lose something. The first many times I reproduce, the work gets better, the expression more precise. But at some point it is tipping over and the workmanship takes up more space than the artistic considerations I may have had. The work loses its spirit.
I make crafts. To me, that means that I make ceramics where neither workmanship nor the artistic idea can stand alone. In recent years, my artistic expression has become stronger and as that has happened, I see the artistic lack in some of the work I've made. The level of workmanship and the artistic idea is not the same. It is this balance I work with at the moment. My functional work's artistic level has become stronger. The question is whether I can continue to strengthen the artistic side, without losing functional side?
This is part of "Two months train of thought". See the previous post here and the next here