søndag den 24. november 2013

Fra "The Opening" med Claydies og Ole Jensen, torsdag den 21. november 2013

 Udstillingen åbnes af professor Anne Currier, Chair
of Division of Ceramic Art, School of Art and Design,
Alfred University, New York State
 Vandskåle af Claydies
 Karen Kjældgård-Larsen
 Tine Broksø
Ole Jensen
 På "The Opening" tages værkerne i brug
Spiritusflasker af Ole Jensen
   Isbowle af Ole Jensen
Vinglas af Claydies
Ølkrus og sjusglas af Claydies
   Anne Currier og Claydies


One of my guilty pleasures is reading crime novels - detective stories. What are the clues? When and where are they discovered? How are they considered? How does the detective solve the crime?

There is a paragraph that I want to share with you from Points and Lines, a crime novel written in 1957 by one of Japan's foremost mystery writers, Seicho Matsumoto: "Sometimes a preconceived opinion will make us overlook the obvious. This is a frightening thing. We call it common sense but it will often leave us with a blind spot. Even if something appears to be obvious, one should investigate, objectively, to make absolutely sure."

In his statement for the TableSpace catalog, which accompanied the 2011 exhibition with the same title, Ole Jensen offered the following observation: “There are a great many ceramists who think that busying oneself with function and articles for everyday use is boring - that it gets in the way of artistic ambitions. In that case, of course, one ought to be doing something else instead. But that's not the way I feel about it. It is not a question of finding something new. It can also be a lot of fun to rediscover something forgotten."

For me, the overlapping threads that draw these observations together also untangle how the mind works: the "real story" is the process of forming associations - finding clues and paying attention to details. This is how the good detective / designer / artist is able to discover and create tangential and parallel lines, with seemingly disconnected points.

To offer a brief chronological background that connects the “points and lines” between ceramics at Alfred with Ole Jensen and the Claydies: I've already mentioned TableSpace. This was an exhibition curated in 2011 by Linda Sikora and Albion Stafford for the Fosdick-Nelson Gallery at Alfred University. Linda is a colleague and professor in the Division of Ceramic Art at the School of Art and Design. She is also a studio potter. Linda invited Ole to exhibit his work as one of fourteen ceramic potters from six countries: Canada, Denmark, Germany, Japan and United States.

Andrea Gill, another colleague and professor in the Division of Ceramic Art, organized a studio workshop, lecture and gallery talk that occurred simultaneously with the TableSpace exhibition. For this event, Andrea invited Ole and he agreed to participate. This was Ole's first visit to Alfred.

Last spring 2013, the faculty of the Division of Ceramic Art once again invited Ole to Alfred for an eight-week residency in September and October - this time as a Randall International Chair. As the current division head for the Ceramics Division, this is when I became directly involved. It was in the course of our correspondence that Ole mentioned his collaboration with the Claydies. Would Alfred - the Ceramics Division - be interested in inviting Karen and Tine to Alfred for a few days as visiting artists? So I did a quick Google search, checked the budget and conferred with my colleagues. The answer: a resounding, absolutely, yes. So for three days in October we enjoyed a workshop, lecture and visit with the Claydies.

During the eight weeks at Alfred, Ole made his ceramic pieces that are now in the gallery. I think it was quite a big risk for him to leave the comforts of his studio to make his work in the unfamiliar studio environment at Alfred. And a risk for the Claydies as well. The convenience of personal and immediate exchange was not an option. It is a bit tempting to speculate if the outcome would have been different - like an ending to a mystery novel - had all collaborators stayed home.

Today - The Opening  - brings the long-distance conversation between Ole Jensen and the Claydies to its performative moments - the occasion for interaction with you who are here tonight. The Opening celebrates our desires to socialize and share the pleasures of one another's company, to eat and drink, to touch ceramic objects, and to be engaged with our sense of wonder and play. After this evening, the gallery and the objects installed will, to some degree, constitute the scene of the crime. Everyone will have collaborated.

Thank you for coming - and I personally want to extend special thanks to Ole Jensen, the Claydies and Copenhagen Ceramics for inviting me to participate.

Anne Currier
November 21, 2013

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