|By Ole Jensen 2011. In connection with the exhibition TableSpace,
Fosdick-Nelson Gallery, New York State College of Ceramics
at Alfred University, New York
|Sunshine — Unique Utilitarian Objects
By Ole Jensen, 2018
By Ole Jensen, 2011
Form and Imagination
By Ole Jensen, 2012
The Hærvej Project
By Maria Desirée Holm-Jacobsen, 2010
Ole Extraordinarily Ordinary
By Pernille Stockmarr, Design
By Ole Jensen, 2003
Things do not appear from nowhere
By Ole Jensen, 2000
By Ole Jensen, 1996
Do we need new things?
By Ole Jensen, 1996
Water, jug and art
By Ole Jensen, 1994
Let enthusiasm reign
By Ole Jensen, 1992
Looked at objectively, clay is soft earth that on drying assumes a solid form. If sufficiently heated, it acquires a further quality – it becomes strong and can be used. That’s something I like. Although I have made things over the years in many other materials, clay nevertheless remains my point of departure. It is inexpensive, can easily be formed as desired, and has an almost universal history to which it can be held up.
Right now, I am busy working on new implements: bowls, pots and containers for cooking and general housekeeping. For what must be the umpteenth time! If one thinks too long, the thought can easily occur to one that the world isn’t exactly yearning for a new bowl. There are plenty of really good ones already. But in the actual moment – when one is sitting at the wheel shaping the clay and subsequently trying to make a good grip and a good spout that can pour – it is as if one forgets all one’s reservations and imagines that precisely this bowl can make a difference. For the better. One could say that in the process the act of gripping, stirring and pouring expands into not only having a practical but also an aesthetic dimension. That an article for everyday use acquires an aesthetic dimension is not a question of its being beautiful or ugly. It is just an expression of whether the function and the act also become something perceived by all the senses. Something one wishes to do. Something attractive. There are a great many ceramists who think that busying oneself with function and articles for everyday use is boring and 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 always a question of finding something new. It can also be a lot of fun to rediscover something forgotten.
My practice over the years has taken place in an alternation between inward-looking work in my own workshop and more outward-looking cooperation with potential producers (factories). Sometimes this collaboration works well, at other times less well. When it works well, one can imagine oneself far better than one actually is. That is one of the advantages. Conversely, if things go badly, one can imagine oneself far worse than one really is. Cooperation contains both chances and risks. As a 'semi-old' ceramist with considerable gaps in understanding the art of dynamics and the digital world, there are of course limits to the complexity of assignments taken on. For me, everything takes place on a 1:1 scale and the process is a lengthy one. And that imposes limitations. But the characteristics of clay seem nevertheless to be relatively limitless and universal, regardless of whether the clay is worked by hand or cast at a factory. Clay is almost the ultimate material for mediation via form. The Danish concept formsprog [= form language], or artistic idiom, is virtually contained in the clay itself.
My contribution to TableSpace is a selection of ceramic articles for everyday use made over a period of years in various materials and contexts. Some were made as hand-made unique items in my own workshop, others as limited editions and yet others as industrial design. For me, all this coheres and the articles have been brought together as one complex composition – a family made up of what seems at first glance to be modest pottery, chalk-white porcelain, brown stoneware and brightly coloured faience. The space of the table – TableSpace – is the place where calories are consumed – both those that are necessary and those that makes life worth living. A framework for cultural exchange.