Conclusion Research Lab

During my education in Konstfack, 1994-1998 this urge to extend the uses of clay in search for new expressions was important to me in my work. Since then though I have quite much abandoned these exploring methods in favor of concepts and pieces that I have consequently reproduced from the origin of a drawing or a sketch. So initially this year I wanted to get rid of concepts and ideas and started with the ancient origin of all ceramics, that is the container - the pot. This worked for me as an excuse to immediately grab the material, produce without thinking, watch closely what happens during the process and also document whenever I saw something interesting happen. I used hand building techniques, tried different methods of applying the coils, smoothed them out, or did not, or smoothed the outside and inside in a different order. Sometimes I stopped in the middle of process; like once when I intended to make a large pot, I found it was so beautiful when I've made the bottom, so I left it being a plate instead.

Another intention with my project was to explore how far I could close up against the “ugly” and my reference point was the sculpture of a boot I’ve made many years ago and which I found ugly and badly made. But I also saw a strong sculptural expression in it which I wanted to understand. So my first intention with making these pots was the opposite, that is to produce them in a matter I thought was understanded as beautiful by others, and that was because of two reasons. The first one was that by making a beautiful pot you may come to an understanding of what makes an ugly one. And the second reason was that by making beautiful pots I can show that I have the skill to do it, which may underline the fact that the ugly ones are intended to be ugly and by making these plain, relatively beautiful and skilled pots they can set a reference in relation to the crazier ones that were yet to come.

And they came because the next step was, still with a starting point in the container, spontaneously stretch them, rebuild them, add elements and content in a collage like manor, make holes in them, slaughter them completely and rebuild them again.

Still, I found that I continued making them as I subjectively found beautiful and not really closing up against the expression of the boot. For instance, I would not glaze one of these pots with a transparent glaze that would kill the surface and hide the fingerprints on it, like I've done with the boot. After all, it is these marks of the process, these imprints in the clay that represent the findings in this project and I don’t want to erase them from the surface. 

So maybe, I'm not there yet. Maybe in the end, I might have to build the most beautiful hand built pot and then pour this transparent glaze all over it, just to see what happens and how I and others will react on this action.

Or on the other hand, eventually it may not be that interesting to get there, and I will be pleased balancing the thin line between my ideas of ugly and beautiful, skilled and unskilled and that way slowly widen my own perspectives, step by step until the day I actually find that darn boot beautiful and not ugly anymore. And that is because, as I’m also writing in my project description, it is not really the “ugly” just for the cause of it I’m after. It is rather an expressiveness or a beauty as I see it. For me it cannot be beautiful if there isn’t an analog fault, a tension or an imbalance in what I see.

So, to get back in the process of making and make findings in the actual process has been the most important thing for me in this project and this is a method I will continue to develop in my continued work. But since I’ve also come to understand that I want to show more of the process to the public and maybe even get the public to be a part of the process, this way of thinking about a statement and documentation as an interactive platform on the web is really inspiring and is also something I will continue to work on.

Melested Princess bowl in making

You can read the full conclusion of the Research Lab project here.

Where do you want to go next?

1. What is art to me?

2. Kader Attias Repairs

3. Self Design