On the occasion of miart 2021, the Officine Saffi Foundation presents the works of five Danish ceramic artists: Marie Herwald Hermann, Pernille Pontoppidan Pedersen, Turi Heisselberg Pedersen, Aya Simone Bækhøj Schmidt, Lone Skov Madsen. The artists took part in Focus: Denmark, a special section of the Officine Saffi Award dedicated to international contemporary ceramics. All 45 finalists of the award are on display in Milan (in via Saffi 7 and piazza Virgilio 4) until 6 November 2021.The selection of these five artists focuses on the female role in contemporary experimentation with ceramics. Denmark has always been one of the centres of excellence for this material; in 1775 Queen Juliane Marie founded the Royal Copenhagen manufactory where most of the staff, including the designers, were and still are women. In he last century, various female figures started a national network of galleries, studios, residency programs and centres focused on ceramics that captured international attention. This ecosystem has contributed in recent years to a further flourishing of experiments, which Officine Saffi has been promoting for some time now in the context of its research on contemporary art, design and decorative arts.

The artists on display were selected together with the Danish Arts Foundation to represent several generations – from 1995 to 1964. An overview of this extremely heterogeneous micro world: Marie Herwald Hermann (1979) creates wall installations that explore the functionality of objects. Each of us has a favourite cup that we really love to hold in our hands. The relationship we establish with domestic objects is very intimate, very tactile. Marie tries to highlight this world, putting together small installations in which objects relate to each other to constitute metaphysical domestic landscapes. Pernille Pontoppidan Pedersen (1987) has an anarchic approach to ceramics. She seeks an involuntary and surprising result through experimental and often unpredictable techniques. Pernille is not afraid of a showdown with traditional ideas on ceramics; mixing it all together to present chaotic and baroque works, as life often is.

The geometric sculptures of Turi Heisselberg Pedersen (1965) are strange mixes of geology, plant forms and architecture. The artist makes sculptural ceramics that resemble natural structures such as crystals or rock formations, focusing on the beauty of rhythm, colour and composition. Aya Simone Bækhøj Schmidt (1995) is interested in examining why we give objects anthropomorphic qualities and at the same time she wants to deepen the desire to give life and intention to the environment around us.In her work she plays with this idea that things are more than they seem, trying to restore a sense of magic to inanimate objects. The work of Lone Skov Madsen (1964) is made up of alien forms, in which, in some cases, terrestrial life takes shape. Shapeless elements covered with iridescent glazes find themselves the habitat for green plants that grow freely, as if appropriating an unknown territory.

Danish Arts Foundation
Cappellini Giardinieri