Points of No Return: Michael Geertsen

By Drud, Birgitte | Ceramics Art & Perception, December 2007 | Go to article overview
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Points of No Return: Michael Geertsen


Drud, Birgitte, Ceramics Art & Perception


[ILLUSTRATIONS OMITTED]

MICHAEL GEERTSEN'S LATEST EXPLORATION OF THE ceramic field in the exhibition Black Holes & Revelations can be characterised as an eclectic manifesto. In meta-artistic terms and with complete naturalness he cites art, design and architectural historical currents and epochs. Movement as motif, in both the decorations and the sculptural is one of a number of interesting pivotal points. It is energetic, capturing space, unfolding without resistance in, and at times, complex encounter between the decorative elements and the actual objects' sculptural body.

For Michael Geertsen the monochromatic and the collage have been the common denominator up through the 1990s to the beginning of the new millennium. There was a certain deconstructive touch where the individual parts were identifiable. The collage aspect has disappeared in favour of a much more dynamic and sampled sculptural expression, where the objects appear as pulsating bodies with cylinders, funnels and cones sucked in and out of the form. This pull or movement in and out, calls attention to the fact that this closed sculptural body has an interior--an interior that is cut off from the human eye but is nonetheless present as a close and meaningful active element.

Another aspect of the movement-motif lies in the sculptural body's reference to, and paraphrasing of, American Streamline from the 1940s and the Futurists sculptural approach and themes. Both streamline design and the Futuristic occupation with speed was totally eliminated in the Scandinavian version of Modernism.

The movement-motif was seen as false and superficial, because objects, so the thinking went, in reality are stationary, and thus it was inconsistent with the Modernist ideals of the good and the true. Despite the fact that a Post-Modern outlook has been around for years now, there is still a certain amount of scepticism over artistic devices and formal approaches that allude to movement, speed and tempo. It is seen as unnecessary, flippant and a falsehood.

The monochromatic in Michael Geertsen's work has disappeared. The white-glazed objects are at one and the same time extremely seriously and cheerfully decorated. These decorations are a witty reference to both everyday tableware and the porcelain factories' blue ans white tune. The 18th century's cornucopia of golden ornamentation, the early Modernisms Constructivism and the 1960's English fashion world's predilection for the graphical are all present; ribbons, progressions, abrupt figures, circles, golden funnel openings and platinum embellished depressions.

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Although all the decorative splendours are not concentrated in one work, the overall impression is one of a condensed rarity cabinet of decorations' raconteur delight.

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