SINGAPORE (Sept 10): In the words of Danish artist and ceramist Michael Geertsen, the charming irregularities of bone china have much in common with the beauty marks found on natural leather hides. It is these very marks that emphasise the personality of the material, he says, ensuring that no two lamps created with it are ever alike.
Known for his contemporary sculptural ceramics, Geertsen trained in traditional wheelbased pottery in Stensved, Denmark before graduating from the department of industrial design at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Design, in 1993. Today, his works can be found at some of the world’s most illustrious landmarks including New York City’s Metropolitan Museum and The Museum of Arts and Design.
The creative Dane’s art is often inspired by the interplay between sculpture and functionality. His latest masterpiece, the Dogu™ pendant, is no exception. Measuring 240mm in diameter and 329mm in height, this outstanding pendant’s shade is made of semi-translucent bone china that renders the light that projects through it warm and extremely cosy.
Dogu™ draws its name from earthenware figurines made in the Jōmon period (14,000-400 BC).
Created from animal bone ash and white clay, bone china’s origins can be traced back to the early 1880s when Josiah Spode the Second was said to have introduced the technique of creating the hybrid hard-paste porcelain. Bones, often those of cattle, were finely ground into ash before they were mixed with other materials to create the strong, chip-resistant and immensely beautiful material now favoured in fi ne tableware manufacturing.
The naming of Dogu™, meanwhile, was sparked by a tradition that stretches far deeper into history. Meaning “earthen figures” in Japanese, “dogu” refers to the small humanoid and animal figurines made in prehistoric Japan during the Jōmon era when early pottery flourished. While the origin and purpose of these ancient earthenware figurines remain shrouded in mystery, they were often found in or near graves after being broken on purpose.
The pendant is available with either a silver or gold suspension and matching cord.
Centuries later, Geertsen has reinterpreted the Japanese dogu through his own dialogue with ceramics, deconstructing the relic to present his own abstract sculpture in the form of the Dogu™ pendant. The result is translucent, sculptural and simply exceptional — a suspension of time-honoured techniques in the contemporary art world.
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