As a Danish ceramic artist, do you consider the living climate an important influence in your work?
I think it’s fair to say that my works have a certain Nordic nature component. Danish nature is not wild and magnificent – more one that offers quiet experiences: a misty morning over the ploughed fields; an old, dead tree; rainy weather that starts as dark streaks on the horizon; the weather clearing up after rain. Danish weather is changeable and often a cold, clammy affair, but this makes one more keenly aware of the light and small shifts in nuance.
“The basic elements in my work are the materials: clay and glaze. I enjoy engaging in expressive ceramic experiments that test the boundaries of material and form. I often take my point of departure in nature’s principles and regularities of form. This results in strange inscrutable sculptural growths and large wild and amorphous nature abstractions that may be both lush and melancholic with an expression of beauty in both growth and decay.” Bente Skjøttgaard
“Bente Skjøttgaard is a ceramist: she was born in 1961. In much the same manner as a runner or an existential philosopher, she is cultivating her material, which is clay overcoated with an application of glaze. She is a master of her field and she is “inside” the clay in the sense that she is challenging herself each and every time she creates a new work. The glazed pieces are constantly becoming larger and more voluminous, with interiors consisting of complicated constructions, as is the case inside a person or an animal, a prehistoric creature or another biological phenomenon. And the beauty cannot be mistaken. It is a kind of primeval nature, but accordingly a nature that is created both from within and from without, in the course of a protracted reciprocal interplay.” Excerpt from “Elements in white”, a text By Erik Steffensen - Professor at The Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen.
Bente Skjøttgaard: Frieze P7 no 1209, 1207 and 1210, 2012, Stoneware and glaze, 180 x 45 x 7 cm. Photo: Jeppe Gudmundsen-Holmgreen
Bente Skjøttgaard: Traces – Art along Hærvejen, At the ancient road Hærvejen nature trail, close to the village of Bække in Central Jutland DK, approx. 40 m2. A project by the Danish Arts Foundation, 2010.