Carl-Henning Pedersen: Images in Clay / CLAY Museum of Ceramic Art, Middelfart, Denmark
May 26 – December 20, 2020
As one of Denmark’s most renowned and productive painters, Carl-Henning Pedersen’s colourful and characteristic brushstrokes are known to most people. Many people are also familiar with his monumental ceramic decorations such as “The Play of Imagination around the Wheel of Life” for the Angli factory in Herning, and have enjoyed the 1,000 painted ceramic plates adorning Carl-Henning Pedersen & Else Alfelt’s Museum. Unknown to most is his production of small, ceramic works.
After World War II, Carl-Henning Pedersen was one of the founders of the international artists’ movement CoBrA together with Karel Appel and Asger Jorn, among others. The COBRA artists believed in liberty, imagination, and spontaneity, and Carl-Henning Pedersen gave free rein to his imagination and painted abstractly and expressively – in watercolours, on canvas – and on clay as well.
With the exhibition Carl-Henning Pedersen – Images in Clay, the painter’s ceramic works are highlighted separately in a museum for the first time. The exhibition as well as the publication have been made in a joint venture between CLAY Museum of Ceramic Art and Carl-Henning Pedersen & Else Alfelt’s Museum.
The exhibition features approximately 80 ceramic objects. Central are 36 works generously donated by Carl-Henning Pedersen’s widow, Sidsel Ramson. Works created at Royal Copenhagen at the beginning of the 1990s when Carl-Henning Pedersen at the age of 79 frenetically painted both plates, dishes, and figurines, often with the bird as a motif.
First of all, Carl-Henning Pedersen was a painter – also in his approach to ceramics. He painted on the clay, on plates on vases and on jars. And he painted with the clay when he added the slip colours.
I love painting with these ceramic colour glazes. When I paint a bird on a jar or on a plate, then I feel that I paint “the Bird Phoenix” which rises from the ashes to a new, glowing and bright life in the high temperatures of the kiln.Carl-Henning Pedersen
Carl-Henning Pedersen (1913-2007) had a lifelong interest in music and his brushstrokes are playful and rhythmical. This particular musicality characterizing his art is taken into the exhibition because – as part of the scenography – there is a sound track created by the composer Ditte Rønn, who, through her composition, will express the very special sound of the works and thus of Carl-Henning Pedersen.
The exhibition will be shown at CLAY until December 2020 when it will continue to be exhibited at Carl-Henning Pedersen & Else Alfelts Museum in Herning, Denmark.
Curators: Christina Rauh Oxbøll, curator, CLAY Museum of Ceramic Art Denmark Lotte Korshøj, Carl-Henning Pedersen & Else Alfelt’s Museum
Scenography: JAC Studios
Sound: Ditte Rønn
Publication: In connection with the exhibition there will be a comprehensive and richly illustrated publication with articles by Jens Tang Kristensen, postdoc at Institut for Kunst og Kulturvidenskab, Københavns Universitet, Christina Rauh Oxbøll, curator, Lotte Korshøj, director, Carl-Henning Pedersen & Else Alfelts Museum and Hans Edward Nørregaard-Nielsen, former chairman of Ny Carlsbergfondet.
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CLAY Museum of Ceramic Art
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Photo: No title. 1996. Earthenware. 50,5 x 65 cm. New Carlsberg Foundation. The painting in the background: Fruits of the Earth. “Legend” , 1957. Tempera on canvas, 241 x 396 cm. Carl-Henning Pedersen & Else Alfelt’s Museum. Photo: Jacob Friis-Holm Nielsen