Irene Nordli (born 1967) is a Norwegian ceramic artist and sculptor living and working in Oslo Norway and in Heestrand, Sweden.
Irene Nordli shows interest in how the shape melts with the painterly glazed surface. Her work is in a balance between the figurative and abstract. She has had a number of solo exhibitions and has been part of a large number of group exhibitions both in Norway and internationally, and she also works with public art.
Irene Nordli graduated from National Collage of Art and Design in Bergen in 1996 and was a professor at the Art and craft department at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts in Oslo until 2019.
Studio Visit: Irene Nordli is produced by Norwegian Crafts and Revers Produksjon. Graphic design by Parabol Studio.
The Pillars and the Vessels for the unknown
Irene Nordli started by creating the series The Pillars for the project Afterglow, a new Nordic porcelain forum, where she, together with a group of artists from the various Nordic countries, was to investigate what was left of the porcelain industry in the Nordic countries. Several works in this series are now on display at the Clay Museum in Denmark and at the Gustavsberg Porselinsmuseum in Sweden.
Irene Nordli went to the porcelain city of Jingdezhen in China for the first time in 2011. There she found copies of Greek sculptures in the art supplies shop. She continued to work on these sculptures while she was there, taking casts of the copies and making new processed versions.
The plastermoulds she has used for the Pillars are from the world of hobby ceramics and can be used by anyone and have no high artistic value. The columns are deformed and crooked, and no longer in balance. The columns no longer support as they should and the figurines are wobbly at the top. The figurines are processed and assembled together, and become more or less unrecognisable.
There has been a tradition of transferring small models of classical marble sculptures to porcelain as decoration for the home. The porcelain imitates marble and both materials have the whiteness and light in them. Now we know that the Greek sculptures were once richly decorated and the colours covered the marble. Irene Nordli allows her glazes to do the same by covering the white porcelain.
Approaching classical sculpture continues to interest her. Moving between figuration and abstraction, the known and the unknown, the beautiful and the grotesque characterises her art.
Irene Nordli’s organic vessels have references to the body – as the vessel or the pot often has. The vessels are assembled and built up of fragments with different textures into three-dimensional collages. The fragments are direct imprints of objects and figures from her surroundings. The power and movement she put into the works will be present even after the firing process, after the living soft clay has become hard porcelain. The porcelain carries with it its history and value, and her containers are like a disturbing echo from the golden ages of porcelain.