Marit Tingleff presents new monumental ceramic works at Galleri Format Oslo.
Facilities in the ceramics department at Oslo National Academy of the Arts provide Marit Tingleff with opportunities to explore gravity in a long sought-after way. The large ceramic works in this show are first modelled horizontally. While still wet, they are raised to a slightly inclined but upright position with the help of large custom-made walls. Clay is a heavy material, so due to gravity’s ineluctable nature, large masses of wet clay will easily sag. Everyone who works with clay struggles with this problem, regardless of whether they build ceramic pieces or dig clay from the earth. Tingleff manages to circumvent this dominant quality of clay, thus achieving her aim: to have a large ceramic work, in a wet state, stand upright by being balanced against a wall. She ‘conquers’ gravity by using it as a tool. Her crafting experience is also an important part of the process, and she uses her entire body weight in the construction process. Her feet are tools just as much as her hands. Transferring experience from her hands to her feet, she applies even, stable pressure to build the large surfaces. Gravity also plays a central role in the further development of the standing works. Tingleff pours colour (earthenware slip) from the top of a work and lets it run its own course down the surface. Once again gravity is her tool. The colour forms lines and patterns of varying thickness.
A second area of Tingleff’s research, which is relevant for several of these works, centres on copper oxide: as a colouring agent with a long tradition and references in ceramics history, it renders the intense green colour we associate with nature and local landscapes. Copper in different forms has transformative qualities that make it challenging and exciting to work with. At the same time, it is simple, effectual and common. Perpetuating a theme pursued in earlier works, Tingleff now treats landscapes not as direct motifs, but as colour and materials. Clay is a kind of landscape in itself; it is dug from the landscape, whether from near or far away. Local Norwegian clay is used to colour the works Panel, Standing/ Resting I and II. In pure form, this clay become a deep tile-red, but mixed with white pipe-clay, it becomes paler. Its rich iron content generates a spectrum of colours that makes it unmatched in painterly characteristics. The colour’s many qualities, in combination with the more arbitrary ‘drawing by gravity’ create the unique surfaces of Tingleff’s standing wall-objects.
Marit Tingleff (b. 1954) is professor of ceramics at Oslo National Academy of the Arts, and is one of Norway’s most noted ceramists. Her international breakthrough came about when she participated in the exhibition Scandinavian Craft Today, which travelled to Japan and the USA in 1987-88. She has held many international exhibitions, not least at Marsden Woo Gallery in London and at Nancy Margolis Gallery in New York. Her works have been purchased by the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, by Design Museum Denmark, and by Norway’s three museums for design and craft-based art.