The vessel is his object of choice, in this case the perfectly controlled spherical shape – an hommage on the traditional sublime Korean Moon Jars. Dating back to the fifteenth century, they were made customarily to contain flowers or wine, but they are also ritual, votive vessels. Nevertheless the form is not exactly the artist’s main concern. Everything comes down to the surface treatment, immediately relocating the works to another time and place. The glaze is not a mere finish, but is promoted to materiality and painting at the same time, swallowing the original contour of the ceramics, erupting in layers of intense polychrome and thick vitreous matter.
Morten Løbner Espersen deliberately challenges the boundaries of refined craftsmanship and serendipity when it comes to glazing processes. The richness he strives for relies upon the use of gravity and the melting together of the many layers, requiring repeated firing rounds for each piece. To attain balance he has to control chaos, but also eventually give way to madness. The result is a landscape filled with deep nuances and an exploration of the known and the unknown.
In one hand Pearls, Bombs & Moon Jars pays tribute to the sphere embedded in pottery history, but on the other explodes all notions of conventional categories and sophisticated aesthetic theories. Espersen evolves ceramic tradition in crusts of freshly poured warm candy, still wet and dripping, deliciously appealing to the senses.