Born in 1966 in Naestved, Ipsen – who works and lives in Copenhagen – is one of the most important ceramists of his generation. Even his most ambitious experiments and changes in direction invariably show a sure hand, an eye for potential, and a profound knowledge of materials and technique. The sculptures of Steen Ipsen are often called “basic research” because of the artist’s continuous investigation of the relationship between form and decoration.
By doing the ‘same’ thing over and over again, there is an unbroken pattern of growth and evolution flowing throughout his entire oeuvre. Look carefully and you will find the finger- prints of all of his previous thinking in each new breakthrough piece. The works in this exhibition develop two threads of Ipsen’s explorations: the diversity and rich potential of spherical shapes in Tied Up and the infinite possibilities of abstract organic geometries in Organic.
Pieces in the Tied Up series consist of joined, monochrome glazed spherical elements that are subsequently tied up with colored strings of PVC or leather. These Tied Up pieces – considered by many to be his signature work- are typical of his desire to explore formal structure, and appear not unlike a molecular model but are adding a feeling of tension and a degree of sensuousness to the form.
Other pieces, such as the Organic series explore patterns of broken or continuous connecting lines by the use of black transfers. By adding these decorations, Ipsen creates a contrast and changes the expression of the white organic sculpture. The result is an abstract and highly spatial sculptural expression.
New to his work are the Black Organic sculptures which are shown at this exhibition for the first time. By using black monochrome glaze, the particular shape of the sculpture is affected by reflections from its surroundings adding contrast to the shape of the object.
In 2013 Ipsen received the Danish Arts Foundation’s 3-years working grant, calling him “one of the most gifted ceramic artists in Denmark”.
Steen Ipsen has exhibited worldwide and his work is found in collections around the world, including: Houston City Collection and Arizona Art Museum (USA), The Victoria & Albert (London), Museum of Art and Design (Hamburg), Museé des Arts Décoratifs and Museé de Sèvres (Paris), Museé Magnelli, Valauris (France), Incheon World Ceramic Center (South Korea), The Design Museum, The Danish Arts Foundation, New Carlsberg Foundation (Denmark) plus numerous others.