by Cathrine Raben Davidsen
From 8th February, Danish visual artist, Cathrine Raben Davidsen, presents her new solo exhibition 'Totem' at the Royal Copenhagen Flagship Store.
The exhibition is open on the 2nd floor of the Royal Copenhagen Flagship Store from 8th February – 31st March 2019.
Totem is a product of Raben Davidsen’s two-year artistic collaboration with Royal Copenhagen. Staged as a total installation the exhibition presents a completely new body of work consisting of ceramics, drawings, paintings and an animation film, that are thematically inspired by prehistoric ceramics, animistic spirituality, and totemism.
A history of artistic collaborations
Since the 1820s, Royal Copenhagen has honoured a tradition of collaborating with various skilled artists on unique productions. In 1885, when the young architect, Arnold Krog, was appointed as Artistic Director, Royal Copenhagen quickly became associated with painters and sculptors who created both unique and reproducible works in collaboration Royal Copenhagen; a range of products that spun across porcelain and stoneware. Today, the tradition lives on and every year, Royal Copenhagen invites renowned artists to experiment with the artistic potential and scope of ceramics in Royal Copenhagen’s factory.
“I am always moved when I see an artist’s work being modelled, painted and glazed in clay and then transformed in the firing process. The often-imperfect life of a unique artwork thus acquires a distinctive power that moves me in the same way as a painting or a sculpture. All our collaborations with artists have their own soul although each of them works with the same basic materials and is supported by our own able craftspeople. This development work is a responsibility that has always been inherent in Royal Copenhagen, and the company has stood by it for centuries; we continue to support it and it thrives in the contemporary art world today,” says Creative Director Niels Bastrup.
The tale of Totem
Over the past two years, Cathrine Raben Davidsen has experimented in close collaboration with Royal Copenhagen’s specialists on a variety of techniques, glazes, and firing methods in creating the unique pieces for her ‘Totem’ exhibition. Raben Davidsen has used modified versions of several of Royal Copenhagen’s historic glazes, for example Patrick Nordström’s ‘Oxblood glaze’. She has treated the glazes with oxides, and others have undergone a salt-firing in the thrower’s own kiln. The collaboration has resulted in an extensive range of unique ceramic works comprising vases, jars, jugs and plates. A selection of these works is now on show at the exhibition Totem.
As an entry point to the collaboration with Royal Copenhagen, Raben Davidsen has found inspiration in German Bellarmine stoneware from the 16th and 17th centuries and face-mask urns from the late Bronze Age. The characteristic feature of the ceramics, later known as Bartmann vases, was the vessel’s embedded motif of an old man’s bearded face on the neck of the bottle. Often, these containers were also used as occult witch bottles with the purpose of expelling evil spirits. By playfully adapting this stylistic expression to her own vases, Raben Davidsen introduces the association to the ghostly and spiritual in her work, surrounding the old tradition with a modern mystique.
About Cathrine Raben Davidsen
Danish visual artist Cathrine Raben Davidsen (b. 1972) trained at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and at academies in Holland and Italy. She works primarily with painting, drawing, printmaking and ceramics. She has held several group and solo exhibitions in Denmark and abroad and is represented in a wide range of museums and well reputed private collections. She has made costumes and sets for the Royal Danish Ballet and has been awarded many prestigious prizes and grants. In Cathrine Raben Davidsen’s art, she explores mythologies, traditions, and stories that draw lines back to the great Master of Art History as well as the existential and philosophical thinking of our own time. For more info visit: www.cathrinerabendavidsen.com