Maria Wettergren: “There can be a lot of poetry embedded in empirical experiments”
Danish – now Parisian – gallerist Maria Wettergren has been at the forefront in the rise of contemporary Scandinavian collectible art and design since the early 1990’s. Her decades of experience within the industry speak of her ability to translate the passion and detail of her artists and designers – expressing their work within her space in Paris, as well as touring their endeavours globally through Design Miami/ Basel, The Salon Art + Design in New York, and TEFAF Maastricht. Her unique approach has resulted in the long-term collaboration and representation of Scandinavia’s most talented artists and designers – who are as committed to Wettergren as she is to them.
Having opened Galerie Maria Wettergren in the Saint Germain district some 10 years ago, the COVID-19 pandemic has allowed Wettergren to refocus locally with the recent opening of a larger and more complete gallery space in Paris’ Marais art gallery district. This significantly larger, light-filled space reflects the growth she has seen within contemporary Scandinavian art and design – shifting away from the collectible worlds reliance on mid-century designs and towards a more diverse approach within the profession, as Wettergren explains;
“When I opened my gallery eleven years ago, the majority of galleries were still dealing with historical design… I would say that the tendency today leans towards more artistic content, while at the same time dialoguing with crafts and tradition. The textile field has been growing tremendously as well, which I find very interesting and I am very much involved with artists such as Astrid Krogh, Cecilie Bendixen, Grethe Sørensen and Ditte Hammerstrøm. Moreover, textile art is in its majority, mainly made by women – thereby assisting to increase the visibility of women artists on the art scene!”
The growing diversity of the work represented by Galerie Maria Wettergren is best displayed through the differing approaches of each artist and designer, who provide their own research and experiences through their chosen medium. Viewed almost like a growing organism of creativity, Wettergren believes that time spent within the process of designing and producing is inseparable from the final form on display and is the key ingredient when she works with artists;
“I look for a high degree of originality and beauty combined, but certainly not empty formalism. The form should be the result of an exploration into a material, a technique or an idea – for example an organic dynamic principle, where nothing is superfluous or added but only born from this specific approach… There can be a lot of poetry embedded in empirical experiments with a specific material, technique or principle.“
Having contributed to The Mindcraft Project over the past two years, Mathias Bengtsson, Ane Lykke and Rasmus Fenhann are three designers and artists that display the relentless exploration within their work that Wettergren holds so vital to the identity of her gallery. Each pursue their own specific question, be it Bengtsson’s approach to organic growth forms, Lykke’s perception of light and space or Fenhann’s exploration into the relationship between mathematical forms and wood craft. It is this fine balance between the intellectual and sensory that resonates with Wettergren’s audience, pushing the gallery to global recognition, as she entails;
“Our clientele is often contemporary art collectors and museums, who appreciate the interdisciplinary approach of our designers – mixing high and low tech, art, design and crafts. So much time, exploration, and questioning are behind these beautiful objects, and they must be qualified as “collectors’ items” of a rare and high degree… our artists are definitely considered as such.”
As the world slowly starts to re-open into 2021, Wettergren is looking to once again reach out to her international audience who share her love of interesting, subtle and original forms. Locally her Parisian gallery is working towards Family Affair, an exhibition featuring Boris and Daniel Berlin, and close family friend Germans Ermics, alongside upcoming solo exhibitions by Ane Lykke, Rasmus Fenhann and Akiko Kuwahata. Internationally, Wettergren is excited for her galleries first presentation in Copenhagen – a group show with Tora Urup, Lotte Westphael and Carl Emil Jacobsen at Officinet as part of the Chart Art Fair later in 2021. These presentations alongside a buildup of international art fairs will allow her culturally hungry audience to dive back into what makes her gallery so special – an uncompromising mix of exploration, materiality and sensory forms.