SIMPLE CLAYWARE: Ole Jensen at Peach Corner

May 23rd, 2024
Written by:
Nikolai Kotlarczyk

SIMPLE CLAYWARE by Ole Jensen. A collection of objects from Jensen’s solo exhibition at Peach Corner. Photo Credit: Ole Akhøj.

Modesty and wit come to mind when defining the work of Danish ceramist and designer Ole Jensen. Through the use of his hands and some basic tools, his portfolio stems from an in-depth look into the origins of his chosen materials and techniques, resulting in works intended for every-day use yet containing a good chunk of the extra-terrestrial thrown in for good measure. We heard from Ole Jensen and Senior Curator, PhD Pernille Stockmarr about his latest exhibition SIMPLE CLAYWARE within Frederiksberg’s collective run ceramic exhibition space Peach Corner, from May 23rd until June 29th.

View of Ole Jensen’s exhibition at Peach Corner. Photo Credit: Ole Akhøj.

SIMPLE CLAYWARE presents a further iteration of Ole Jensen’s continued explorations into ceramics in its most simple and expressive state. While the pieces have a clear reference to the industrial products and utilitarian objects that have always been present within his studio’s outcomes, the expressive nature of each object leads on from past works such as Primal Pottery Project, a contribution to Mindcraft 16.

Primal Pottery Project by Ole Jensen. Hand-thrown red clay and glaze. A group of large utilitarian objects as animated beings. Contribution to Mindcraft 16. Photo Credit: Ole Akhøj.

While the humanistic references of Primal Pottery Project are no longer evident, there remains an almost animalistic expression within SIMPLE CLAYWARE – from rounded feet, to extended necks and handles. Senior Curator Pernille Stockmarr placed perfectly how these references to nature mirror Ole Jensen’s own approach that marries the modest and the extroverted.

“SIMPLE CLAYWARE is calm, frugal yet extravagant. Almost as when nature takes us by surprise; straightforward yet whimsical. The shapes of the bodies seem familiar but with degrees and elements of something slightly unfamiliar… a sort of understated caricature of everyday utilitarian forms, Ole embraces the simple and commonplace with these pieces while also challenging our common notions of what is normal,” says Pernille Stockmarr.

Teapot with Feet by Ole Jensen, 2023. Photo credit: Ole Akhøj.

Perhaps the biggest deviation from his past work is the way in which Ole Jensen has fired each piece. To keep the process as simple as possible and save on the energy used through production, the works have been raw-fired – kiln-fired once at a low temperature. This approach proved challenging, with numerous craft and material experiments resulting in a unique final expression that captures the slow nature of the hand-modelled forms and the smooth surface of the red clay. Ole Jensen explains that the way in which each object has been finished helps contribute to the engaging, yet unpretentious nature of SIMPLE CLAYWARE.

“This is not a project seeking to ‘reinvent’ the world in spectacular fashion… My ambition is to demonstrate that simplicity, slowness, repetition and a measured use of effects are not dull but can appear refreshing, enriching and vivacious. Simply put: an attempt at finding greatness in little things. As the work has progressed, kinships have emerged with early, ‘primitive’ ceramics, rational functionalism and pop art. Ultimately, I guess that suited me fine,” explains Ole Jensen.

Ole Jensen, 2024. Photo credit: Ole Akhøj.

With Ole Jensen’s studio located within Frederiksberg – the same inner Copenhagen suburb as Peach Corner, his latest exhibition within the artist-run space is a testament to not only Ole Jensen’s, but the Danish ceramic community as a whole, and the collaborative approach to supporting and presenting innovative works that balance historical and contemporary approaches. Ole Jensen himself is one part of the twelve strong team of artists and practitioners that help drive Peach Corner – through regular exhibitions and a permanent wunderkammer, or cabinet of curiosities, found within their space.

3 Days of Design

While SIMPLE CLAYWARE can be viewed until the end of June, Peach Corner will also be active during the upcoming 3 Days of Design Festival, 12-14 June, with Peach Melba – a design desert featuring the work of 12 individual ceramic practitioners, including Ole Jensen. Located within the historical Frederiksgade 1 within the centre of Copenhagen, Peach Melba will focus on materiality and craftsmanship, from hand- modelled forms, to 3D-printed porcelain and sand-casting techniques.

Peach Corner’s Wunderkammer. Photo Credit: Ole Akhøj.