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Tentacular Thinking in CERAMICS NOW

Pontoppidan Pedersen lives and works on a farm in the remote countryside of Denmark. Hers is an intensely personal and physical creative process, driven by intuition and the ability to embrace discomfort—to rest in the fear of not knowing what may result as she builds—transferring her body’s energy through her fingertips directly into the clay. She is not the first Danish artist to reject or rebel against a strong ceramic tradition and the often rigid formal language of her predecessors, but the freedom she allows herself is remarkable. To this end, Pontoppidan Pedersen has consciously designed an environment of isolation from outside intervention or pressure. Her barn studio is a cocoon where she can explore with abandon, uninterrupted by anything but her own internal voice.

Despite this societal seclusion, or perhaps precisely because of the introspective clarity it affords, Pontoppidan Pedersen’s work is an investigation into ideas of interconnectedness across time and species. The title of one piece, Making has kin in it, embodies her artistic perspective. She is deeply concerned with values of affection, kindness, and kinship, and offers her sculpture as a vehicle for communion. The theme of kinship is central to the philosophies of ecofeminist Donna Haraway—whose writing is a significant point of reference and inspiration to Pontoppidan Pedersen—and guides much of the artist’s approach to the vessel as communicator. She immerses herself in Haraway’s “SF creatures” (speculative fabulation, speculative feminism, science fiction, string figures), breathing her own fables into the sculpted forms born from the earth.

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