18 November - 18 December 2009


Hans Vangsø - Galerie Besson

Hans Vangsø works within a Scandinavian tradition of bold simplicity. This exhibition is distinguished by, amongst other pieces, a large group of cylindrical, oval and squared jars and bottles, some broadly faceted and fluted, as well as a fine series of teabowls. These are pots where the varied colours and textures from the kiln, the trickling flyash or pitted and bubbling shino, enhance clear and powerful forms. The work has a certain timelessness, perhaps because Vangsø’s deceptively simple language concentrates and refines ideas from across centuries and cultures – not only from his native Denmark but from the Far East. Vangsø’s reworking of Japanese making and firing traditions gives that Danish economy an even stronger sense of the elemental journey. Glazes are used not only to define but to interact with surface, helping to instil the impression that these are not just objects but events. In shapes that often look more excavated than recently made, we experience an alchemic and dramatic dialogue between clay and glaze, form and colour. The pots appear the result of some mysterious sequence of action, as much the outcome, it would seem, of natural forces as of the human hand. Some look as if they are already reverting to nature, to the landscape from which their materials were sourced. Whether we are looking at the more monumental pieces or the well balanced teabowls, there is a distinct making tempo – of working through just a few ideas and seeing where these will go. The results are unapologetically romantic, deeply sensitive to the subtleties and nuances of ceramics, and splendidly evocative of process and place.

David Whiting

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