The Fabulous Fem [5]: leading Norwegian ceramic and textile women artists exhibited in London

ArtExplored
3 min readMar 22, 2023

Taste Contemporary presented a unique show, The Fabulous Fem [5], a group exhibition of ceramic and textile art at Cromwell Place, London from the 14th to 19th of March 2023. Focusing on a group of Norwegian women artists who emerged in the 1970s — with the addition of one, younger artist — the exhibition aims to shine a light on this important group of artists whose contribution to ceramic and textile art is being increasingly recognised by international audiences.

The exhibition featured the work of Nina Malterud, who was awarded a retrospective solo exhibition at KODE Art Museum in Bergen in 2022 and Marit Tingleff, who presented a solo exhibition of work at Landskrona Konsthall, Sweden, also in 2022. From 2019 to 2020, works by Kari Dyrdal and Marit Tingleff were shown in a touring exhibition entitled Forces — Dyrdal Kvasbø Tingleff at Musée de Sévres, Paris; KODE Art Museums, Bergen and Sørlandets Kunstmuseum, Kristiansand. In addition, the show features the work of Heidi Bjørgan and Hanne Heuch.

In comparison to many other countries, Norway’s ceramics history is relatively short. Norwegians traditionally made domestic objects out of wood and iron with the first potteries established in the 16th century and porcelain factories emerging in the 19th century. Marit Tingleff, one of Norway’s most celebrated ceramic artists believes that ‘because of this special history, Norwegians do not connect strongly to any particular ceramic tradition’ and that this has been liberating, with students today ‘exploring the material in radical ways, free from tradition and expectations, which is really interesting.’ In relation to textile art, the Norwegian standard in the middle of the 20th century centred on the notion that weaving should be precise and ‘perfect’. In the 1960’s, exhibitions by artists such as Poland’s Magdalena Abakanowicz generated an increased interest in this art in the country. This resulted in a more expressive approach and the notion that the creation of a new visual language was equally as important as the realisation of the work.

Since its establishment in 2012, the Geneva-based gallery Taste Contemporary has worked with a number of leading Norwegian ceramic and textile artists most of whom emerged in the 1970s. While the importance of their work is widely acknowledged amongst academics and curators, their museum acquisitions to date are largely limited to collections in Norway and other Scandinavian countries, most notably KODE Art Museums and Composer Homes, Bergen; the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo and the National Museum of Decorative Arts and Design, Trondheim.

‘The Fabulous Fem was our first exhibition at 4 Cromwell Place’, says Founder and Director Monique Deul. ‘We were delighted to mark our arrival in London with a show that celebrates such influential Norwegian artists. Their contribution to ceramic and textile art is being increasingly recognised and we were honoured to be part of that story.’

In presenting this group of artists to London audiences, Taste Contemporary wishes to open up a dialogue and place in to the canon of ceramic and textile art.

Exhibitors:

Heidi Bjørgan [b. 1970]; Kari Dyrdal [b. 1952]; Hanne Heuch [b. 1954]; Nina Maletrud [b. 1951]; Marit Tingleff [b. 1954]

For more information: https://www.tastecontemporary.com/

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