Martin Bodilsen Kaldahl: The sculptural weight of form

af | 20. mar, 2022 | ENGLISH

Matter at Hand, Martin Bodilsen Kaldahl. Foto: Dorte Krogh

Matter at Hand

Matter at Hand – Ten Artist in Denmark is an exhibition created in collaboration with the Danish Art Foundation and the American gallery Hostler Burrows. The exhibition opened in New York in Autumn 2021 and is now showing in L.A, the gallery’s second location.

Matter at Hand is also a catalogue with ten condensed portraits by me, among other texts. I have been given the permission to publish the portraits on my platform.
The ten artists are:

Anne Brandhøj
Stine Bidstrup
Astrid Krogh
Jakob Jørgensen
Bjørn Friborg
Hanne G
Maria Sparre-Petersen
Martin Bodilsen Kaldahl
Pernille Pontoppidan Pedersen
Yuki Ferdinandsen

The team behind the co-lab is:
The Danish Art Foundation
Hostler Burrows; Juliet Burrows and Kim Hostler
Curator: Nanna Balslev Strøyer
Photographer Dorte Krogh
Writer: Charlotte Jul
Translation: Dorte Herholdt Silver
Graphic design: Laura Silke og Line-Gry Hørup
Co-editor, US-translation: Juliet Burrows

www.hostlerburrows

 

Ceramic artist Martin Bodilsen Kaldahl is one of the Danish artists in the exhibition Matter at Hand – Ten Artists in Denmark, showing at the American gallery Hostler Burrows with locations in L.A. and New York.

Martin Bodilsen Kaldahl has worked with clay for more than 50 years. Although he was lost to the material from the moment he got his hands on it at the age of 14, it is not the actual plasticity of clay that most holds his interest, but rather the sculptural process of shaping the clay, coaxing the form out, painstakingly, step by step. Or bit by bit, since Kaldahl’s “Spatial Drawings” are extruded and precision-cut clay tubes – used not unlike a plumber’s pipes. The tubes are assembled at angles that bend or twist outward or inward, or form straight lines, like complex tubing in clay.

His construction principle is simple, almost commonplace, in his words, but the characteristic quality lies in how the tubes are used, how they turn into form that moves and extends into the space around it. It is all created in a semi-planned, rhythmic and random unfolding of form that Kaldahl constructs without a model – because a model would in itself already represent an interpretation of his line drawing, his concept. Kaldahl shapes his sculptures by hand in a process guided by his graphic mindset and focused presence. He lets the tubes angle in and out as they want on the day, as he wants on the day. Eventually they form an undeniable and coherent statement enhanced by monochrome glazes that underscore the mood of the work. 

Matter at Hand, Martin Bodilsen Kaldahl. Foto: Dorte Krogh

In a general sense, Kaldahl’s contrasts stem from the tension between lightness and heaviness. His overall idea begins as a loose line drawing – a doodle, a knot – inspiration from the commonplace and often overlooked forms of everyday life, like a piece of string that has fallen on the floor and happened to twist itself into an interesting shape. Or a freeway interchange Kaldahl takes from Google Earth and manipulates into a drawing as a basis for sculpting. Sometimes he spends months unraveling a mystery, exploring the knots and visualizing them in clay as he ponders his options for translating the lines into form.

Kaldahl prefers it when a conceptual phase takes him into uncharted territory, out of his comfort zone and into an intuitive place of freedom, where a persistent strand of an idea begins to take shape and is transformed in its passage from mind to hands into sections of clay tube – manipulated, angled and twisted inch by inch, until form emerges. This is where the weightiness comes in.

The challenge is to achieve the intuitive lightness of the line drawing while adding expressive weight to the meticulously constructed form of the living material. The sense of weight is positive and deliberate. A ceramic statement that insists on being an embodied and impactful presence in space. An encounter that requires our receptive presence. This is Kaldahl’s ambition: to create works of art that are felt by us without reservation and premeditated bias, from the uncomplicated lines of a drawing to the intricate knots and twists of clay. Scaled up in size and taking up room, they are sculptures of intrinsic proportions that actually weigh something –  “Spatial Drawings” imbued with the focused, intuitive presence that created them. 

Matter at Hand, Martin Bodilsen Kaldahl. Foto: Dorte Krogh

Matter at Hand

Matter at Hand – Ten Artist in Denmark is an exhibition created in collaboration with the Danish Art Foundation and the American gallery Hostler Burrows. The exhibition opened in New York in Autumn 2021 and is now showing in L.A, the gallery’s second location.

Matter at Hand is also a catalogue with ten condensed portraits by me, among other texts. I have been given the permission to publish the portraits on my platform.
The ten artists are:

Anne Brandhøj
Stine Bidstrup
Astrid Krogh
Jakob Jørgensen
Bjørn Friborg
Hanne G
Maria Sparre-Petersen
Martin Bodilsen Kaldahl
Pernille Pontoppidan Pedersen
Yuki Ferdinandsen

The team behind the co-lab is:
The Danish Art Foundation
Hostler Burrows; Juliet Burrows and Kim Hostler
Curator: Nanna Balslev Strøyer
Photographer Dorte Krogh
Writer: Charlotte Jul
Translation: Dorte Herholdt Silver
Graphic design: Laura Silke og Line-Gry Hørup
Co-editor, US-translation: Juliet Burrows

www.hostlerburrows

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