Jorunn Veiteberg

Caroline Slotte: Artist Presentation

Ordinary everyday objects are easily overlooked. This applies not least to the decor on cheap plates, especially if they show signs of wear and tear and are marked by use. It is utility objects of this kind, which are rarely cherished, that Slotte has made her most important material. The exploration of these trivial objects’ function as bearers of memories is a key aspect of her work. Old and second-hand objects serve as bridges to the past, to people and places, our own and other people’s histories.

While there has been a tendency in studio ceramics to dismiss everything that is mass-produced and inauthentic, these are added values in Slotte’s work. It is her privilege as an artist to be able to transpose objects from one sphere to another. Her reworking lifts the worthless, mass-produced plate from a life of wear and dirt and transforms it into something valuable, unique and privileged. Once liberated from its utility function, other aspects of the plate come more to the fore, not least its imagery. Tension arises between object and image, material and meaning.

Through her intervention, Slotte steers the viewer’s attention in specific directions, giving rise to new associations. She usually emphasises parts of the motif by removing other parts. With this plate (From the series Going Blank Again) she has gone even further, removing all narrative and figurative elements. It started out as a blue and white pattern that covered the whole plate. She has carefully removed all the blue decoration, so that only the white fields remain. They are visible against the matt white base because they retain the shine and smoothness of the surface glaze. The blue pigment has bled in some places. Like a shadow, it highlights the contour that now outlines a completely new pattern of lines. These interventions are subtle and the effect is very beautiful. By removing and erasing, she has succeeded in revealing an image that we would never have seen without her help.

Published in Thing Tang Trash – Upcycling in Contemporary Ceramics, ed. Jorunn Veiteberg
Bergen National Academy of the Arts/Art Museums Bergen, 2011