Å M A N
April 27 August 31, 2003
Ceramicist and glass designer Ingegerd Råman
exhibits glass and ceramics at Millesgården. In a retrospective
exhibition Ingegerd Råman presents works representing 35 years production.
Ingegerd Råman is a potter educated at Stockholms College
of Design and Handcrafts. She has also studied at Instituto Statale dArte
per la Ceramica in Faenza, Italy. Ingegerd Råman worked as a glass
designer at first at Johanfors and later at Skrufs glassworks. Today she
is linked to Orrefors Kosta Boda AB. At times, she also works in her own
studio on Djurgården in Stockholm.
Råman is one of the most highly regarded glass designers in Sweden
today. She has received the award Excellent Swedish Form innumerable
times. Ingegerd Råman is internationally recognized and respected.
Her work has its natural place when Swedish design is presented abroad.
For instance, she is the sole Swedish designer to have been invited to
exhibit at the world-leading and tone-setting design boutique, Colette
in Paris (Autumn 2002).
Three words that describe best Ingegerd Råmans design are
simplicity, function and aesthetics. Timelessness and purity in the clear
glass are qualities that she finds congenial. My forms are always
simple. I proceed from the cone, the sphere, and the ordinary building
blocks. I always make things for use. I wish them the looks as if they
have always existed.
Ingegerd Råman is appointed as professor by the National Government.
She is represented at, among others, the National Museum in Stockholm,
Röhsska Museum in Gothenburg, Victoria and Albert Museum of Glass
in USA and Riihimäki Glass Museum in Finland.
Professor Tom Hedqvist, the rector for Beckmans School of Design,
has designed the exhibition catalogue, the poster and opening invitation
card. Ingegerd Råman has collaborated with Tom Hedqvist in the planning
and hanging of the exhibition.
HEDVIG HEDQVIST WRITES ABOUT INGEGERD RÅMAN:
She hacks into the glass polishes or sandpapers with a stubbornness
which gives her classic taut forms wholly new expression. The direction
which Ingegerd Råman is taking has become all the more unpredictable.
After having devoted more than 30 years to renewing and refining transparent
simplicity, she now makes one high kick turn after the other
bubbles and colour, slashes and whirling movements, she creates her own
renewal. Expands by stretching her circles, turns and twists the forms.
It was three years ago that Ingegerd Råman began a completely new
glass career at Orrefors. This she initiated in the glassworks large
exhibition hall introducing herself to the public with a retrospective
survey of her earlier work, partially unknown in the province of Småland.
She had previously worked successfully at the Skruf works in the shadow
of the large glassworks, but with international renown. In parallel she
had worked in her own ceramic workshop on Djurgården in Stockholm.
Her straight and sovereign simple water carafes, drinking glasses and
candle holders were discovered in the 1990s by design boutiques
of distinction in Paris, London, New York and Tokyo.
The debut at Orrefors was a form moralists personal account of patient
development of articles for everyday use of ceramic and glass. Original
bowls in various formats, the pitcher, the mug and beyond all this, as
the icing on the cake, large generous serving dishes accompanied by glass
services treated with the same strict philosophy. Two materials with their
contrasts: powerfully solid in black, white or terracotta and fragile
transparent in clear or frosted glass create mutual harmony. Thus the
public is served with a valued lesson in how one may with glass and ceramics
create a sensual everyday delight.
For many a typically Råmanistic direct statement is
a balm in a world dominated by innumerable gestures with laboured forms
and superficial decor. Her simplicity fills its function, both for her
and others, because it allows for so many variations. She herself is attracted
both by natures artistry and the artistry of others.
Ingegerd creates forms that become tools. Professionally well-reasoned.
Every step in the work process is important for her, whether it concerns
forming a vessel, arranging flowers in a vase or preparing the dish to
a work of art. When she spreads a handful course salt on the tiniest oval
Pond dish it is never by pure chance. The combination of salt and glass
is carefully balanced by an experienced hand.
Now she widens the narrative, giving us the continuation of the story,
which to a great degree answers the challenge of those possibilities for
experimentation that Orrefors offer. In addition, the special orders from
private commissioners offer her a more personal dialogue on function and
beauty. Amongst others the new and both generous and somewhat Spartan,
white service for the dining rooms in Telenors new headquarters
in Oslo, manufactured by Norwegian Figgjo.
We who make up the vast anonymous clientele need not worry ourselves.
We can have faith in Ingegerd always having her possessiveness in focus.
She is directed by her own standard of quality which has through the years
become increasingly selective. The four oval dishes of centrifuged glass
that stacked upon each other form a sculptural unity was a lack, which
she recognized. A simple basic form in varying sizes, which has its own
radiance and at the same time compact for storage is doubly valuable.
When the results exceed her own expectations, she becomes happy as a child
euphoric. The Pond dish is a development of a technique that has
its roots in Sven Palmqvists classic Fuga bowls.
Collecting together three decades of work is like travelling backward
in time. Surprisingly one sees old experiences with new eyes. Every time
I have changed direction, I have taken a step nearer myself, Ingegerd
has concluded. This is an insight which allows her to continue stretching
boundaries and exhibit her own creativity from new angles of approach.
The architectonic design of the room and architectures co-operation
with objects has always engaged her. Her own surroundings are minimal
cleansed from everything superfluous. Perhaps that seems demanding,
but it is an expression of the fact that it is individuals and nature
that are important. It is in Scania that she and her husband Claes Söderquist
have their home, a former school built in the 1920s and transformed
into a dwelling with white rooms, clean lines and generous space by the
young architectural trio, Claesson Koivisto Rune. A free-standing newly
built wing is a studio and workshop. In order to create a courtyard it
has been matched by an angled pendant structure, specially built wall
for firewood. The architects and the commissioners visions
didnt always coincide, which forced both parties to elucidate. For
Ingegerd this became a stimulating ping-pong match, where all won, by
listening to each other in order to move on and develop a sustainable
quality. Intercourse with a creative younger generation was a further
bonus. For the presentation of the first collection for Orrefors, Claesson
Koivisto Rune made the exhibition arrangements, surprising her white and
black artists soul by placing the Slow Fox glass on intensely shining
Millesgårdens Exhibition Hall invites high standards, as does
the collaboration with exhibition architect and designer Tom Hedqvist.
He made the first retrospective presentation at Orrefors. Now they have
developed a dialogue, deepened the pedagogy, moved on and balanced the
aesthetic severity created a place for humour and thought.
The exhibit includes both her own sketches and the art which Ingegerd
knows that she cannot do without, those that she feels a special affinity
for in the Modern Museums collection. The choice of art works describe
preferences rather than references. The list of Råmans favourites
that have followed her through the years are as concise as her form language:
Mondrian, Barnett Newman, Gerhard Richter, Torsten Andersson, Dick Bengtsson,
Håkan Rehnberg and On Kawara belong to the club. The first three
of these are absent from the room.
I have often been inspired by art, literature and pictures in books.
It is my own responsibility to educate myself develop in order
to move on in the artistic work. Art is complicated, even if it sometimes
can seem so simple. I believe that my contact with art and artists has
given me my own security to master the craft.
Through the years she has emphasised the importance of the craft
never calling herself a craftsman, instead maintaining that she is a potter
and glass designer. The proposal to show her sketches was not her own.
Her first reaction was mild opposition the sketches werent
up to par. They would even reveal that she had never been a true adept
with pencils and paper. The discovery of a folder with Vicke Lindstrands
sketches in the Orrefors archive became an interesting turning point.
A collection of preserved passing fancies. I considered them to
be magical. He worked with shading, blasting and painting, the instructions
were succinct, but they inspired me to continue. To the characteristic
Mingus pitcher from the 1930s, his sketch was only the size of a
postage stamp. That gave me much more than a corrected working drawing,
she summarizes her decision to show her sketches. Before they disappear.
All the working drawings have been made on tracing paper which has
the desirable quality of being perishable. The point with tracing paper
is that it is easy to lay a new paper over the sketch and test other lines.
Parallel with sketching, I always create a three-dimensional form in my
head. On paper I can see immediately if it is wrong. But it isnt
always so easy to proceed, to make it correspond to the demand for perfection
which is the goal.
The Triumph of Simplicity was the title of a renowned silver
exhibition at the National Museum. For Ingegerd it is simplicitys
triumph, which challenges her to refine the forms. At the same time she
requires the public to accept a quality, which is cleansed of ingratiating
traits and experience the joy of making their own contribution. Time influences
us all, it has been important for Ingegerd to stop every fifth year and
appraise how her growth has progressed.
The exhibition is a resumé of the progressive development in glass,
ceramics and metal.