Innovative, provocative when
Per B. Sundberg shows glass
Exhibition of glass by Per B. Sundberg in the Orrefors Gallery,
Birger Jarlsgatan 15, Stockholm, Sweden, 25th September 12th
After almost ten years at Orrefors, Per B. Sundberg has found a platform
for his creative ambition. With his distinctive glass, he is an outspoken
challenger of the standard concept of Swedish design. Although
he has designed a range of exciting wares for Orrefors ordinary
collection, he has above all established himself as the rejuvenator
par excellence of art glass, taking the venerable graal first to the
much acclaimed Fabula and now, with its première showing in Stockholm
in September, to an entirely new art glass technique he has named Litograal.
The Fabula and Litograal pieces on show are compact vases featuring
a variety of encapsulated pictorial motifs. In Fabula, the image strips
are fired directly onto the parison and are covered by a thick glass
overlay. Under frosted and clear surfaces appear motifs that may sometimes
be ingratiatingly decent, such as birds, flowers and fish. Other pieces,
however, are more provocative. The colours range from dark, blotchy
and very down-to-earth to hues of the softest pastel. In Litograal,
a pattern is sandblasted directly onto a thin layer of porcelain enamel
that gives the glass the impression of having been printed and,
indeed, the purpose is to create images that are sharply outlined and
texts that can actually be read. Here, the images deal with sex, violence
and drink in the comic-strip format of a series of panels arrayed along
the sides of the sculpture.
Also on show is a selection of massive slumped dishes whose
brilliant colours have been allowed to fuse and intermingle during the
slumping process. The décor was sawn out by Per B. Sundberg himself.
Several of these dishes are decidedly non-glassy and remind one rather
of old-fashioned cardboard boxes with a shepherds plaid pattern.
The exhibition, which is staged by Tom Hedqvist, will also be showing
spectacular, fashion-inspired table lamps of cut Orrefors crystal with
textile cords and patterns that are nothing if not striking.
Pers multiple approach to glass and ceramics makes him intriguingly
disrespectful of what can and cannot be done. Multiplicity is his watchword.
He can at the same time be introvert and narrative, tactile yet polished,
anti-aesthetic and seductive preferably all at once, says
Tom Hedqvist, himself a designer and the director of Beckmans Skola.
In my opinion, Per is the designer who, of his generation, has
made the most interesting contribution to the development of contemporary
In this show, the supreme skills of Orrefors glassblowers combine
with Per B. Sundbergs unyielding determination and creativity
to infuse the pieces with life and vigour and bolster Orrefors
traditional position as a world leader in the field of art glass, not
least through the development of the Fabula technique.
Per B. Sundberg began his artistic career as a ceramics student at Capellagården
between 1983 and 1985. He then enrolled in the glass and ceramics programme
of the College of Arts, Crafts and Design (1985-90), where he distinguished
himself in a variety of imaginative projects. A coincidence led him
to the Gustavsberg porcelain factory and the discovery of old picture
strips destined for the rubbish heap. Initially, he used these to decorate
sinks and bathtubs, later to adorn lamp stands and ceramic radio sets.
Since 1994 he has been a member of the Orrefors design team.