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Statens Værksteder for Kunst

is Birgitte Due Madsen´s favourite place in the world.

She is making a series of podiums. The wood, Doug-las pine, was sponsored by Dinesen. It lies stacked on a pallet in the corner, waiting for her

Excerpt from HÅNDVÆRK bookazine no. 10 about Birgitte Due Madsen

Birgitte Due Madsen, born 1973
2008 MA (Product Design), Royal Danish Academy
Lives in Copenhagen and works in Frederiksberg

The Danish Art Workshops is an institution under the Mini- stry of Culture Denmark, located in the former warehouse Gammel Dok in Copenhagen’s Christianshavn district. The place offers nine studios in various sizes as well as fully equipped special-purpose workshops to facilitate art, de- sign, crafts, architecture and conservation.

Professional practitioners can apply for (free) residencies of varying duration.

Each workshop has consultants and workshop super- visors attached who are trained craftspeople and artists with many years of experience.

Her works have frequently featured in both Danish and international design magazines.

Not least, her ‘Form Index’ has received considerable attention: a large but highly coherent collection of experiments cast in gypsum, each object refined to become a small sculpture in its own right. Her pastel-coloured resin Poly Table and her gypsum lamps Neon Cast with neon light tubes have also drawn attention.

She brings up this project when I call her to arrange a meeting. I sense that, like many other designers, she is currently moving towards a more artistic, studiobased practice, rather than creating designs for commercial mass production.

 

The use of the term ‘collectible design’ relates this field to the art market. Originally applied to vintage furniture by designers who are now deceased, the usage has since spread to other contexts.

In recent years, contemporary experimental crafts- and materials-based objects have also been described as ‘collectible design’ or ‘functional art’, rather than the more traditional term crafts/arts and crafts objects. The new definition and the platforms that market and sell collectibles have indisputably helped to revitalize the field.

 

Our next meeting is at the Danish Art Workshops

Birgitte’s favourite place in the world.

She is making a series of podiums. The wood, Doug- las pine, was sponsored by Dinesen. It lies stacked on a pallet in the corner, waiting for her.

‘I spent one and a half month at the Danish Art Workshops over the summer while the workshop supervisor was on holiday. My project was pretty ambitious, and before he went away, I made sure that I could operate the machinery and had been introduced to the logic of the various tools.

In a pinch, of course, there is always YouTube,’ she says and points to a machine that could cause serious bodily harm to an unskilled operator

he adds, ‘There’s great freedom in fully mastering a craft, but here, by contrast, I have experienced the freedom in coming in without prior knowledge.

My process has alternated between drawings and subsequent learnings, which I record in writing to be able to reproduce the process if I need to.’

By now, the podiums – which could also be seen as side tables or stools or simply objects – have been sanded to a smooth finish.

Cautiously, I ask what happens when the wood be- gins to shrink and expand in response to the interior climate it is ultimately placed in.

‘It will change. Wood is a living material, and I have made my peace with that.’

 

Birgitte Due madsens arbejder har været hyppigt vist i både danske og internationale designmagasiner.

Ikke mindst har hendes “Form Index” fået meget opmærksomhed. Der er tale om en omfattende, men stram kollektion af formeksperimenter støbt i gips, hvert objekt forfinet til et niveau, hvor det i egen ret er en lille skulptur. Hendes pastelfarvede resin-sideborde Poly Table og hendes gipslamper Neon Cast med neon som lyskilde har ligeledes påkaldt sig opmærksomhed.

Hun fortæller det, da jeg skriver og spørger, om vi kan tale sammen, fordi jeg fornemmer, at hun, ligesom mange andre designere, for tiden retter blikket mod en mere artistisk og værkstedsbaseret praksis, frem for at forlade sig på at udkomme hos designvirksomhederne.

 

Brugen af begrebet ‘collectible’ i forbindelse med design læner sig op ad kunstmarkedet og har været i brug i en årrække. Udtrykket dækkede oprindelig vintagemøbler af afdøde designere.

De senere år har også ny-producerede eksperimenterende håndværks- og materialebaserede objekter været omtalt som ‘collectible design’ eller ‘functional art’, i stedet for som tidligere som håndværk og kunsthåndværk.
Den nye definition og de platforme, som markedsfører og sælger collectibles, har uomtvisteligt været med til at revitalisere feltet.

Vi mødes anden gang på Statens Værksteder for Kunst

Af alle steder på jorden Birgittes foretrukne.

Hun er i gang med at fremstille en serie podier. Træet, som er Douglas-fyr, har hun fået sponsoreret af Dinesen. Det står på en palle i hjørnet og venter på, at hun bearbejder det.

 

Statens Værksteder for Kunst (SFK) er en institution under Kulturministeriet beliggende i Gammel Dok Pakhus på Christianshavn. SFK rummer ni atelierer i varierende størrelse, foruden fuldt udstyrede specialværksteder inden for kunst, design, kunsthåndværk, arkitektur og konservering.

Professionelle udøvere kan søge (gratis) ophold i kortere eller længere perioder.

Til hvert værksted er der tilknyttet konsulenter og værkstedsledere, som er fagligt uddannede håndværkere og kunstnere med mange års erfaring.

 

Jeg har været her på Statens Værksteder i 1½ måned over sommeren, mens værkstedslederen har været på ferie. Mit projekt var ret ambitiøst, og inden han gik fra, sikrede jeg mig, at jeg kunne betjene maskinparken og var introduceret til logikken i de forskellige værktøjer.

Endelig er der jo YouTube at ty til”, lægger hun ud og peger på en maskine som i ukyndige hænder kunne være farlig for førligheden. Hun fortsætter:

Der er en stor frihed i at kunne et håndværk til bunds, men her har jeg på den anden side oplevet, at der også er en frihed forbundet med ikke at vide på forhånd.

Jeg har arbejdet i en vekselvirkning mellem mine tegninger og efterrationaliseringer, som jeg har noteret, på den måde er det muligt at reproducere, hvis det skulle blive nødvendigt.

Podierne – man kunne også kalde dem sideborde eller taburetter eller blot værker – er nu slebet helt glatte. Jeg spørger forsigtigt, hvad der sker, når træet begynder at arbejde afhængig af indeklimaet i det, de placeres i.

De vil arbejde og dermed forandres, træ er et levende materiale, og den omstændighed har jeg sluttet fred med.

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