A refreshing dynamism has taken over a listed yellow building and former port authority office along the Rønne waterfront. This is where ceramist Michael Geertsen and architect Bettina Køppe recently opened the doors to Geertsen’s demonstration workshop and Køppe Contemporary Objects, a gallery of international calibre.
Køppe Contemporary Objects is a gallery and presentation platform for sculptural objects where art and craft art converge. The gallery hosts both a permanent exhibition and a changing exhibition of primarily Nordic artists of the world elite. Køppe works closely together with a small group of artists, including Bornholm artists, who focus on the possibilities inherent in their materials and the history of traditional craftsmanship and techniques. They work in traditional materials such as glass, ceramics, wood and textiles. The artists explore the significance of objects in terms of function and iconography. Based on the tradition of their craft, they share a common approach of interpreting and experimenting to infuse their works of art with contemporary relevance.
Michael Geertsen’s workshop is housed at the same address behind a blue door at the end of the building, where he welcomes visitors during gallery opening hours. A wide selection of his new and older works are also on display in the gallery. Michael Geertsen is an internationally established name, represented in venues such as the Metropolitan Museum in New York, Designmuseum Danmark in Copenhagen, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Bornholm Art Museum.
It is also possible to see his works throughout 2021 at the exhibition ‘Geertsen vs Hjorth’ at Hjorths Fabrik, Krystalgade, Rønne, where he has collaborated with Bornholms Museum to process the vast heritage of Hjorth’s back catalogue.
Køppe and Geertsen are must-see visits during a stay on Bornholm for anyone interested in contemporary craft art.
Michael Geertsen was originally a potter. After completing his apprenticeship in 1988, he became a qualified industrial designer from the Royal Danish Academy – Architecture, Design, Conservation. He never let go of hand-thrown ceramics as his artistic medium. All of his works are made on a potter’s wheel, usually in earthenware, and composed into contemporary artistic statements evoking the history of ceramics.
The artists represented by Køppe Contemporary Objects are graduates of schools of design or art and specialise in a single material. Most of them are represented in museum collections in Denmark and abroad. The historical background for their craft is the workshop production of utility ware, usually for the home, but now their works are given new meaning. Functionality is no longer the prime objective, as the objects often embody a further development of techniques and new studies of the materials’ inherent potential. The artists have profound knowledge of their material and process it themselves, while taking a conceptual approach to the craft at the same time, thus challenging the boundary between art and craft art.