This excerpt from the Danish poet Inger Christensen’s ‘Letter in April’ (trans. Susanna Nied) from 1979 invites us to consider ourselves and the rest of the world on the object’s terms. This perspective has served as the basis for Pernille Pontoppidan Pedersen’s solo exhibition The Object I Am, which opens at K ppe Contemporary Objects on 24 July.
In the creative process, the material almost becomes a sort of subject that answers back, expresses feelings, has a memory. The final piece is the product of an interaction between the two – in this case, the artist and the clay. In Pernille Pontoppidan Pedersen’s own description, her engagement with the clay springs from an accumulation of energy and restlessness and observations of unusual encounters and the conflicts they give rise to.
Her works are easily decoded, free from contrived or speculative precepts and, most importantly, unpredictable, as a result of her deliberately impulsive process. These conversations with the object – clay, wood, glaze – are the overarching theme of The Object I Am.
‘I wish to meet the object on equal footing and allow the dialogue to set the course. How can the object and I coexist on equal terms? How does the object exist independent of human perception, and can it exist on its own terms? The exhibition examines the object as something other and more than inanimate materiality – as something that is imbued with insight, knowledge, feelings and lived experience,’ says Pernille and underscores the crucial importance of dialogue.
The American philosopher Graham Harman has formulated the theory of Object-Oriented Ontology, which claims that objects and human beings are equal and that it should be mandatory to embrace a perception of reality that goes beyond the common anthropocentric worldview: ‘All such objects must be accounted for by ontology, not merely denounced or reduced to despicable nullities,’ he writes. Pernille Pontoppidan Pedersen’s works of art thus enter into a mutual dialogue with each other that takes place on the same terms as their dialogue with the viewer.
Pernille Pontoppidan Pedersen is a ceramic sculptor who lives and works on farm outside the Danish town of Silkeborg. Her engagement with the clay springs from an accumulation of energy and restlessness and observations of unusual encounters and the conflicts they give rise to. She is guided by impulses and intuition, which imbues the form and expression of the individual pieces with a quality of unpredictability.
Pernille Pontoppidan Pedersen has held several exhibitions both in Denmark and abroad. Her works are included in the collections of Musee des Arts Decoratifs in Paris and CLAY Museum of Ceramic Art Denmark and in the Erik Veistrup Collection. She is a participantin the Danish Arts Foundation’s career promotion programme Den Unge Kunstneriske Elite (The Young Artistic Elite) 2021–22.