Morten Klitgaard’s art exemplifies perfectly how crucial technical skill is for artistic innovation. His work revolves around material and technique, and through his mastery of these two core aspects he has developed a unique artistic expression, grasp of form and material approach.
Morten Klitgaard’s original interest in glass was sparked by his fascination with the working process: the finely choreographed ‘dance’ when the glass-blowers at Holmegaard Glassworks assumed their precise positions to create an object in smooth, closely coordinated movements. This skilled performance fascinates many people and is often the first step for anyone who ends up working with glass.
Glass has occupied a central place in Morten Klitgaard’s life ever since his childhood in Lønstrup on the Danish North Sea coast. After lengthy internships with some of Denmark’s leading glass-blowers and a BA from The Danish Royal Academy on Bornholm he now has his own studio and practice.
Like many of his generation, he aims to visualize the physical processes of the materials. Instead of a more traditional, planned approach, form and ornamentation emerge through his engagement with the material by means of air and fire. The result is an often raw and accidental expression, an aesthetic that seems to reproduce the forces of nature. The young generation has grown up with the awareness that nature is under threat, that all materials are precious, and that humankind, in our excessive need for conquest and innovation, have destroyed and depleted irreplaceable resources. The result is an aesthetic where natural is beautiful, and where natural materials do not need to be cultivated but instead contain an inherent beauty that is good (GOD).
It is this background – from a child’s fascination to a profound grasp of material possibilities and meaning – that forms the foundation of Morten’s current practice.
His pieces balance between the recognizably familiar and the supernatural. They are heavy, raw, masculine. The notion that these pieces are ‘man-made’, even ‘mouth-made’, is received with scepticism – certainly, they must be ceramics, not glass, which is associated with a different set of qualities. The rapidity of the process, in contrast to the slow ceramic techniques, has a crucial impact on the objects’ suppleness of form and their surface ornamentation.
A common quality of the groups Metamorphosis, Fosforit, Voir, Oro, Flux and Origin that Morten has been working on over the past four years is that the spontaneity of the glass process is manifested in their expression. The longer he works to perfect the technique, the simpler the forms become. The natural form is created by gravity, by the air blown into the glass and by his technical mastery.
Most of all, the pieces resemble monoliths from outer space, eggs laid by an extra-terrestrial alien or maybe a new variety of stone. This is something as rare as masculine glass, liberated from the classic ‘pretty’ qualities that are often associated with glass but still maintaining its power of fascination, beauty and natural presence.