Geertsen in a dialogue with Kähler ceramics
The exhibition Geertsen VERSUS is a potter’s dialogue with his historical origins. In 15 tableaux, Geertsen juxtaposes his own works with selected pieces from the Kähler family’s expansive product range over four generations between 1839 and 1974. The presentation demonstrates a kinship which is not only reflected in parallels in form, glaze and technique but also in a shared mind-set with roots reaching back to Antiquity. Much of Michael Geertsen’s ceramic art production has been driven by opportunism, based on the notion that everything that preceded the modern breakthrough was ‘bourgeois’ ceramics. After 25 years of working with clay, however, he has now come to acknowledge that most things have already been tried and done, which makes repetition an ever-present factor. The inherent logic of clay and the fundamental explorations of the materials remain the same across time and cultures. It is this collective kinship among potters across the ages that is the exhibition’s focus.
In Næstved Museum’s large collection of ceramics from Kähler’s workshops in Næstved, Geertsen has selected individual works ranging from magnificent showpiece vases, presented at World Fair expositions in the late 1800s and early 1900s, to everyday products and ocarina flutes shaped like animals. The historical pieces are juxtaposed with pieces from Geertsen’s own production over the past 20 years ranging from one-off gallery pieces exhibited in New York to small candlesticks mass-produced in China.