BODIL MANZ

2 - 24 November 2005


“Artistic quality is always to be found where a person is really passionate about examining something”.

This quotation is taken from an interview with Bodil and Richard Manz in 1983. It beautifully sums up Bodil Manz’s artistic development, thanks to a sophisticated sensory apparatus, the drive to persistently search for materials and expression, and her enormous diligence. The work produced over the many years extends the entire ceramic language, from workshop to factory production of objects for everyday use to ceramic adornment, and during the whole course of career, the wonderful and magical one-offs.

Around 1990 Bodil Manz began the intense development of the cylinders that are a culminating point in her work. The cylinders are cast and made of white, translucent and crisp porcelain. They are manifold in size and character, some smooth, others with relief and all applied with transfer decoration, which melts into the rough porcelain in the firing. Through the transparency of the thin biscuit the outside and inside decoration becomes one composition, one image.

Bodil Manz is the graphic artist of ceramic arts par excellence, whether she draws with a fine delicate line, as personal as handwriting, or uses saturated blue, black, red areas that can attain endless variation and richness, but are always linear. Bodil Manz’s excellence is in this transformation of the geometric-abstract world of shapes from a surface decoration into a three-dimensional piece of work. In spite of the ultra-thin walls and transparency of the cylinders they stand with weight on their base, thanks to their precision and the vigorous power of the decoration. This contradiction is part of their magic.

There is also magic in their apparent relationship with another culminating point in the history of ceramics in the 20th century, the Russian revolutionary avant-garde porcelain created by the Suprematists. Its prime mover, Kazimir Malevich, writes precisely about the energy which originates from the relationship between black and white, with the colours as the connecting rhythm of their geometry.

With these ceramics Bodil Manz has written herself into the modern history of ceramic art.

Bodil Busk Laursen - Director, Danish Museum of Art & Design