We have visited the prominent Danish sculptor Kirsten Ortwed in her studio in the Italian town of Pietrasanta. In this visually enthralling video, you can watch Ortwed at work on her arresting sculptures and hear her thoughts on being an artist.
“You don’t follow the path in front of you. You don’t walk on it because it’s there. You walk, and the path arises.” Ortwed explains how she felt that making sculptures was such a challenging field that was worth pursuing because everything had been done before, pushing her to find her niche. Consequently, she has always been very experimental in her choice of materials – ranging from bronze, plaster stone and wood to aluminium, wax, and PU foam – because she wants to find new ways of approaching the sculpture: “I follow an idea and things happen along the way. The material determines the expression.” In continuation of this, Ortwed is not a fan of embellishing her work and feels some things must be left alone: “I don’t decorate a work. No, I try to take it down to the point where it’s as it should be.” Beauty, she emphasises, doesn’t interest her: “But I must admit that some things become attractive… If it looks how I want it to look – with a distinctness that gets the message across.”
Kirsten Ortwed (b. 1948) is a Danish artist. Ortwed is particularly noted for her striking sculptures in public spaces and her often unusual combination of materials. Solo exhibitions include Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nantes, The Living Art Museum in Reykjavik, and Malmö Kunsthal (with Lawrence Weiner and Barry Le Va), and in 1997 she represented Denmark at the Venice Biennale. Ortwed has realised several sculptures for public spaces, and in 2002 she was honoured with the Thorvaldsen Medal of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. She lives and works in Pietrasanta in Italy, close to the famous marble quarry, Carrara – the beauty of the local stone in Pietrasanta was first recognized by Michelangelo (1475-1564).
Kirsten Ortwed was interviewed by Roxanne Bagheshirin Lærkesen at her studio in Pietrasanta in Italy in October 2019.
Camera: Klaus Elmer
Edited and produced by Roxanne Bagheshirin Lærkesen
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2020
Supported by Nordea-fonden
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