CAFA Art Museum presents “Bundles of Energy” featuring ceramic art by Torbjørn Kvasbø

TEXT:CAFA ART INFO    DATE: 2022.11.10

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“Bundles of Energy: Torbjørn Kvasbø’s Ceramic Art” focuses on the artist’s creative practice over the past decade and showcases 23 artworks based on the formative elements of ‘tubes’ and ‘stacks.’ This is Torbjørn Kvasbø’s first solo exhibition in China. After debuting at CAFA Art Museum, it will be presented at Taoxichuan Art Gallery in Jingdezhen, Jiangxi Province in the spring of 2023.


Stack, red, 2009. Terracotta clay, extruded pipe elements roughly modelled together in centre of stack round a wheel-thrown bottom centre cone, white ball clay slip sprayed on, lead bisilicat-based glaze with red stain thickly applied, running glaze, kiln shelf, electric kiln. H 75 X Dia. 50 cm. Lillehammer Art Museum, Lillehammer, Norway. Photo: ArtPhoto Jørn Hagen03.jpgStakker, 2015. Terracotta.  H 120 x lengde 120 x bredde 100 cm. Photo: Torbjørn Kvasbø04.jpgTube sculpture, 2017. Terracotta, black and white clays. Electric fired. H 130 cm

The Honored guests that attended the opening included: Signe Brudeset, Norwegian ambassador in China; Qiu Wenyan, Culture Adviser of Norwegian Embassy in Beijing; Fan Di’an, President of Central Academy of Fine Arts, Chairman of China Artists Association and Chairman of Beijing Artists Association; Lyu Pinjing and Qiu Zhijie, Deputy Presidents of Central Academy of Fine Arts; Zhang Zikang, Director of CAFA Art Museum; Gao Gao, Deputy Director of CAFA Art Museum who also serves as curator for the exhibition; Feng Boyi, curator for the touring exhibition at Taoxichuan Art Gallery; and so on.

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Signe Brudeset, Norwegian ambassador in China, spoke at the opening ceremony.06 Qiu Zhijie, Deputy President of CAFA, delivered a speech..jpgQiu Zhijie, Deputy President of CAFA, delivered a speech.07 Lyu Pinchang, Deputy President of Jingdezhen Ceramic University, addressed the opening ceremony through a video..pngLyu Pinchang, Deputy President of Jingdezhen Ceramic University, addressed the opening ceremony through a video.09 Gao Gao, Deputy Director of CAFA Art Museum, chaired the opening ceremony..jpgGao Gao, Deputy Director of CAFA Art Museum, chaired the opening ceremony.

Torbjørn Kvasbø addressed the opening through a video sent from Norway showed that it took him 47 years to be exhibited at CAFA Art Museum from a small village in Norway. 

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There are only 300 residents living in Venabygd where he was born, and his work tells the stories of their life, their culture and the rhythm of body between work and life in such a mountain climate. He believes that everything alive is like liquid, and life depends on distribution and transmission of this liquid, thus the ‘tubes’ become the most important premise of life. The ‘tubes’ series is inspired from the human blood vessel system. He believes that our body fluid represents not just life, but it also indicates impermanency. While creating mainly with clay, he also feels that the power of resisting materials is parallel to the many energies he cannot control in life. These works reflect a cathartic process and a real life experience.

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Exhibition View

Torbjørn Kvasbø is such an important ceramic artist in Norway that this exhibition is an important milestone in his artistic career, said Ms. Brudeset in her speech addressed to the audience at the opening ceremony. As a time-honored art genre, ceramic art can be dated to the earliest time of civilization in both the East and West. Meanwhile, it is also a creative art form that bridges the past and the present. The exhibition is seen as an important component of the long-term cultural interaction between Norway and China, and hopefully it will initiate more cooperation in the academic field.

About the artist

8ff922b8fd9f7631e2a87926f22f8889.jpegWorkshot of Torbjørn Kvasbø. Image Courtesy HOSTLER|BURROWS.

Torbjørn Kvasbø (Norwegian, b. 1953) is a ceramic artist of international acclaim, with a career spanning several decades. He lives and works in Venabygd, Norway. His practice is primarily work that challenges and pushes his own personal boundaries as well as the physical extent of the medium. His Stacked series of monumentally scaled works is an archetypal vessel shape–made by hand-modeled stacked cylindric tubes–and reimagined in a spiraling form. It is also conceptually a body, a three dimensional torso with gestures and a state of mind. Of his work and process Kvasbo states “my work process in the clay medium offers a lot of resistance, and it reveals to me the forces over which I have no control – the incalculable elements of my inner being. My emotions and feelings are physically discharged into the work, and they become actual experiences themselves.” Through this transference of mental and emotional energy into a physical sculpture, Kvasbo is continuing in the centuries-old tradition of the artist as alchemist.

Kvasbo was the Professor and Head of the Ceramics Department at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden from 1996-2000. From 2000-2008, he was Professor and Head of the Ceramic and Glass Department at Konstfack, Stockholm, Sweden. He has exhibited widely and internationally.

About the exhibition


Dates: 25 October-25 November 10, 2022

Venue: Gallery 3A, CAFA Art Museum

Organizer: CAFA Art Museum

Supporting Organizations: Norway Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norwegian Embassy in Beijing, Norwegian Association for Arts and Crafts

Chief Consultant: Fan Di’an

Academic Director: Qiu Zhijie

Guest Academic Consultant: Lyu Pinchang

Exhibition Directors: Zhang Zikang, Han Wenchao

Exhibition Coordinator: Wang Chunchen

Curator: Gao Gao

Courtesy of CAFA Art Museum, edited by CAFA ART INFO.