White hand-moulded, high-fired porcelain sheets that have been held over a flame from a candle. The flame creates black stripes of soot on the surface of the porcelain. The sheets are placed on a wooden board that has been blackened by a torch.
The wet clays is thrown into sheets that are 8 mm thick. When the clay is leather-hard the sheets are shaped by cutting and scraping. Some of the edges are re-moistened and pulled into thin fringe-like protrusions. The sculpted sheets dry again under pressure to prevent cracking. They are then fired at 1260 degrees Celsius, laid flat in a large industrial kiln on the island of Bornholm. After firing, each sheet is held over the flame from a candle. The flame blackens the porcelain, leaving long black streaks of soot.
‘Carbon Black’ came out of an investigation of what happens if fire and heat are treated as a sculptural material, driven by a fascination with the flame that stretches upwards, blackening everything under its tongue. In a process resembling photography, the soot sticks to the porcelain, leaving an imprint of the flame – of something alive and uncontrollable.
Porcelain, soot, wood
L 200 x W 70 cm
Artist and ceramist, b. 1987
Petra Dalström creates sculptural and kinetic installations in a wide range of materials, from the tangible, such as wood, lead, clay, wax or cotton, to the more fleeting, such as fire, air or water. She explores the functional and sensuous qualities of materials by observing and testing them in an effort to discern their inherent logic; their particular language.
In recent years, her focus has been on basic physical phenomena such as gravity, time, light, fire and air, which affect the performance of tangible materials and thus the function and form they are assigned. Her works often employ low-tech processes (such as capillary action, surface tension or thermodynamics) to generate a movement or a development: a drop creating a sound, water evaporating, wax melting and taking on a new form. Fascinated with the fundamental workings of nature, she explores the physical world through studies of the materials that serve as the foundation of our existence.
Education and practice
2017: residency in Onishi, Japan
2015: BA in Design, Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Design, Bornholm
Traineeships with Linda Karlsson (Sweden), Rose Eken (Denmark), Christin Johansson (Sweden/Denmark) and Jared Theis (USA)
Selected collaborations and projects
2017: publication about the solo exhibition ’Light Bends, casts shadows’, authored by Maria L. Willassen, published by Tag Team Text
Selected grants and honours
2018: Norwegian Association for Arts and Crafts, Kunsthåndverkernes Fond, three-year working grant
2016: Critics’ Award at Trøndelagsutstillingen
2015: Danmarks Nationalbank’s Anniversary Foundation of 1968, grant
2017: ‘Light bends, casts shadows’, solo exhibition, Tag Team Studio, Bergen, Norway
2017: ‘Mother Tongue’, Shiro Oni Studio, Onishi Gunma Prefecture, Japan
2017: ’Vestlandsutstillingen’, Art Centre Kabuso, Kube, Haugesund Kunstforening, Kunsthall Stavanger, Sunnfjord Kunstlag, Norway
2016: ’Vattnet sinar, Jorden tystnar’, Hordaland kunstsenter, Bergen, Norway
2016: Kunstnernes Efterårsudstilling (Artists’ Autumn Exhibition), Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art, Copenhagen