Morten Løbner Espersen was born in 1965 in Aalborg, Denmark. He is one of the most successful Danish ceramists of his generation. Since he graduated in 1992, he has had quite a number of important exhibitions. His style of expression is a very personal one, which he has been faithful to throughout his career and is still exploring today.
For his exhibition at Puls Contemporary Ceramics he has made a large number of cylinders in various sizes. All work is hand built, in very rough stoneware, to obtain a structured, three-dimensional surface, where the glazes can lead a life of their own. The clear and simple form is like a canvas which pushes our attention towards the glaze. Espersen’s working method consists of superimposing glazes (layer on layer) to obtain the required result. Most of the vessels are even fired more than one time, because the desired expressive visual effect does rarely appear in the first firing. Reglazing adds several more layers. Espersen uses a numbering system to keep track of which glazes go on each piece. But despite of the large number of glaze tests, almost all work turns out in an unpredictable way. The result challenges us to accept new violent surfaces, which remind us of volcanic eruptions and natural catastrophes.
The former director of the Arts and Crafts Museum in Copenhagen, Kristian Jakobsen, describes his work as follows:
“Morten Løbner Espersen’s treatment of shapes, which he models and invests with a subtle relation between base, height, and curvature, is always clear. But to this clearness he manages to attach delicate monumentality which sometimes contains an almost minimalist intensity. Based on objective knowledge, and particularly on experience and experiment, his work with clay mass and glaze pushes the material to its practical and aesthetic limits. In combination with the codetermining life of the firing, this endows the finished works with a quality of presence which is quite unique.
It is evident that this method provides ample space for the play of intuition and sensitivity. Since his first work in 1992, Espersen’s development has been remarkably linear; he has accomplished a lot in a few years. The observer has reason to expect new and exciting departures, but what will they be? In modern Danish ceramics, Morten Løbner Espersen stands out as one of the most interesting and promising figures.