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The Artist

Kogga (Kolbrún Björgólfsdóttir b.1952) has been a highly influential presence on the Icelandic ceramics scene for some thirty years. 

Kogga's contribution to Icelandic ceramic art lies not only in the formal elegance and almost Mediterranean decorative sense exhibited by her works, but also in her groundbreaking “collagist” technique and commercial acumen. To date she is the only ceramic artist in Iceland who has been able to run a successful studio with open gallery

for any length of time. 

Kogga's earliest work, produced in the mid 1970s in the aftermath of her period of study at The Danish Design School in Copenhagen, flies in the face of the ceramic art she encountered there. In its decoration it referred to contemporary visual art, American abstract art in particular, rather than to the hallowed Danish ceramics tradition. Kogga also discovered that she preferred building up her pottery sculpturally to producing it at the wheel. 

The full flowering of Kogga's ceramic art dates from the late 1980s when she decided to concentrate on surface textures and patterns rather than on extending her vocabulary of forms. Thus she fastened on a number of standard shapes such as perfect spheres, pyramids, cubes and so on, combining them in utilitarian or sculptural pieces ranging from a few inches to majestic 5 feet in height. 

By then Kogga had found a way to inlay porcelain “drawings” into pieces of stoneware clay. This she would do before assembling these pieces into the larger surfaces of her bowls or urns, creating much admired “patchwork” effects that bring to mind shards of ancient pottery as well as images

from the frost-riven Icelandic landscape.

 

Adalsteinn Ingolfsson

Art Critic