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Bertil Vallien

March 2 – April 21, 2024

Swedish sculptor, potter, artist and designer with an affection for glass art

For more than 60 years Beril Vallien (born 1938) has been famous among glass lovers for his idiosyncratic style. He’s primarily known for his sand cast sculptures – glass vessels, boats and heads.

Bertil studied for Stig Lindberg at Konstfack, the University of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm, and graduated first in his class. He was awarded the royal scholarship, which made it possible for him to study at the University of Southern California.

Bertil Vallien has won a number of international awards and accolades, among them Artist of the Future and the Medal of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences for his work as a designer. In 2022 he was awarded the Glass Art Society’s Visionary Award, one of the most prestigious awards a glass artist can recieve.

Though his long career Bertil Vallien has exhibited all over the world and his art is in museums and collections both in Sweden and abroad.

KKAM is proud to start the year with this Bertil Vallien exhibition. Bertil will show pottery, mainly from the 1960s and 70s, plus drawings made by him at the museum.

We welcome this 85 year old multi-artist and his beautiful pottery to Höganäs.

Carpaint & Clay – sculptures from the 1960s

It starts with the clay. The lump. The amorphous piece that needs to be liberated. The hands transform the lump and bring it out of the dark.

Michelangelo did it to marble, he knew what was hiding deep inside its safe. In the same way Bertil teased objects and forms from the lump.

– Look, he says, what I found in the lumpish lump. Eureka! A horse! A monster! A teapot!

So much turned into spheres in his hands, back in the 60s before glass took over. Small spheres that stuck to the large globe. Yellow and red. Something with an organism. Something with eggs. Something with time fit to burst and the half-finished sky.

In 1967 it became a city for Gustavsbergs Porcelain: Baghdad. With temples and towers and mosque. A serial production typical for a time when art should set people free and make everyone whole.

But the large, unique ceramic pieces that Bertil once started to exhibit in Los Angeles (sold out on opening day) have teased him all these years.

These delicate vessels in natural clay, childhood dreams set adrift. These bodies of imagination in yellow and blue carpaint, that invade the room, surreal and anxious as horses in boxes.

Everything was there, in the lump of clay. Waiting for his hands. When we talk about ceramics, Bertil says that he always wants to go back there. Now he arrives in Höganäs and unpacks the crates of works from the early 1960s, that have been almost forgotten in storage.

The exhibition is more or less a sensational return. Welcome!

Staffan Bengtsson