Bente Kluge was born in Yellowknife, Canada and raised in Norway. From 1979 to 1983, she studied costume design at the Norwegian National Academy of Craft and Art Industry in Oslo. Her interest in sculpture developed gradually.
In 1994, Kluge moved to Poland and began to study at the art academy in Gdańsk, receiving an a MA in sculpture in 2000. Since 1994, the artist has lived and worked in Sopot, Poland. Inspired by various cultures and periods in history, Kluge’s work crosses multiple borders, exploring the meaning of human existence. Kluge works in bronze, ceramics, stone, wood and mixed media.
Kluge has exhibited in multiple galleries in Poland and Norway since 1983, and has received a three year grant from the Norwegian foreign Department.
I have always been a collector. I collect thoughts, impressions, hazy ideas and memories.
My mind is continuously engaged in a creative process that sometimes emerges in the tangible forms of my figurative sculptures. It is difficult for me to define the meaning of my works in words, so I prefer not to, letting my sculptures speak for themselves.
“Bente Kluge’s sculptures contemplate human existence encouraging reverie and reflection. Rather than eliciting cheerfulness, they guide viewers to alternate realms “on the other side of the self ”, which are often left undiscovered.
The artist’s sculptures conjure the physical and the imaginary world in a balanced way – quietly, calmly, without aggression, and sometimes colourfully. Through her works, Kluge conveys, or perhaps reminds us, of timeless, important truths: the ephemerality of power, the clownery of politicians and the powerful, the entanglement of individuals, their incapacity, and, finally, our equality before the passing of time.
The forms of these sculptures do not contain excessive details or unnecessary expression. The modest modelling, well-balanced proportions and rhythm of composition, provide these small works with monumental gravity and raw beauty.
Kluge makes her sculptures using many different materials: ceramics, glass, wood, steel sheets and bronze. Before casting them in bronze, she models her works in wax and it is this particular material which deter – mines the form, surface, and texture of the sculptures. Wax must be handled relatively fast because of its temperature – providing only a short time for making formal decisions. As a result, the sculptures reveal traces of the hands that touched them.
The artist’s use of the banal material – polyester resin – is surprisingly pertinent. It’s transparency and luminosity combined with the use of colour, highlight the author’s ethos. Kluge’s sculptures bear the characteristics of her previous work as a puppet designer and reference the experience gained from her studies at the sculpture studio of Prof. Edward Sitek at the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdansk. Yet she adds a uniquely individual stamp to her art. A message of warmth and kindness from a wise, careful observer of life and a sensitive artist.”
(About Bente’s Sculptures: Prof. Sławoj Ostrowski)