Brigitte Saugstad studied ceramic art and design at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna under Prof. Matteo Thun. After completing her studies, the artist spent several months at the College of Art in New Delhi where she delved into the Indian mythology regarding the archetype of the ‘divine inner child’ — the elephant-headed god, Ganesha. Deeply moved and inspired by this experience, the artist has let him playfully dance through her hands over the years, and in all her works is woven this principle of the inner child — the embodiment of childlike joy, innocence and wisdom within.
Rather than provoke thought with her art, Brigitte Saugstad prefers to effect a state of thoughtless-awareness and release. The Italian art critic, Georgio Pilla, summarized Brigitte Saugstad’s art in the following words: “The nature of the works lies in the flowing movements, the gliding and the floating, that lend the sculptures and other objects an extraordinary impression of joy and lightness. At the same time the works radiate a strength and solidarity with the earth. It is this balance between dynamism and harmony that instantly attracts the observer and suffuses one with life.”
Born in Vienna, Brigitte Saugstad presently lives and works as an independent artist in Vienna and the countryside of Lower Austria.
Brigitte Saugstad studied ceramic art and design under Prof. Matteo Thun at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, Austria. After completing her studies she spent several months at the College of Art in New Delhi, India. In the Indian mythology she found inspiration for her art in the archetype of the ‘divine inner child’, Ganesha.
Ganesha - Sweetness of Life
The elephant god Ganesha has his roots on the Indian subcontinent. He is the wonderful symbol of the eternal child, joy, innocence and wisdom. Curiosity and fascination drive me to form this elephant out of clay.
Simple earth that slowly takes shape.
The prominent belly and plump arms and legs express the character of his sweet, childlike personality and complete satisfaction.
His movements are light and rhythmical, despite his corpulent body.
Out of his navel unfolds the motherly life energy in the form of a golden spiral.
The elephant head symbolises innocence and wisdom.
To defend these universal virtues he carries weapons in his hands and helps to overcome life’s obstacles with his powers.
Another hand holds sweets, a gift to satisfy hunger.
The fourth hand is raised to give blessings and good fortune.
With his broken tusk he writes the history of the universe.
Bejewelled like a king, sparkling with gold and precious stones, he sits there with his childlike smile.
These eternal attributes interweave the mythology with my artistic creations and let the elephant god Ganesha dance out of my hands.
The nature of the works lies in the flowing movements, the gliding and the floating, that lend the sculptures and other objects an extraordinary impression of joy and lightness.
The passion for dance, speed and movement led me as a child to figure skating. I won several European junior championships before I ended my young career as a figure skater. But the fascination for powerful and harmonic movement lives still within me.
The Ice Princesses appear to betake themselves up into the air
and fly towards the heavens.
Despite their robustness their corporeality dissolves.
What remains is the lightness of being, the gliding and uplifting,
the balance and the arresting of movement.
A captured moment of joy.
Rather than provoke thought with her art, Brigitte Saugstad prefers to effect a state of thoughtless-awareness and release.
Blossom Spheres - ViennaBloom
My homage to Vienna and the Vienna Workshops movement. Born in Vienna, I grew up surrounded by the ubiquitous presence of the Jugendstil/Art Nouveau movement. The Jugendstil epoch is of particular importance to the ceramic art and handcraft, thus it’s no wonder that I should draw inspiration for my artwork from the philosophy of the Vienna Workshops movement of that historical period. The ceramic works of that time mostly impress upon us a light, free and friendly world. The strong colours, playful decorations and love for detail are also an essential part of my artistic creations. The inner exuberance of Viennese Jungendstil ceramic sculptures can be discovered again in my works. The harmonic movements, the powerful curves and the abundance and luxuriance of the sculptures lend to my works their exceptional expression of joy, wellbeing and lightness. The ViennaBloom series is my homage to the Viennese ceramic art of the Jungendstil Vienna Workshops period.
Born out of earth
’I form this raw material, earth, with my hands guided by my own imagination, but it seeks to mysteriously elude me; the alchemistic process of firing adds surprising new elements each time. I shape the material and simultaneously it has its own power. I try to detect this elementary power within me through the conflicting process. The complementary opposites of stillness and movement, convex and concave, arise from the strong kneading and the fine curving and modelling. I shape the dampness and the softness, it dries and becomes matt and fragile, and through the transformation in the fire arises the firmness and shine. We too spring from the same ephemeral materials issuing from the Mother Earth. The rebirth through the fire brings something to life which transcends time.’
Dipping even deeper into Viennese ceramics, the small series “Treasure Chest” has a very special meaning for me. The lively, light, playful, and fun shapes and colors of this era have inspired me to set no limits to my own playfulness. Treasure Chest contains plenty of lovingly decorated blossom spheres, which are abundantly covered with gold, Vienna Bloom-Magic, Lucky Elephant-Magic, hearts, and small bowls. In Treasure Chest, I seek to pass on the joy and lightness which I feel and express in my magnificent and fine works. In the spirit of Wiener Werkstätte, every piece of this collection is unique, and is designed and produced with skilled craftsmanship and attention to detail.
The exclusive treasures make perfect wedding gifts, souvenirs, and presents for special occasions. They can also be used to decorate wedding tables, or as gifts for wedding guests. My works from Treasure Chest are also especially popular with tourists visiting Vienna and can be found in the ample showrooms of Österreichische Werkstätten at Kärntnerstrasse 6.