Fredrikstad, Norway born 1945
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Materials & Technique: metalwork, tea services, sterling silver, ebony: raised, fabricated and polished
Ragnar Hansen was born in Frederikstad, Norway and trained as a silversmith from 1961 to 1967. Hansen’s work is grounded in the Scandinavian modernist craft tradition, with its emphasis on fluid form, unadorned surfaces and functionalism. The reflective nature of polished metal is an important quality in Norwegian design, suggesting the value of light in this region. Hansen’s transference of this quality to the Australian context has been one of his major successes, achieved by relaxing the formal rigour of Norwegian functionalism while reinterpreting its traditions of romanticism to reflect design imagery influenced by Australia’s natural environment. In this tea service, the utensils become as fluid as the liquid they contain, suggestive of the refractions of water flowing over rocks and inviting the touch of the hand.
Hansen moved to Canberra in 1981 to teach gold and silversmithing at the Canberra School of Art.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Anne Gray (ed), Australian art in the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2002