Terre Enfumée


Low temperature fired ceramics 1050° C, with the influence of smoke (alternating atmosphere) during the cooling.

The Torii of Steen Kepp
The focus of Steen Kepp´s creative quest has now turned towards a more inward-looking contemplative serenity. With the abandonment of the vessel as a recognisable and useful object, the new works seek to embody a search for dignity and silence.


His Torii insistently demand respect, even reverence, magically deploying that vocabulary of symbols which we associate with other powerful totems. His Cushions clearly contradict the idea of the container. They are rigid envelopes held in tension by an invisible interior pressure, their iridescent surface inveigling the ambient light into an ambiguous participation in the presence of the object. At no two times of day does it appear the same.

His coffers, similarly decked in this extraordinary coat of saturated copper, are evidently not boxes intended for any conventional kind of storage. Their lids are there as access to a void, access to a quiet carefully-defined volume nestling in the splendour of a jewel-like carapace; - an invitation, if ever there was one, to meditation on the intrinsic complementarity of emptiness at the heart of ritual splendour.

As in Steen´s earlier work when he adopted body and soul an excessively demanding Japanese technique, to then trace a lone and exemplary path across the European ceramic landscape, his new pieces set him apart once again as an artist who employs radical formal and technical innovations in a search for an intelligent synthesis of Japanese Oriental spirituality and the European cultural heritage. Nigel Atkins.

Extract from the article : Steen Kepp A bridge between East and West !
Published by Ceramics Art and Perception. No 45 2001.

Traditionally a Torii is the sacred portal which defines the entrance to a Shinto sanctuary.
The Japanese consider the original concept of the Torii to be one of a symbolic perch erected by the Gods to thank the birds for their help in restoring light to the world by bringing the sun-goddess Amaterasu out of her retirement.
The Torii are thus endowed with a symbolism which is both psychological and dynamic as they not only indicate a passage, but also invite the spectator to cross a sacred threshold.  
To pass through a Torii is to accept an invitation to voyage towards the beyond:  to move towards both the light of the sun and that of the divine spirit.
Lucy Kepp

My Torii are impressionistic works
in which the play of void and mass
evokes the primacy of human form .
The Torii  implies movement; from the profane                       
to the sacred, from ignorance to knowledge,
from darkness to light
S. Kepp.