Sabine Popp

Sabine Popp

Office:CSgt 55, 7.etasje

Sabine Popp is a research fellow at the Fine Arts department.

She gained a MA degree in Ceramics from Bergen Academy of Art and Design in 2001, with guest studies at the University of Barcelona (Sculpture) and at the Glasgow School of Arts (Environmental Art). Her practice has been mainly based on site-specific, temporary projects, following her interests for life in the High North, with residencies at Svalbard and in Iceland, Greenland and Finland. She has been involved in cross-disciplinary projects and shown work in Scandinavia, Slovakia and the UK.

Sabine Popp is member of the studio collective Bergen Ateliergruppe.

Areas of expertise: site and place, object, sculpture, installation, clay and ceramic processes


Photo: The Order and Disorder of Things (Melkiens Pris)

Artistic research focus
Point of departure in Sabine Popp's work is the exploration of a specific geographical place und human beings' relation to it. The investigation of mutual impact between mental and physical conditions is based on the notion of place as a framework for the structure of daily life, where the individual's self-understanding is manifested in interaction with the physical. This can be regarded to be in contradiction to the fact that we today in most cases relate to place as mediated in different ways.

Popp has in her research investigated various approaches to physical matter: from observation and monitoring to extracting and processing of rawmaterials and necessary logistical structures for transport (for matter as mass and as produced object). Throughout the years art works have evolved on site, where a variety of (archival) material based on knowledge from different sources, and gained from dialogue with representatives for specific professional or social groups, is brought in conjunction with her own subjective experience based on corporeal geography. It is not always obvious throughout the process, what is what, and perspectives are allowed to blur into eachother. The process has often resulted in an installation which takes advantage of the site's materiality, combined with technology like video, photography or sound. The work might be seen as a kind of temporary new-structuring and registration of the existing rather than a new element added to the site - more based on observation than the making. 

In recent years several projects started from research in arctic and subarctic areas, where geographical location and surrounding nature has crucial impact on small communities' daily life. These places are thought of as models with a laboratory-like situation in their remoteness (in relation to complex systems of a larger society). What is a driving force in research methods is the need to transfer experience from this work to areas which are rather regarded the centres of our societies, and where relation to physicality and matter might mean something completely different due to increasing mediation and advanced processing methods. What interests are the gaps and frictions which occur in fluid and transcient societies, and how these moments open up for a refiguration of our relation to surroundings. 

The method of corporeal geography, which is the foundation of all of Popp's work, is an insistence on the necessity of bodiliy involvement in examination. In the course of her investigations she tries to grasp processes of transformation, which space and communities undergo due to historical, climate or socio-economic developments and changes.


Photo: Values and Measurements

Artistic Research Projects
Projects have been carried out related to longer and repeated residencies  - with shifting contacts to hunters, scientists, employées in industries or actors in other types of use/processing/observations of natural resources. The most recent project Work Study (carried out in participation in the larger project Topographies of the Obsolete) can be read in the light of Hannah Arendt's writing on the differentiation between labour, work and action, where interaction with the formerly processed clay is substituted by interaction with the empty site and left office papers.

Work Study started out from the idea of efficiancy of action and movement related to production at the former Spode factory, site of 230 years ceramic manufacturing. Archives of schemes for following up, exercising and renewing working processes of the last decade before the factory's closure, were found spread over the floor of an office space. The work study system was turned hollow and absurd with the ending of production. The project aimes at examining and acting out this absurdity in exchange with different dialogue partners in a broader cultural field. 

One outcome of the project was the installation Work Study (Exercises in Creating a Short Circuit), presented as part of Vociferous Void, a group exhibition shown inside the frame of The British Ceramic Bienniale 2013.

Research Based Teaching

  • "Construction and Formlessness - Dwelling"

The course introduced a variety of basic techniques for clay and plaster processes, wood or metall constructions, and disseminates the notion of being and dwelling, the home and belonging in a mobile/ migrant society.

  • "Site Anatomy"

Popp has contributed with lectures to the group sessions discussing and testing a variety of approaches to terms like site, place and space.


 Photo: Contact Zone

Bergen Ateliergruppe

Published: 3/18/2014 by Astri Kamsvåg Updated: 3/19/2015 by admin