Collect is an annual international contemporary art fair held by the Crafts Council, now its 14th year. It brings together 40 galleries from around the world to London’s Saatchi Gallery. The display of beautiful objects was a feast for the eyes. Several works demonstrated remarkable techniques with the most unlikely materials, such as these fabric sculptures by Simone Pheulpin (pictured above – Entrez dans la danse). Here are just a few of the incredible contemporary sculpture pieces exhibited this year.
Grant Aston / The Cynthia Corbett Gallery
Consonance is part of a collection of works by Grant Aston, exhibited as part of the Young Masters Art Prize with The Cynthia Corbett Gallery. Mainly working in clay, his works are often informed by architecture, the body and biology. Here he has combined clay, metal and pieces of period furniture to create curious objects resembling four legged beasts.
In a statement for Messums Wiltshire the artist explains that the creatures are inspired by a Greek lion sculpture from the Parthenon galleries at the British Museum. He says:
‘The Ancient Greek Lion suggests to me of mounted dinosaur skeletons, shapes of bone turned into stone over an period of time impossible to comprehend. I am drawn to using period furniture within my sculpture as I see it as an equivalent, a relic surviving from an earlier time. Furniture by its nature carries references to the body and to function, it is designed to interact with us physically, its shape and solidity echo that of bone structures.’
Photo by Michael Harvey.
Irina Razumovskaya / Officine Saffi
Construct (2017) is a beautifully minimalist body of ceramic work by Irina Razumovskaya. Frequently visiting the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersberg from the age of 5, her favourite sections were the prehistoric and Northern Renaissance rooms. This combined with an education in ancient languages informed an interest in the culture and context surroundings objects from the past. She says,
‘At the core of my practice is subtle imagery, like the ageing of architecture where rigid things are softened with the touch of time, the antiquated objects of past that we no longer remember how to use, and uncertain rituals, preformed by unknowable participants.’
Jongjin Park / The Cynthia Corbett Gallery
South Korean artist Jongjin Park was also exhibiting as part of the Young Masters Art Prize with The Cynthia Corbett Gallery. He paints thin layers of paper towel with clay slip and pigment which he then layers in their hundreds and thousands. He developed the technique whilst researching for his MA thesis at Cardiff University. Despite their seemingly sponge like appearance, the objects are robust enough to be cut and sanded into blocks. See more of these amazing creations on his Instagram page.
Jochen Ott / Peter Layton London Glassblowing
Jochen Ott studied glass making in Bavaria before securing a place on a European Exchange Programme which enabled him to spend seven months at Peter Layton London Glassblowing. Here, his work has been described as ‘Bold, brave, almost tortured, his works have something incredibly raw at the heart – seemingly hewn from bits of lava or carved from the depths of a volcano.’
The artist takes inspiration from the tranquility and rawness of nature, but says he is not precious about giving one meaning to his work, that every viewer ‘should’ be able to interpret. Pictured above, Scandium II (2016) – Champagne optical glass, cut, carved and polished. See the artist at work here:
Kari Furre / Guilded
Exhibiting with Guilded, Kari Furre is a Devon-based sculptor, metalsmith and outdoor swimming enthusiast, who makes objects from fish leather. The fish skin would otherwise be discarded and is tanned sustainably using oil and willow bark, a traditional Nordic method. Pictured – Oil tanned Gurnard bowl, with brass edging and stand.
Simone Pheulpin / Maison Parisienne
Simone Pheulpin represented by Maison Parisienne, is an award-winning French textile sculptor who makes incredible organic formations from meticulously folded pieces of fabric. Her chosen textile is rough untreated non-bleached cotton which is cut into bands and held together with hidden pins. She has been using the same technique for thirty years gets through around 10 kilos of pins per year. Pictured above – Anfractuosité II.
Vezzini + Chen / Ting-Ying
Exhibiting with Ting-Ying were Vezzini + Chen who create works that marry their artistic disciplines of ceramics and blown glass. The duo met whilst studying for an MA at the Royal College of Art, and established their practice after graduating.
Cristina Vezzini specialises in hand crafted ceramics and Stan Chen is an accomplished glassblower. They create sculptural hand crafted lighting, glassware and interior accessories, as well as installation pieces.
Gem (2018) is a hanging light comprised of a ceramic core which resembles the blossoming bud of a flower, surrounded by a glass outer layer.
David Gates + Helen Carnac / Sarah Myerscough Gallery
Cabinet I – Quarter Sawn European Oak, Vitreous Enamel on Steel, Steel, Bog Oak, Cedar of Lebanon (2017) by David Gates is part of a collection called Interlocutors: Cabinets for Small Curiosities. Inspiration is taken from industrial and agricultural structures. Steel, vitreous enamel handles on the fall-flap and tambour were made by Helen Carnac. Photo courtesy of Sarah Myerscough Gallery
Collect Open is an exhibit developed by the Crafts Council which supports both established and emerging artists to create more exploratory and risk-taking work. Selected by Jay Osgerby for 2018, all projects and installations are developed specifically for Collect.
Katrin Spranger is a jewellery maker and sculptor with inspiration taken from science-fiction, the environment and consumer culture. For Collect she created a body of work called Aquatopia – Waterobjects which addresses the global shortage of clean water. Made from glass, copper, wood and mixed media, she uses materials that are traditionally used to store and transport water. Photo by Jamie Trounce
Also selected for Collect Open was ceramicist Mella Shaw. Harvest (2017/18) is an installation that addresses the environmental tipping point of plastic pollution in the oceans. The piece featured piles of hundreds of ceramic fish alongside slip cast vessels, recognisable as the standard plastic milk containers, water bottles and cleaning bottles we throw away everyday.