London’s Saatchi Gallery hosted this year’s edition of Collect, an event showcasing makers whose cutting-edge work blurs the boundaries between contemporary craft and fine art. Organized by the UK’s Crafts Council, Collect 2018 featured museum-quality textiles and ceramics as well as jewelry, furniture, metal smithing, and glass-making from around the world. The 2018 show brought together 40 galleries from four continents and 13 countries, representing over 400 artists in total, and the show’s Collect Open exhibition presented large-scale installations by 14 individual artists and collectives (selected by Jay Osgerby of London-based industrial design studio Barber & Osgerby).
Contributor Fiona Coleman attended both shows for THE KINDCRAFT and highlights some of the exceptional makers, materials, and designs that she found.
‘The Between’ by Forest + Found
Working collaboratively under their studio practice Forest + Found, London-based duo Max Bainbridge and Abigail Booth work with wood, natural pigments, and textiles. They produce sculptural and wall-based works which draws upon architectural structures, the elements, ancient landscapes, and cultural objects. For Collect Open 2018, they have created one of their largest installations to date. Using traditional methods (such as dyeing, scorching, and carving), their installation ‘The Between’ explores the way that humans interact with the made object.
Featured in the gallery below are two works: ‘The Wash’ (wall — red chalk, iron and wood tannin on cotton) and ‘Hewn, Hollow, Burnt, Fallen Vessels’ (floor — green oak and sweet chestnut).
‘Numen’ by OMA Space
For Collect Open, Seoul-based textile studio OMA Space created a large-scale tapestry installation called ‘Numen’. Named for the divine power believed to inhabit certain objects, Numen uses textiles (silk, wool, and cotton hemp which has been natural dyed, hand felted, or hand woven) — as well as lights and sound — to reflect the natural cycle from birth to death.
Seoul-based gallery Sikijang was founded in 2005 and works to restore craftsmanship and authenticity of materials. Sikijang supports young artists whose contemporary crafts incorporate Korean traditions. Two of the artists shown at Collect 2018 were Woo-Seon Cheon, who works with metal, and Seo-Yeon Park, a ceramic artist whose Botanical Garden works were based on Georgia O’Keeffe paintings. The slip-cast ceramics have delicate, warped edges that bear a close resemblance to petals. When nested inside one another, these thin edges come together to give the impression of a flower.
‘Into the Stockmans Blue’ by Piet Stockmans (represented by Spazio Nobile)
For Collect, Spazio Nobile dedicated its entire space to a solo show by Belgium’s most famous ceramicist — Piet Stockmans. The result was an immersive installation of blue and white porcelain, dipped with a soft cobalt blue. While being original in each design, the element of repetition is a constant in his work. His ‘Stockmans Blue’ has won him renown worldwide and, this year, Piet celebrates the 30th anniversary of his studio.
Kazuhito Takadoi (represented by Jaggedart)
Inspired by the rich Japanese woodland surrounding his birthplace of Nagoya, Kazuhito Takadoi’s three-dimensional organic grass and twig pieces are opulent, yet minimal. Kazuhito grows and hand picks grasses, leaves ,and twigs from his garden. As the grasses dry and mature, they begin a subtle color shift which is comparable to seasonal change. Takadoi’s interest in shadows is an important dimension to his work, creating new perspectives as the light changes. The titles of his works allude further to the natural world — not only to the woodlands and materials he uses, but also to the weather and the cosmos. Apparently abstract, each piece has a story behind it.
ICHEON CERAMIC by Gallery LVS & LVS CRAFT (South Korea)
Icheon City, Korea has a tradition of artisanship dating back over 2,000 years. It remains the heart of Korean ceramic production and, in 2010, was designated as a UNESCO City of Crafts and Folk Art. The 25 objects featured at Collect include pieces created by ceramic masters from Icheon. Other works presented include pieces made by masters from other parts of Korea and also some by young, contemporary artists.