17 April 2018
Review by Dieneke Ferguson
This year’s Collect took place on 22-25 February 2018 and was the 14th edition of Collect. More than 400 artists were on show from 13 countries around the world.
Collect covered the entire Saatchi Gallery and work ranged from innovative studio pottery to bold large-scale installations that pushed material boundaries and explored pressing social and environmental themes. There was also a big focus on ceramics.
The high quality of the show reflected the resurgence of interest in contemporary craft both artistic and economic and was a celebration of making in all its disciplines. It had gone a long way since the very first exhibition was in 1972 with over 100 pieces of studio pottery by 10 British potters.
In addition to work from 40 galleries there was Collect Open a curated exhibition displaying unique installations from 14 makers selected by Jay Osgerby and the Crafts Council. Masters of British Studio Pottery included some landmark makers such as Emmanuel Cooper and Hans Coper, and Collect Spotlights includes some great artists such as Valeria Nascimiento and Vezzini & Chen .
Work from South Korea
There was some stunning work from South Korea which definitely was at the forefront of representing exceptional works that span the spectrum of modern craft and design practice. This included for instance the following:
Icheon Ceramic by Gallery LVS & LVS Craft
The Gallery featured 25 pieces by Korean and Icheon Ceramic Masters reflecting the rich practice of blending longstanding and contemporary craftsmanship.
Icheon City, the location of the Gallery, has a tradition of artisanship dating back over 2,000 years and is the heart of Korean ceramic production.
In 2010, Icheon City was designated as UNESCO City of Crafts and Folk Art which allowed its ceramics to be recognized and appreciated on an international level. Its distinct style has at the same time distinguished itself from those of other cultures while having a great influence on the domain in general.
Oma Space is a design textile studio based in Seoul, Korea. From garments to art, our work connects the traditions and skills of ancient Asian textile practice through contemporary design.
They have a distinct philosophy incarnated by respect for traditional handcrafts and the environment. NUMEN is their first large-scale textile installation based on the relation they have with nature, working only with natural elements and rural craft people all over Asia. In NUMEN they explore longstanding traditional expression that can find contemporary form where craft, art and design intersect.
The essence of NUMEN remains primitive and shows a spirited representation of the cycle of nature, from birth to death. This cycle applies to all living things and all natural elements such as textiles.
Oma Space was part of Collect Open.
Mella Shaw, Harvest
Harvest by Mella Shaw is an installation made entirely from clay that addresses the urgent global issue of plastic pollution, particularly in the sea. It includes hundreds of ceramic fish and slip-cast plastic containers, smoke-fired to give a range of surface colours and patterns. Mella Shaw’s background is underpinned by anthropology, museums and the study of material culture.
Sue Paraskeva, Circle of Porcelain Circle of Porcelain is an installation made from individual porcelain pieces arranged on a circular table. The weight and dimensions of the porcelain references the artists own body in a comment on the fragility of human existence. Sue Paraskeva has used traditional porcelain techniques for several decades to produce exceptional bowls and table ware but in recent years she has begun to experiment with installations of a large number of vessels, both fired and unfired, in various states of collapse.
Vezzini & Chen, Water and Sand – represented by Ting-Ying Gallery in London.
Vezzini, specializes in handcrafted ceramics originally from Italy and Chen (glassblower) , from Taiwan, were both drawn to study in London by the rich heritage, traditions and knowledge of their chosen crafts within Britain. Their work is led by the designers’ immense skill and attention to detail within their disciplines, the quality and craftsmanship being paramount. They will be making their debut appearance at Collect 2018 with a collection of functional and conceptual ceramics and glassworks.
Spazio Nobile, Piet Stockmans, Belgium
Spazio Nobile dedicated its entire space to a solo show by Belgium’s most famous ceramicist Piet Stockmans. His “Stockmans Blue” is made by combining porcelain slip and blue cobalt and the show shows an immersive meditation on the colour blue, from fabric-like dip-tied ribbons to immaculate cobalt-edged bowls.
Overall it was a lovely exhibition and I am looking forward to the next one in 2019.