Luxury shopping. Highlights at COLLECT 2014: Strong curatorial themes, innovative new talent and increased international reach at COLLECT, The International Art Fair for Contemporary Objects. 9-12 May 2014. Saatchi Gallery, London.
For its 11th edition, COLLECT 2014 once again presents a select offering of museum-quality works from the very best international artists in ceramics, glass, jewellery, textiles, wood, furniture, silver and fine metal work. Alongside its participant galleries, COLLECT continues to be at the centre of the ever-growing market for collectible contemporary objects, and has cemented its position as the best place to view and buy contemporary craft.
A key exhibition on London’s arts calendar, COLLECT is an important sourcing ground for museum curators and discerning collectors. Each object is carefully vetted and a requirement for each gallery to show at least 15% new work ensures the fair remains at the forefront of developments in each field. For 2014, the 37 galleries – a 15% increase on last year – are working on strong curatorial themes and unique offerings, bringing together an impressive crop of new and established talent from across the world.
Daniella Wells, Show Director, COLLECT 2014, says: “It’s such a privilege to work with the exhibitors at COLLECT, who bring expertise and exceptional work from well-known makers and new talent. Working on COLLECT for over a decade now, it’s rewarding to see the fair develop year on year, and to welcome an ever increasing variety of work from around the world. I’m particularly looking forward to seeing new work and galleries from Asia this year, and I always come away from the event learning something new.”
CERAMICS remains the mainstay of the fair. National Glass Centre (UK) will present Richard Slee, an important studio ceramicist whose work centres around the English tradition of municipal parks and play, and has humour at its core – a large ceramic swan and a child’s dinghy with full size oars form part of the selection. Joanna Bird Gallery (UK) provides important historical context with the presentation of work by modernist sculptor Ruth Duckworth, alongside that of Lucie Rie and Hans Coper. Terra Delft Gallery (Netherlands) has a strong selection of Dutch ceramicists, and Ruthin Craft Centre (UK) will be showing new figurative work by Clare Curneen. Mastery of techniques such as raku firing and salt firing are well demonstrated by Dorte Visby courtesy of Cultural Connections (UK).
The first gallery from Italy, Officine Saffi, will show three artists that demonstrate experimentation in ceramic installations, including a fresh interpretation of tilework by Serbian artist Ljubica Jocic-Knezevic. Newcomer Sladmore Contemporary (UK) will show two ceramic artists – Rupert Merton and Roger Law. Law, of the satirical TV series Spitting Image, now creates large scale ceramics, working on location in Jingdezhen, China where he applies his own ideas to the tradition of porcelain production.
Besides its stable of high profile ceramic artists such as Michael Eden and Kate Malone, Adrian Sassoon (UK) will present deconstructed ceramics by Dutch artist Bouke de Vries, as well as a monumental jar by Julian Stair. This featured in his recent touring exhibition ‘Quietus’, an exhibition that raised questions around death and the human body through the presentation of human-sized urns, sarcophagi and vertical burial vessels. Another piece from this exhibition – ‘Reliquary for a Common Man’, 2013 – sits beside an installation by Clare Twomey in the new Crafts Council touring exhibition Legacy: Two works on hope and memory, which will debut at COLLECT 2014 on the Second Floor, to mark the First World War centenary.
COLLECT has always had a strong contingent of work from ASIA thanks to specialist galleries such as Katie Jones (UK), Yufuku Gallery (Japan), Korean Craft & Design Foundation (KCDF) (South Korea), LVS Gallery (South Korea), Hanart TZ Gallery (Hong Kong), and Exhibition Space APJ (Japan). Work is largely but not exclusively in ceramics, often demonstrating ambitious techniques with a nod to age-old traditions. This year Ippodo Gallery (Japan and New York) joins the roster, presenting a group of artists that demonstrate the concept ‘Surjaponisme’, which refers to the contemporary application of kogei (Japanese art-crafts such as carving, weaving and forging) in the 21st Century. Objects by artists of Asian origin on other stands include intricate glasswork by Akane Yamamoto and metalwork by Junko Mori with Adrian Sassoon, and ceramicist Akiko Hirai, whose Moon Jars will be shown by Flow Gallery (UK).
COLLECT has long been an important platform for the very best contemporary ART JEWELLERY, and 2014’s edition is no different. Principal international dealers such as Galerie Rob Koudijs (Netherlands), Galerie Rosemarie Jäger (Germany), Galleri Format (Norway), Galerie Marzee (Netherlands) and Galerie RA (Netherlands) will bring together an extensive, colourful and diverse selection of jewellery artists pushing boundaries with material usage and bringing into question ideas surrounding value, adornment and art. From the UK, Gallery S O (UK and Switzerland) will present a selection of rings by Bernard Schobinger, a revolutionary in the field for the past 45 years, whose provocative pieces are meant as ‘witnesses to an era’. He makes use of unconventional materials such as nuts and bolts, taking away the idea of jewellery as status symbol and imbuing his objects with the ability to express a critical voice. Slightly more conventional are the beautiful structural pearl pieces by Melanie Georgacopoulos, represented by Wills Lane Gallery (UK), and a collection of new work by award-winning jeweller Ruth Tomlinson on the Bishopsland (UK) stand.
Sarah Myerscough Gallery (UK) has been instrumental in raising the profile of artists working exclusively in WOOD, including Michael Peterson, Ernst Gamperl and Marc Ricourt, whose works will be exhibited at COLLECT alongside ceramics by Thomas Bohle. Cutting edge furniture pieces can also be found at the fair, with TygerGlyn (UK) showing work by the furniture designer Laszlo Beckett who combines contemporary technologies with traditional cabinetry methods, resulting in strong surface designs rooted in geometry. Joanna Bird Gallery (UK) will unveil a new table by John Makepeace, stalwart of the British craft and design scene, created from ancient oak from the Longleat Estate. Contemporary Applied Arts (UK) will showcase new work by furniture designer David Gates and wood artist Wycliffe Stutchberry, who are two of eight artists across different disciplines chosen to collaborate on the 2014 stand to show how contemporary crafts can work together in a space. Ceramic lighting by Sasha Wardel, textiles by Alice Kettle, metalware by Coilin O’Dubhghail, glass by Amanda Simmons, paper by Tracey Rowledge, and jewellery by Catherine Martin, complete the set.
GLASS ART in its various forms is well represented, with Joanna Bird Gallery (UK) bringing beautiful hand-blown vessels by Juli Bolaños-Durman, Design Flanders (Belgium) showing glass artist Pia Raeymaekers, who combines kiln-formed glass and porcelain to create sculptural works, and Blås&Knåda (Sweden) exhibiting Paul Grähs, who plays with the physical properties of glass to create objects of impressive scale. Peter Layton, one of Europe’s pre-eminent glass designers and the founder of London Glassblowing, returns to COLLECT for the second year with his most recent series, inspired by the National Gallery’s Van Gogh exhibition, alongside promising artists currently active in the workshop, including Tim Rawlinson and Sabrina Cant.
Among the six new galleries for 2014, Crafts Council welcomes the French Craft Project (France). Spearheaded by Marie Finaz, The French Craft Project presents a ‘cabinet of curiosities’ sourced from carefully selected artisanal makers from all over France, including featherwork artist Nelly Saunier and metal lacemaker Armel Barraud. A bold work in wood and mother-of-pearl, created by a collective of artists from French Polynesia, will be crossing the ocean to London especially for the fair. Galvanise Sheffield & Harley Gallery (UK) are collaborating on a presentation of metal artists for their first outing to COLLECT, celebrating Sheffield as an enduring centre of industry.
MIXED MEDIA objects include ceramic and wood sculptures by Christabel Birbeck that are derived from abstract landscape paintings by artists such as Willem de Kooning and Robert Motherwell, represented by Bicha Gallery (UK), and Japanese artist Kazuhito Takadoi, whose sculptural works in grass and gold leaf on paper are being presented by new gallery jaggedart (UK) alongside the paper cuts and ceramics of Charlotte Hodes. Sebastian Schildt + (Stockholm) will show work by Scottish designer David Taylor, who combines industrial materials with precious metals in his functional designs, and Chantal Delporte‘s ‘Inflorescence, 2014’ series, represented by WCC-BF (Belgium), makes use of fossilised twigs in a crystal matrix to produce sculptural forms that refer to evolution and mutation in nature.
There is great diversity in the PROJECT SPACE this year, as selected by Simon Fraser MA RCA from Central St Martins UAL, COLLECT 2014 Show Director Daniella Wells, and Crafts Council Head of Exhibitions and Collection Annabelle Campbell. A total of seven artists will be exhibiting new, concept-led works, including kinetic glass from Min Jeong Song and Wonseok Jung, luxury leather bags and vessels from Lisa Farmer, a mosaic installation by Cleo Mussi and intricate landscape tapestries by Jilly Edwards. Furniture by Giovanni Marmont, new works by Jerwood Makers Open exhibitor Linda Brothwell, and highly desirable ceramics by Heidi Harrington complete the group.
COLLECT was launched by the Crafts Council in London in 2004 and has since established itself as the leading international art fair for museum-quality contemporary craft, attracting both private and institutional collectors – the V&A, the British Museum, the National Museum of Scotland, the Mint Museum, USA, and the National Museum of Decorative Arts, Norway, to name a few – looking to buy exemplary work from leading artists from around the world. Prices start at £500, rising into the thousands.
Rosy Greenlees, Executive Director, Crafts Council, says: “The Crafts Council’s aim is to make the UK the best place to make, see, collect and learn about contemporary craft – and COLLECT is central to this goal. Challenging perceptions and showcasing exemplary work, it continues to set a gold standard. I look forward to welcoming you in 2014.”