A mesmerising collection of craft, both in its beauty and skill is presented at the Saatchi Gallery once a year. This is the first time I have been in London for it and I was excited to finally be able to experience what the show is about. The variety of crafts, techniques and process on display had an immediate, inspirational impact; with 37 galleries exhibiting, there was more than enough for everyone’s tastes and requirements.
The quirky and mythical pendants by Eummi Chuh made me smile.
Similarly, seeing one of Alice Kettle’s tapestries again after several years made me beam with delight. Her work is always full of colour and energy, not to mention humour.
This latest piece is different to some of her earlier works I have seen because it uses less stitching, and employes paint to colour the background rather than being completely covered in thousands of layers of stitch. Although I liked this fresh and arguably less cluttered approach, I do hope she is still making tapestries that layer her countless rows of stitching.
Two of my favourite pieces concerned with portraits and headwear could not be more different in terms of materials and aesthetics. The headwear in the above left image by Dorothee Van Biesen was part of a trio of pieces, each eclectically colourful and playfully recreating a head’s shape and decorative potentials. The other intriguing work on the above right is by Christian Gonzenbach and again came from a series, which dealt with ‘inverse’ portraits. The concave, negative spaces where the nose would be is the most obvious feature resulting from this inverse aesthetic.
The other series that particularly caught my attention was ‘The Ambiguous Series’ by Giovanni Marmont, which plays with the structures, designs and potentials of furniture. When being interviewed by Grant Gibson, editor of Crafts Magazine, as part of an afternoon tour of the ‘Project Space’ exhibition room, Giovanni said he was not so concerned with solving problems about furniture as he was in asking questions. He wants his work to investigate notions, and relations with, the object rather than going over tired problems concerning furniture that have admittedly already been fixed.
The other brilliant artwork in the ‘Project Space’ section was the ‘Wave’ kinetic glass installation created by Min Jeong Song and Wonseok Jung. This was the result of a glass artist teaming up with an engineer-come-maker. Electric sensors were imbedded to the sections holding each glass panel in place. They detect body heat, which causes the glass panels to move when viewers go near, surprising and delighting everyone in the room.
NB – the artists’s names are given in the titles to each photograph and can be found by either clicking on the images or holding your mouse above them.