Cultured Magazine

Summer 2013

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PRETTY LITTLE THINGS From vintage to contemporary, ceramics are commanding the attention of a new crop of collectors. BY JULIA COOKE "Ceramics are vessels for the stories of different epochs," says Thomas Fritsch. Case in point: the 50-piece selection Fritsch's eponymous Paris gallery will show at Design Miami/Basel, titled "Master Pieces of French Ceramics from 1945 to 1970— Part 1." Through elegant works ranging from Pol Chambost's anthropomorphic Chest lamp and Escargot jug vase, 1953, to a 1954 Juliette Derel floor lamp that marries tall architectural metal legs with exuberant chunks of interspersed glass, Fritsch's selection offers a vision of France at this period. He describes it as, "a time when new, lighter materials produced locally in Paris and Vallauris combined with the modern movement to push ceramicists in fresh artistic directions. It was the last era where France was really the place to be for art and architecture and design and basically everything." Fritsch, a fair newcomer and expert in post war French ceramics, is in good company at Design Miami/Basel. On view is a range of objects large and small, gestural and polished, from the overtly sculptural and decorative to the seemingly utilitarian—objects that offer insight into the artistic currents of their times. Throughout the fair, ceramics tell their own story, and it's the story of a discipline that straddles the worlds of collectible design and fine art with unique dynamism and diversity. Seoul's Gallery Seomi will show a series by HunChung Lee, a pair of lounge chairs whose fluffy-looking limbs belie their hard but fragile material. Fired in a handmade kiln with pine wood for upwards of 50 hours, the pieces are glazed with celadon that varies from pale gray to supersaturated, from nearmatte to high gloss. A coffee table, also in traditional Korean celadon, and oversized planters complete the set, showing off Lee's combination of the whimsical and monumental. New York's R 20th Century will be showing small handmade work by L.A. artists Nikolai and Simon Haas, whose set of Accretion vases in hand-thrown ceramic with porcelain slip, says gallery director Zesty Meyers, "are very traditional, just a little offcenter on purpose, but the texture creates something I've never seen before. It's spiky and barnacley, but still soft because of the color." The pieces at New York's Salon 94 overtly straddle the line between ceramic crafts and fine art with historic work by abstract expressionist Peter Voulkos, new sculptural sets of painted earthenware vases by Betty Woodman and small objects by Takuro Kuwata, who glazes his work so thickly that it explodes in the kiln, leaving small, lively pieces of "burst" porcelain. Brussels gallery Pierre Marie Giraud continues the conversation with lyrical, scenic sculptures by Voulkos contemporary Ron Nagle and vibrant objects of transparent Murano glass by Ritsue Mishima. And Hostler Burrows offers context, with Scandinavianstyle work by Axel Salto and Stig Lindberg, including a 1960 bowl pierced with ceramic twigs and two of Salto's unglazed 1949 vases. From top: a bowl by Stig Lindberg; a vase by the Haas brothers; Kairagi Shino bowl by Takuro Kuwata; Blue Weeorama by Ron Nagle; light blue planter by Hun-Chung Lee and Bright Head lamp by André Borderie. 60 CULTURED

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