Crafting a Difference
The work of 75 international artists and designers in a Georgian townhouse.
18th January – 2nd April 2021
IN A NEW variant of the many hybrid exhibitions opened to a global audience of collectors, while rooted firmly in a home base, SoShiro gallery launched Crafting a Difference in London on 18th January. The gallery’s owner, Kenyan-born designer and curator Shiro Muchiri, has offered her Georgian townhouse to five London-based contemporary art and craft galleries, for a collaborative display curated by Brian Kennedy. Crafting a Difference brings together more than 150 paintings and three-dimensional objects in multiple media – glass, ceramics, textiles, metals, wood, plastic and paper – by over seventy-five artists.
The works are displayed throughout the building, enabling these domestically scaled objects to interact with the architecture of the building. Without that context, they lose their full meaning. Until government regulations allow you to visit in person, you can access the presentation via a virtual walk-through, and, of course, the individual pieces can be scrutinised online.
Kennedy has used the full scope of the space, arranging objects thematically, so that Rosa Nguyen’s latest poetic glass and ceramic pieces (represented by MADEINBRITALY Gallery), inspired by plants, sit on a mantelpiece beneath Kazuhito Takadoi’s magnificent ‘Hoko (Direction)’, 2019, made from twigs from his own garden (represented by Jaggedart). On a nearby table, mysterious multicoloured organic forms by Tessa Eastman (represented by Ting Ying Gallery) are displayed alongside the inventive, almost animate, plant-inspired porcelain pieces, ‘Outline I and II’ (2018), by Ikuku Iwamoto (represented by Cavaliero Finn).
In top floor rooms, styled as a small apartment with kitchen, Kennedy has placed the young glass artist Chris Day’s forceful combinations of glass, ceramic and copper wire. Represented by Vessel Gallery, Day explains that the copper wire represents the entrapment, both physical and mental, experienced by black slaves traded to the United States. The brightly coloured glass evokes the human spirit breaking through.
Other stand out artists include the Irish metalsmith Cecilia Moore and the very different ceramic artists, Valéria Nascimento from Brazil, Liang Wanying, based in Steuben County, New York, USA, Loewe Craft Prize Finalist Annie Turner and recent RCA graduate and 2019 QEST Allchurches Trust Scholar, Katalina Caliendo.
Liang Wanying, ‘Grow’, 2018
COURTESY: Ting Ying Gallery
“I often feel a little unsafe when I am in a room full of ornaments and I do not know what triggers those unpleasant feelings; therefore, I decided to play with that in my work”
Liang Wanying, ‘Grow’, 2018 (detail)
COURTESY: Ting Ying Gallery
“Our eyes love decoration for its visual pleasure, but too much decoration creates anxiety too. Thus, my repetitive decorative details help to create this tension in my work”
The genial juxtaposition of works by so many makers, hailing from across the globe, is purposeful. Brian Kennedy explains: “The craft sector has been hit hard by the pandemic, yet it’s also been a very creative time for many makers, artists and gallerists. For ‘Crafting a Difference’, not only do we have makers from Kenya, France, Spain, Japan, Argentina, China, UK, USA, Italy, Ireland, Egypt, Brazil, Scandinavia, Chile, Korea, Iceland and Vietnam, but a wide mix of materials and methods are being explored. Our intention is clear: to illustrate that now, more than ever, the process of creation, is undeniably a deep-rooted, unifying force.”