London Dispatch / February 2022
Three exhibitions not to miss ...
The Ralph Saltzman Prize at The Design Museum, London
Until 3rd April 2022
Barber & Osgerby ‘Signals’ at Galerie kreo
Until 16th April 2022
Fernando Casasempere, ‘Scratching the Surface’ at London Mithraeum
Until 22nd July 2022
THE DESIGN MUSEUM has opened its exhibition showcasing the winner of the inaugural Ralph Saltzman Prize. On the 14th January, Nottingham-based Mac Collins was announced as the first recipient, named in honour of the founder of the materials research and manufacturing company Designtex. Collins’s work featured in the Design Museum’s London Design Festival exhibition ‘Discovered’, last autumn. Now his distinctive chairs – the ‘Iklwa’, ‘Concur’and ‘Jupiter’ – are the focus of his prize-winning solo exhibition. The prize includes a £5,000 bursary.
Ralph Saltzman’s daughter, Lisa Saltzman, announced, “I created this prize as a legacy to my father. He was an innovator and a pioneer who had a keen eye, great taste and he thought outside the box.” She added, “Mac is a worthy winner. In addition to the aesthetic quality, Mac brings personal narratives into his work and considers his practice as an exploration of his identity within the African Diaspora, and that is interesting.” Definitely someone to watch.
Thursday then saw a rush of openings, including the private view of Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby’s new show, ‘Signals’, at Galerie kreo in Cork Street. The show offers a series of floor, wall and pendant lamps made from a seductive combination of aluminium and mouth-blown glass, produced at the Venini workshops on Murano, Venice.
The sleek stands contrast with the retro lampshades, recalling traffic lights or old fashioned audio speakers, the combination set off by luscious, soft colours.
Also on Thursday, the London Mithraeum Bloomberg SPACE, located within Bloomberg’s European headquarters, hosted the opening of Fernando Casasempere’s new installation, ‘Scratching the Surface’. SPACE is located directly above the Roman Temple of Mithras, discovered in 1954, and restored to this original place in the heart of the city in 2010, along with many of the Roman artefacts excavated at the time. All of which provides a perfect foil for the work of Casasempere, for whom clay is a primary material, the holder of the secrets of human activity on the earth and the geological history of the planet.
When the Chilean artist arrived in London in 1997, he brought with him over twelve tonnes of his own mixtures of Chilean clay, repurposing materials from mining processes that would have otherwise gone to waste. It was as if he was bringing his nation’s past along with him. Here he has gathered together a series of clay sculptures that resemble sections of ground, placing them on conveyor belts, recreating the mysterious layers that might confront an archaeologist. Using just his own body to twist the material, alongside, he has created a pavement of clay, writhing with movement, reminding us that beneath our feet, underneath the thin crust we walk upon, is a record of life over millennia.