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Masterpiece London 2022

A guide to this year's stand out presentations of collectible design.

The Royal Hospital, Chelsea
30th June – 6th July 2022

By Charlotte Abrahams / 24th June 2022
Nic Webb, ‘Roji Table and pendants from Kumo Collection’, 2022 COURTESY: Nic Webb & Sarah Myerscough Gallery

Nic Webb, ‘Roji Table and pendants from Kumo Collection’, 2022
COURTESY: Nic Webb & Sarah Myerscough Gallery

MASTERPIECE LONDON HAS been a fixture of the collecting world’s summer calendar for more than a decade, so it is exciting to see it making a physical return to the South Grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea this week.

Merete Rasmusse, ‘Ouroboros (Wall)’, 2019 COURTESY: Merete Rasmusse & Pangolin London

Merete Rasmussen, ‘Ouroboros (Wall)’, 2019
COURTESY: Merete Rasmussen & Pangolin London

Unique among international fairs for spanning every major market discipline from antiquity to the present day, Masterpiece offers an unparalleled opportunity for collectors (and dreamers) to discover truly exceptional works of art, design, furniture, and jewellery. This edition comprises 126 exhibitors. The Design Edit offers our choice of must-see galleries. 

Kaori Tatebayashi, ‘Cyclamen hederifolium’, 2019 COURTESY: Kaori Tatebayashi & Tristan Hoare Gallery

Kaori Tatebayashi, ‘Cyclamen hederifolium’, 2019
COURTESY: Kaori Tatebayashi & Tristan Hoare Gallery

88 Gallery London

This gallery’s presentation focuses on contemporary works of functional art that Director Kate Campbell describes as being “not only aesthetically striking but also made to be touched, sat on and generally lived with.” Highlights include ‘Yubiwa’ side table by French artist/designer Roxane Lahidji, reinventing salt as a sustainable design material. “I make use of salt’s unique physical  properties as a self-binding composite,” she explains. “By mixing it with tree resin, I give it shape and strength.” 

Roxane Lahidji, ‘Yubiwa’ side table, 2022 COURTESY: Roxane Lahidji & 88 Gallery London

Roxane Lahidji, ‘Yubiwa’ side table, 2022
COURTESY: Roxane Lahidji & 88 Gallery London / PHOTOGRAPH: @tijsvervecken and Atelier Ecru

The organic meets futuristic in Timothy Schreiber’s ‘Molecule bench’, a gleaming, cast bronze manifestation challenging the boundaries between architecture, digital design, manufacturing methods and social/environmental sustainability.  

Timothy Schreiber, ‘Molecule bench’ COURTESY: Timothy Schreiber & 88 Gallery London

Timothy Schreiber, ‘Molecule bench’
COURTESY: Timothy Schreiber & 88 Gallery London

Adrian Sassoon

Specialising in contemporary works of decorative art and antique 18th century French porcelain, Adrian Sassoon has taken the opportunity to present both periods. “This is the only fair where we combine the historical with contemporary,” says Director Mark Piolet, “… we feel the antiques strengthen the context of integrity and quality for the newer works of art.” 

The most recent of the works presented is ‘Still Life of Twelve Teardrop Vases’ by British ceramic artist Andrew Wicks. Utterly contemporary, but grouped so as to echo 18th century Chinese export porcelain garnitures, it speaks to the past and future of ceramic art.

Andrew Wicks, ‘Still Life of Twelve Teardrop Vases’, 2022 COURTESY: Andrew Wicks & Adrian Sassoon, London

Andrew Wicks, ‘Still Life of Twelve Teardrop Vases’, 2022
COURTESY: Andrew Wicks & Adrian Sassoon, London

One of the oldest pieces is an extremely rare wine cooler made in 1785 for Louis XVI as part of his ‘Arabesque Service’, heralded as a masterpiece of progressive neo-classical design.

‘Arabesque Service Wine Cooler’, 1785 COURTESY: Adrian Sassoon, London / PHOTOGRAPH: Sylvain Deleu

‘Arabesque Service Wine Cooler’, 1785
COURTESY: Adrian Sassoon, London / PHOTOGRAPH: Sylvain Deleu

A Lighthouse called Kanata

This Tokyo-based gallery showcases 24 contemporary Japanese artists whose works gallery owner Wahei Aoyama describes as “intuitive experiments in beauty, [that] push the boundaries of their respective materials with innovative techniques and leaps in imagination.” Pushing the boundaries of bamboo is ‘Will’ by Osamu Yokoyama, who binds rather than weaves his bamboo to create large architectural forms that accentuate the raw, organic beauty of the material. 

Osamu Yokoyama, ‘Will’, 2021 COURTESY: Osamu Yokoyama & A Lighthouse called Kanata

Osamu Yokoyama, ‘Will’, 2021
COURTESY: Osamu Yokoyama & A Lighthouse called Kanata

Capturing the magical complexity of light and the iridescent rhythms of glass is ‘Ku-163 (Free Essence-163)’ by Niyoko Ikuta. This spiralling sculpture is composed of individual sheets of glass, each cut by hand and attached with a special glue that seems to vanish completely under ultraviolet light.

Pangolin London

This booth is a showcase of the very best of modern British and contemporary sculpture. Treats include a large curling ceramic wall sculpture in brilliant yellow by Danish artist Merete Rasmussen and a show-stopping wall piece by Susie MacMurray formed from thousands of elements of red velvet and barbed wire titled ‘Gathering’. 

Susie MacMurray, ‘Gathering’, 2019 COURTESY: Susie MacMurray & Pangolin London

Susie MacMurray, ‘Gathering’, 2019
COURTESY: Susie MacMurray & Pangolin London

‘The Last Frontier’ is an astonishing glass sculpture by Angela Palmer. This piece, shown in the fair’s main aisle, is formed of 28 glass plates engraved with brain scans made by a team of Harvard professors that are 1,000 times more detailed than standard MRI scans.

Angela Palmer, ‘The Last Frontier’, 2022
COURTESY: Angela Palmer & Pangolin London

Angela Palmer, ‘The Last Frontier’, 2022
COURTESY: Angela Palmer & Pangolin London

“Mapping is at the core of Angela Palmer’s work. Using a variety of detailed scanning methods …”

Angela Palmer, ‘The Last Frontier’, 2022
COURTESY: Angela Palmer & Pangolin London

Angela Palmer, ‘The Last Frontier’, 2022
COURTESY: Angela Palmer & Pangolin London

“… she has adapted a technique to show objects floating as three-dimensional drawings in glass cubes”

Modernity

This design gallery from Stockholm and London specialises in rare and high-grade pieces by the most renowned Scandinavian designers of the 20th century. Highlights of their booth include rare early versions of Kaare Klint’s exceptional wood and cane ‘Bergère’ chair and Josef Frank’s ‘Flora’ cabinet, as well as a glamorous rosewood and velvet easy chair by one of the foremost proponents of Swedish functionalism, Uno Åhrén, first shown in the ‘Ladies’ Salon’ of the Swedish Pavilion at the 1925 World’s Fair in Paris. 

Uno Åhrén for Mobilia, ‘Modernity Easy chair’, 1925 COURTESY: Uno Åhrén & Modernity

Uno Åhrén for Mobilia, ‘Easy chair’, 1925
COURTESY: Uno Åhrén & Modernity

Sarah Myerscough Gallery

This curation is called ‘Seeing the Forest for the Trees’. Taking centre stage is Marc Fish’s sprawling tree of shelves made from 60 pieces of ancient bog-oak and 22 layers of bronze and lacquer, each ‘branch’ bearing a delicate golden piece by metalsmith Adi Toch. Lighting this collection is a new series of scorched solid oak pendants by artist Nic Webb, carved while the wood was still green to allow the natural cracking and warping to express the character of the single tree it came from.  

Marc Fish, ‘Mokume-Gane Shelves’, 2022 COURTESY: Marc Fish & Sarah Myerscough Gallery

Marc Fish, ‘Mokume-Gane Shelves’, 2022
COURTESY: Marc Fish & Sarah Myerscough Gallery

Tristan Hoare

Presenting themed exhibitions each year as a way of connecting collectors across media and genres with the art world, Tristan Hoare has selected this year’s theme as ‘Botanicals’. Sitting alongside photographs by Dominique Lacloche and works on paper by Alessandro Twombly is a grid of framed clay flower portraits by ceramic artist Kaori Tatebayashi. Tatebayashi works from nature, hand-modelling her flowers when the real ones are in bloom, so each has its own season.

Kaori Tatebayashi, ‘Muscari Specimen I’, 2021 COURTESY: Kaori Tatebayash & Tristan Hoare Gallery

Kaori Tatebayashi, ‘Muscari Specimen I’, 2021
COURTESY: Kaori Tatebayashi & Tristan Hoare Gallery

Masterpiece Fair

@masterpiecefair

88 Gallery London

@88gallerylondon

Adrian Sassoon

@adrian_sassoon_gallery

Lighthouse Kanata

@lighthouse_kanata

Pangolin London

@pangolin.london

Sarah Myerscough

@sarahmyerscoughgallery

Tristan Hoare Gallery 

@tristanhoare

Roxane Lahidj, ‘Marbled Salts Table’. POA

Timothy Schreiber, Molecule Bench. POA

Andrew Wicks, ‘Still Life of Twelve Teardrop Vases’, 2022. £10,600

Wine Cooler from Louis XVI’s Arabesque Service, 1785. £260,000

Osamu Yokoyama, ‘Will’, 2021. POA

Merete Rasmussen, ‘Ouroboros’, 2019. £22,000

 Susie MacMurray, ‘Gathering’, 2019. £18,000

Angela Palmer, ‘The Last Frontier’, 2021. POA

Uno Åhrén, ‘Easy chair’, 1925. POA

Kaori Tatebayashi, ‘Cyclamen hederifolium’, 2019. POA 

Article by Charlotte Abrahams
Article by Charlotte Abrahams
Charlotte Abrahams is a writer and curator specialising in design and the applied arts. She trained at Central St Martin’s and since then has written regularly for the national and international press. Her latest book, Love Pattern & Colour (Frances Lincoln) is out now. View all articles by Charlotte Abrahams