Hammer time: Yuki Ferdinandsen’s hail-marked designs at Gallery Fumi Porto Cervo
In Japanese ’arare’ (霰, あられ) means ’hail.’ In Yuki Ferdinandsen’s work, ’arare’ refers to a metalworking technique that produces a richly textured surface that appears to have been impacted by thousands of tiny hailstones. The Japanese-born, Danish-based designer hammers out each dent by hand onto a silver surface (roughly 20 blows are required to create a single one of the spherical markings and give them a polished finish) in a painstaking process she describes as a rhythmic ’hammer dance’.
Ferdinandsen applies the decorative technique to a wide range of functional objects, and a selection of her vessels – including vases, a pitcher and a champagne cooler – are currently on view in Gallery Fumi’s Porto Cervo ’Summer Group Show’.
Having worked exclusively with silver for many years, Ferdinandsen has developed a nuanced handling of the material. ’Silver’s gloss is hot and cold simultaneously – it is this gloss and disposition that is the charm of working with silver,’ she notes. The processes she employs work to challenge the properties of silver. The tiny bumps create a delicate yet complex pattern of light and shadow over each object. Some of the pieces are immersed in an acid bath to transform the material’s luster into a semi-matte, off-white surface.
The regular, radial pattern of the indentations draws inspiration from nature – she cites the Fibonacci sequence, in particular, but some of the flatter pieces also suggest constellations and galaxy formations – while the sleek, minimalist forms point to the designer’s cultural roots. Born in Kyoto in 1958, Ferdinandsen moved to Denmark in the late 80s after finishing school and has been living there ever since – but the influence of her native land still reverberates throughout the work. ’Now, I see Japan through a Danish filter,’ she explains. ’I want to sense these two vastly different cultures and allow them to rearrange naturally.’