Vessel to vessel: cutting-edge contemporary vases that transcend their function

Vessel to vessel: cutting-edge contemporary vases that transcend their function

David Gill Gallery opens the doors to an exhibition of contemporary vases and vessels designed by some of the most exciting glass and ceramics artists working today. Some 50 pieces by both established and younger artists fill the showroom – most have been specially commissioned and made within the past six months.

From Domitilla Harding’s translucent glass vessels that appear like deep sea creatures, to Cody Hoyt’s intricate geometric vases made from inlaid pieces of hand-colored clay, the showcase offers a diverse snapshot of current contemporary decorative arts. ‘I have always been obsessed with vases,’ says the show’s curator, journalist Gianluca Longo, ‘especially decorative vases because they can be highly decorative as well as functional. They are like sculptures, but are more versatile in that they can transform tremendously depending on the flowers you choose.’

The featured artists, who draw upon an array of influences, materials and styles from around the world, include Kate Malone, Beth Katleman, Tommaso Corvi-Mora, Tancredi di Carcaci, Tino Seubert, Felicity Aylieff, Cody Hoyt, Lena Peters and Marcantonio Brandolini d’Adda.

Curved Walls (Twins), by Cody Hoyt, 2017

With a focus on ‘craftsmanship and the handmade’, Longo, who writes for both W and Cabana, says the curation process was instinctive: ‘The vases I have chosen have a strong decorative element, and the selection came very naturally to me. I am happy that every single artist has a different style.’

Specially commissioned pieces include Kate Malone’s ‘Monumental Fennel’, Tino Seubert’s terrazzo ‘Heptagon Rosa Perlino’, and ‘Owl’ by Lena Peter – an artist whom Longo discovered at Central Saint Martins’ final degree show. ‘I have known most of the artists for some time, followed their works very closely, and always liked them,’ comments Longo.

Emerging names such as Tancredi di Carcaci, who is still a young student in Edinburgh, demonstrates his take on southern European baroque, while Beth Katleman’s vase with cherubs adds what Longo calls ‘a cheeky moment’ to the show – if you look at it carefully. ‘Beth will be a surprise,’ he says. ‘She is New York based and not as well known here in the UK.’

Head Dish, by Tancredi di Carcaci, 2017

He continues: ‘I think there's a big attention to decorative arts at the moment, and I hope this exhibition with reflect it through the vases and the vessels.’ The new showcase follows on from Longo’s ‘Young Bright Things’ exhibition last year, that saw the style editor select the next big names across fashion, art and design.

‘We absolutely cannot wait to see what Gianluca Longo has in store for this new exhibition,’ said Francis Sultana, CEO of David Gill Gallery, prior to the opening. ‘His fascination with vases, especially glass and Venetian majolica vases, will result in a vibrant showcase of some of the most talented contemporary artists bringing back to life this ancient art form.’