“Don’t look at it.”
“Do not look at it.”
“Do. Not. Do. It!”
… I hear my inner self repeat, with increasing urgency…
It, being the gorgeous bumper edition of gallerists and artisans represented in the exhibition programme, for the Craft Council’s 2018 edition of “Collect”.
Had I so done, I should have missed my raw and undercooked responses to the copious amounts of brilliance, staged within the haven of the ever-immersive, ever-metamorphic, Saatchi Gallery.
Had I succumbed, I should never have wandered, gawping and wide-eyed, with childlike wonderment, at the genius on show.
Thus, I resisted, and the urge fled, swiftly replaced by internal utterances, released upon sighs of creative satisfaction, at the indescribable, maker-to-viewer, virtuous circle.
It’s as if I didn’t know I needed to eat, until I was eating…. and I’m ingesting a one-time-only, Ossobucco-risotto-of-artistry, garnished with lightly-grilled garlic and flitting flakes of taste-bud-tingling, bites of bacon… Followed by dark, decadent, cherry-chocolate Eton Mess with a flourish of glistening sauce and a scintilla of snow-iced sugar!!
Yes! We’re talking, transcendence of levels!
The restless wresting of pre-determined vocation and preternatural aptitude, with optically chiasmic outcomes that shatter mythological starting or finishing points… Instead, impelling you simply follow that which is vanishing.. because, therein dwells the actual point where true art begins…
Sow “SEE-DS” at the turnstile of this mixed-media manifestation, where concrete and polystyrene form alliances with resin and styrofoam…Witness the wonder of woodwork-tradition holding hands with its technological progeny, under the watchful eye of Sarah Myerscough and see it transformed, in all of its spine-bending glory, at the “Designer Bookbinders” locale, where delicate iterations abound and a deluge of the literary, literally seeps beyond the covers, throwing down the gauntlet, as you dare walk past! No sooner do you grasp, than are your fingertips glazing luxuriant ivory leather, eye-line entranced by piercing palladium and leaves of glittering gilt. At the hands of Annette Friedrich, Virginia Woolf howls orders that you re-direct your discerning glance, in appreciation of a seven-year expedition to visually express her stellar text. Willingly observe, for here you will find a pass-the-parcel of encasement, elevating the elegance of prospective presentation into an exhileration of reception!
“The Bishopsland Educational Trust” invites you to continue their quarter-century celebration, with the gift of silver. Exquisite interpretations of argentum adorn the space with a dazzling display of decorative designs, balancing the conceptual and the practical with distinct ease. Search diligently “Among The Trees” to find a fine “Fractal Wrap Bowl”, the faithful incarnation of a “Silver Leaf Pen Tray” and an “Undercliff Walk Dish, Looking out to Sea”… All, of which, are, in the estimation of one, justifiably-impressed attendee, “entirely Insta-worthy”! Take time to daydream there… you will soon be in concurrence!
“MadeInBritaly” Gallery makes a mighty ‘stand’ for outlandish ostentation, with a gregarious presentation of the works of Shakespeare! The height of ‘peacocking pottery’, it is an adaptation of extreme abandon…The height of embellishment, its contemporary portrayal of the “Bard”, in ceramicist Sunday Best, with all of the trimmings, is akin to an anarchist fashionista, beholding herself in the mirror, whom, rather than removing her last string of pearls, will add another ten, plus a clutch of brooches, for even greater measure of lasting looks!
The chorale of complementary ceramic appeal on offer in the domain of acclaimed gallerist, Cynthia Corbett, is undeniable. Riotous in regurgitated Royal Doulton, fair, smashed to smithereens by creator, Sandra Shasou, about-face and come face-to-face with a bewildering rendering of glaze-dripping desserts, which, subliminally induce the childhood feelings of having over-eaten, when the innocent tin of chocolates has been left ajar and becomes a Pandora’s box of tempting treats! Equally, in real-time adulthood, be prepared that you might wish to leave but, like the best of delectable delights, will somehow, be unable to tear yourself away…
…and yet, extricate yourself, you must, for the prospect of deeper emotional alignment awaits…
…in the constellation of the “London Glassblowing Gallery”…
which is mind-blowing!
Never… I repeat, NEVER, have I experienced such perceptibly perplexing prismatic soul-stirring… It’s impossible maths, made plausible!
Shapes and undulations are, initially, recognisable… cuboids and spheres, for instance… until a plenitude of pyramids come into view, seeming to subdue the perfect storm of internal, ice-blue vortices. Not over. Etch-encrusted forms appear and, that which you cognitively know to be glass, beguiles you, enough to override synapses and believe, definitively, otherwise! Still not over. Empowered by the ethereal, Sabrina Cant certainly can and does mystify, with dichroic treatments. Think, solidified lustre-dust, contracting the Saatchi surrounds and transmuting them into the pitch-black counterpoint of a hand-held kaleidoscope. The Gallery becomes a galaxy, the longer you stare.
Not over, still, for the pages of their studios are as open books, to visitors wishing to become immersed within the library of pursuit of such high creativity.
I register reverberation around my inner ear… “Is it all too beautiful, too rare?” I recognise the refrain as, altogether, fallacy. In rebuke, I answer. “It is undeniably necessary, to be present amidst oeuvres which overwhelm the senses, nay, fundamental in re-igniting the inherent comprehension of the infinitesimal ends to which these master-artisans will reach, in order to give existence to the extraordinary.” Mic dropped…reverb silenced!
“Collect” is intrinsically thus.
The Crafts Council has enclothed the Saatchi Gallery with an unswervingly spirited assemblage of objets d’art, as much conversant with each other, as with the active onlooker. Their resonant, idiosyncratic idioms tuck and taper into the concave chambers of the heart, until, out of the many, emerges one, universal level, that being, the harmony of Human Connection.
On this, the final day, I encourage you to add the unique beauty of your voice to this indelible creative experience and realise, first-hand, the fortifying dynamics of its uncompromisingly unifying, Universal soul-song.
©A_F_R_O_W2018 All Rights Reserved
“Collect”, The International Art Fair For Contemporary Objects, presented by The Crafts Council, which ends today (25 February 2018)!
Twitter: @CraftsCouncilUK ~ Instagram: @craftscouncil ~ Facebook: @CraftsCouncilUK ~ Website: www.craftscouncil.org.uk
Twitter: @saatchigallery ~ Instagram: @saatchi_gallery ~ Facebook: @saatchigalleryofficial ~ Website: www.saatchigallery.com
Profound @A_F_R_O_W-Appreciation to Jill and Maria from the Crafts Council, for organising my incredible visit to the one-of-a-kind experience of “Collect”!