Makers rethink the wheel and bring ceramics back to the city
Here’s our pick of the best craft shows happening across the nation this month. To discover more winter exhibition highlights, check out the latest issue of Crafts magazine.
Otobong Nkanga: From Where I Stand
Nigeria-born artist Otobong Nkanga is interested in the politics of the land: how it’s acquired and how it’s owned. For her first UK museum survey, the Belgium-based practitioner – who received a special mention at this year’s Venice Art Biennale – will show a range of tapestries and other works that reflect on the process and consequences of the extraction of natural resources.
Cavaliero Finn gallery is displaying sculptural pieces by eight of the UK’s leading ceramic artists, including Ashraf Hanna, Annie Turner, Matthew Chambers and Akiko Hirai, within the golden Byzantine-inspired splendour of Fitzrovia Chapel.
Shoulder to the Wheel / Moving Forward: The Crafts Study Centre at 50
Curated by Crafts’ columnist Glenn Adamson, Shoulder to the Wheel commissioned three makers – furniture designer-maker Gareth Neal, master wheelwright Greg Rowland and Institute of Making director Zoe Laughlin – to study a single wagon wheel from the Museum of English Rural Life, then create their own in response. The Craft Study Centre is also celebrating its half century with a year-long exhibition of works chosen by its trustees.
Makers with a formal and conceptual interest in natural materials and traditional craft skills are the focus of this exhibition at Sarah Myerscough’s recently opened new gallery in Barnes. See work by ARKO, Laura Ellen Bacon, Sebastian Cox, Tim Johnson, Soojin Kang, Fernando Laposse, Naoko Serino and Caroline Sharp.
Into the Night: Cabarets & Clubs in Modern Art
An exhibition about the representation of nightlife in art includes a full-scale interpretation of the Cabaret Fledermaus in Vienna, a space created in 1907 with the aim of challenging the notion of mass production through craftsmanship. The Barbican Centre worked with Vienna’s University of Applied Art to create a full-scale version of its lively tiled interior originally created by Bertold Löffler and Michael Powolny.
Dazzle: Contemporary Jewellery
This annual exhibition offers work from more than 80 designer-makers, ranging from recent graduates – there’s a strong Glasgow School of Art cohort this year – to long-established professionals.
Jann Haworth: Close Up
The American Pop artist is best known as the co-creator (with Peter Blake) of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover of 1967. Haworth will fill Pallant House Gallery with life-sized textile sculptures of cowboys, fast food and the elderly.
Discover how costumes for 20 new productions a year are created on-site by a crew of 46 craftspeople at the National Theatre – adding to its stock of a staggering 90,000 existing costumes that travel to venues nationwide.
Curator Brian Kennedy presents a series of exhibitions under the title Rear Window, which explore different attitudes to contemporary creativity. Beau-laid explored the boundaries between the beautiful and the ugly, Parallax considered artists’ varying viewpoints, Florid presents old fashioned extravagances within contemporary art and Repeat will investigate meanings around repetition within abstraction.
Faces & Figures in Stitch
This show offers an overview of figurative hand embroidery by students at the Royal School of Needlework, depicting characters ranging from ancient Greek gods to Nelson Mandela.
Hand Held to Super Scale: Building with Ceramics
This exhibition celebrates the resurgence of ceramics in contemporary architecture, exploring the loose connection between hand-held ceramic objects and large-scale urban interventions – from the glazed household items that inspire whole building facades to the manufacturers using scaled-up processes familiar to studio potters. Hand-crafted pieces sitting alongside mass ceramic production and robotic technology.
A rich body of work from nine African countries, from embroideries, veils and haiks from Tunisia and Morocco to weavings from Nigeria and Ghana, is on show at the Brunei Gallery at SOAS, drawn from the Karun Thakar collection.
Change in Attitude
Some 5,000 porcelain black rhino horns, each representing one of the black rhinos left in the world, are free for the taking at Nunnington Hall in North Yorkshire, in ceramic artist Layla Khoo’s response to big game-hunting trophies.
Candace Bahouth’s Box of Delights
The mosaicist – who also works in needlepoint and tapestry – brings her trademark riot of colour to the Holburne Museum in Bath with an exuberant installation of glittering mirrors, shoes, and towering candelabras.
Renee So: Ancient and Modern
Textiles, furniture and ceramic sculptures exploring the female figure in prehistoric cultures, which were created by Renee So during a residency at West Dean College, are on show in this exhibition.