EXHIBITION: Beyond the Vessel at Mesher Gallery, Istanbul

13 September – 22 December 2019

Clay sculpture, in all its diversity, enraptured guests at the opening of Messums’ first exhibition in Istanbul; Beyond The Vessel, Myth, Legends and Fables in contemporary ceramics around Europe. Held at the Mesher gallery in the heart of the city and curated by Catherine Milner from Messums and Karoly Aliotti from the Vebhi Koc Foundation, the show champions 13 of the best sculptors working in clay from around Europe – from London to the forests of Finland to the archipelagos of Denmark and the plains of Northern Italy. The exhibition establishes clay sculpture as one of the most exciting new movements in contemporary art whilst drawing on its most ancient roots.

Malene_Hartmann_Rasmussen_photo_Sylvain_DeleuSculptures of gorgons and trolls, Minotaurs and dogs of war are coupled with some of the most remarkable craftsmanship you can see in the world today. The show covers the full panoply of styles and techniques, from the gestural and impressionistic to the exacting and precise in works where clay has been so deftly handled that it is often hard to believe that the works are made from the material at all. Advances in 21 st century technology and the ingenuity of the artists mean that some of the works are as green and furry as moss while others as shiny and plastic looking as yoghurt pots; one section features simply 23 clods of clay looking variously like ice cream, butter, human skin and elephant hide – all testifying to the unrivalled mimetic properties of this wonderfully versatile ancient material.

Artists in the show include: Sam Bakewell, Bertozzi and Casoni, Vivian van Blerk, Christie Brown, Phoebe Cummings, Klara Kristalova, Malene Hartmann Rasmussen, Elsa Sahal, Kim Simonsson, Carolein Smit, Jorgen Haugen Sorensen, Bouke de Vries and Hugo Wilson.

The exhibition will continue at Messums Wiltshire 22 February to 5 April 2019


Photos: Sylvain Deleu

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