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Belgian makers in town

Belgian makers in town

COLLECT, the international art fair for contemporary objects, will soon be back for its 12th anniversary at the Saatchi Gallery. Presented by the Crafts Council, it covers the fields of ceramics, glass, precious metal, textiles and furniture with a selection of 35 galleries from Europe, Asia and North America.

Among the participants, the WCC-BF, an organisation promoting more than 200 craft makers and artists from the Belgian region Brussels Wallonia, will return this year to present eight imaginative and talented artists: four jewellery makers and four ceramists.

Nelly van Oost, finalist in the Mari Funaki Award 2014, organised by the Melbourne based gallery Funaki recognised as a driving force in the promotion of contemporary jewellery, is among the jewellery artists. She will show her sculptural, expansionist network of suspended clusters available in gold, silver and nickel.

Nelly Van Oost
Nelly Van Oost, ‘Rencontre 20’ (2014), gold, nickel and silver, courtesy of  WCC-BF Gallery, photo by Louise Bonnave

Other jewellery artists who will exhibit this year are Dorothee Van Biesen, a professor in the textile and tapestry department of the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Liège, and Claire Lavendhomme, a contemporary jewellery teacher at the Academy of Fine Arts of Arlon. Van Biesen will present theatrical art pieces made out from textile and Lavendhomme her subtle, poetic and mysterious creations.

Nevin Arig will show her latest works, natural and organic compositions balancing Eastern and Western influences.  Born in Turkey, Arig followed her studies in the Fine Arts Academy in Istanbul. She said she is “inspired everyday by the contrasts of a vast country; torn between Europe and Asia, a mixture of Byzantium and Ottoman architecture, fragrances of spices, screams of children and the murmurs of a metropolis…”.

>Nevin ARIG, ‘#occupygezi day3’ (2014), courtesy of WCC-BF Gallery, photo by N. Arig

The list of ceramic artists brought this year from Wallonia includes Antonino Spoto with his vibrant and colourful ceramics in pure organic shapes. Spoto has been a practicing Belgian physician specialising in anaesthesiology who studied at Académie des Beaux-Arts in Charleroi. He has been a student of Jean-Claude Legrand, also represented this year at the fair. Legrand’s mystical compositions consist of squares, striking in their simplicity, incised with shifted parts in coppers and bluish greys.

Antonino Spoto, ‘Brown and blue vessel’ (2014), courtesy of WCC-BF Gallery, photo by dbastin

Nathalie Doyen will exhibit her impressive embroidery-like ceramics, while Fabienne Withofs will show her sculptures covered by fine decorative patterns, inspired by a world of fantasy and poetry.

Nathalie Doyen, ‘just over there’ (2014), stoneware, courtesy of WCC-BF Gallery, photo by V. Timsonet

Design Flanders, which promotes contemporary design from Flanders, is another organisation that will present Belgian artists this year at the fair.

Also new to the fair this year will be a specially curated exhibition of jewellery entitled “I AM HERE”, featuring pieces from the Craft Council’s own collection alongside other pieces on loan, which will travel together to regional museums within the UK.

The aesthetic pleasure of owning handmade objects and a desire for authenticity are some of the exciting factors that each year drive new collectors and enthusiasts at the fair.

As British artist Grayson Perry wrote in his beautiful book ‘The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman’: “I feel it is more important to have a long and sympathetic hands-on relationship with materials. A relaxed, humble, ever curious love of stuff is central to my idea of being an artist.”

WCC-BF will be located in Stand: 3.2 of Collect at the Saatchi Gallery from 8-11 May 2015.