Every year, we spend time with one of the LINLEY Team exploring the ‘Best of the Best’ at Masterpiece. This year is exceptionally special as the LINLEY team member that we are shadowing is Founder, David Linley. So exclusively for you, here are David’s must-see’s for 2016.
The first stand that David described as ‘Most Stylish Stand’ was Adrian Sassoon’s exhibiting pieces, at Stand B1. The gallery is showcasing pieces by established potter Michael Eden, who we interviewed back in May as part of our feature on London Craft Week as well as the extraordinary work of Felicity Aylieff who is best known for her large-scale ceramics. A fan of Felicity, David’s connection with her goes beyond the love they share for ceramics as she in fact taught him at Bedales.
Felicity’s residency in Jingdeezhen, China, is reflected in her monumental pots as seen with the pair of tall blue and white scribble vases, 2015. The thrown and glazed porcelain is painted with a deep cobalt blue oxide with the surface decoration inspired by the summer season in Jingdeezhen.
Listening to David speaking to Adrian Sassoon, it was pointed out that her tallest pair of ceramic pots soon to come, reach up to 4 metres high.
The Fine Art Society
Another favourite of David’s is the Fine Art Society stand, A1, a stand which David mentioned ‘Always has lovely pieces’. One in particular that stood out was the British artist, Gerald Leslie Brockhurst’s Woman in Black, c.1935. It is not known who the female in the portrait is however, her lingering stare captures the viewer raising bewilderment over her beauty, both emotionally and physically. The contrast of her fair skin against the dreary background is produced by an instinctive and controlled technique, excelled in the deepness of her eyes. One must be able to see the work to understand the emotional response in which it generates.
Next stop, Blain|Southern which presents the post-war British sculptor, Lynn Chadwick’s solo exhibition Howling Beast I (1990), stand D27. The monumental sculpture is set in the medium of stainless steel, inspired by Chadwick’s exploration of the human form and the natural world resembling alikeness to abstraction. In the 1960’s, working alongside major artists in his development of the stainless beast sculpture series, Chadwick was asked to collaborate with the Geneoa based steel producer Italsider Spa which was later recalled on in his creation of The Howling Beast.
When asked in a previous interview what attracted Chadwick to the stainless steel medium he answered – ‘Normally stainless steel has an enormous advantage in that it doesn’t matter where you put it,’ since ‘if you have a thing with plenty of facets on it, one of them is bound to shine’. This is certainly true with regards to the Howling Beast I, placed alone in the white stand it radiates, reflecting the different facets of light.
Observed by David as a ‘Marvellous object’ one cannot be surprised. The immense magnitude of the work with its fragmented panels creates a striking contrast of light and shade. Its gleaming surfaces of the facet allow the viewer to engage an insight into the sculptures surrounding environment.
‘Etre heureeux en rendant heureux’ – is Axel Vervoordt’s favourite saying which translates to ‘finding happiness through creating happiness’, and is seen in his stand, C2. As David comments ‘it is not only one of the most stylish stands, but the most stylish man is behind its construction’.
What makes Axel Vervoordt stand out from the other stands at Masterpeice is the atmosphere which is experienced by the viewer. The careful combination of woods, materials, antiques and artwork generates an effect of comfort and serenity. An effect which alludes the whole room with the deep respect for everything that is authentic. However, there was one artwork that stood out against everything else, El Anatsui’s, Revelation, 2014. The shimmering wall hanging is placed as the central focus of the dynamics of the room. A cross between sculpture, tapestry and painting the work indulges in many different contexts. ‘The link between Africa, Europe, and America is very much what is behind my work with the bottle caps’ – El Anatsui. The transformative power of the work allows him to link every aspect into the single piece.
When asked why he felt this stand was so effective. David simply said ‘look around and ask why’. Why do I feel this way about this space? Is it the richness of the materials? Is it the way they are carefully arranged? Or is it the way that certain pieces have been picked to compliment and contrast one another to generate such a powerful effect.
Once asked these questions, it was evident that every stand had also asked themselves the exact same questions when considering their formation for Masterpiece. Each stand is constructed to present their pieces in a particular way that engages the viewer to have a sense of feeling towards the work, which is what successfully makes Masterpiece such an exceptional event. If your still to visit the Masterpiece Fair this year, make sure you take some time to explore David’s favourites and make sure to stop by LINLEY at stand B7 and tell us your thoughts about it.