A London Exhibition Contrasts Jochen Holz’s Blobby Glass Objects With Linear Ceramics By Derek Wilson
Is there a German word for when you’re debating the most overused terms in design writing and then, a week later, find yourself leaning on them? “Materiality” came up as one of the most egregious, primarily for its lack of specificity and what one might call “big Grace Church application energy,” e.g. My daughter’s sandcastle exhibited a prescient understanding of materiality. With that in mind, it is with a heavy heart (or at least a guilty conscience) that I bring up materiality this week. But for good reason: Make Hauser & Wirth Somerset’s ‘dis/rupt’ is a new showing of work from the UK-based artists Jochen Holz and Derek Wilson, and the stylized show moniker is in service of — you guessed it — the two artists’ study of materiality.
Glass artist Holz specializes in a technique known as lampworking, which the press release describes as a “free-flowing” way to transform “prefabricated borosilicate glass tubes by melting with a torch.” Each piece of molten glass is “given fluid shape and texture through the use of bespoke tools,” which effectively means that if you like “blobby” shapes, this work is for you. Ceramicist Wilson, for his part, takes a more traditional tack to rendering his bespoke objects, the most outstanding of which are the vessels — pleasingly functional and sculptural in equal measures. (For any fans of intersecting planes in the audience.)
Through their unique approaches to their given mediums, each artist is able to recalibrate, if only the slightest bit, our ideas of what constitutes conventional beauty. By showing the works in tandem, Make encourages a dialogue between disparate approaches to form, suggesting not a hierarchy of value so much as an interrogation of our blasé approach to the objects we live with.