The brilliant, lush colours of a Ferrari coat this month’s recent acquisition to Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums. Ann Van Hoey’s ceramic vessel of brown clay demonstrates unrivalled perfection and origami-like finesse.
Throughout her practice, Van Hoey employs a technique she has developed herself – she exclusively uses brown clay. She rolls large flat slabs, places these into bowl-shaped moulds and subsequently cuts the resulting hemispheres of clay with scissors, folding the different ends together. In doing so, Van Hoey focuses specifically on the edge of the hemispheres with the aim to arrive at a synthesis of round and angular shapes.
Cleverly, Van Hoey merges the traditional craftsmanship of making earthenware vessels with the lavish status symbols of modern society and capitalist consumerism. This paradoxical yet seductive combination challenges the beholder to reflect upon the balance between tradition and progress, in ceramics and beyond.
Aberdeen has laid particular emphasis on art and craft from Northern Europe, and Van Hoey is of Belgian origin. With its origami-like slits, the work also subtly references Aberdeen’s Oriental Collection of decorative art, which contains craft from Japan, China and India. Moreover, the vessel’s dynamic red colour taps into the vital questions stipulated in the museum’s craft acquisition policy, such as how colour is achieved by the maker and what it suggests.
Presented by the Contemporary Art Society through the Omega Fund, 2016/17