Five artists to look out for at London’s Collect contemporary craft fair

Hyesook Choi's A Relic from the Early 21st Century_Purse 9 (2022)

The pandemic, rising exhibition costs, and Brexit have created problems for the most established art fairs in the last few years. But 2023 will see renewed engagement and pursuit of Collect. Collect is an international contemporary craft fair that is back at Somerset House March 3-5 for its 19th edition, with 40 galleries showcasing the work of over 400 craftsmen.

We’ve selected five artists to look out for at this year’s contemporary art fair.

Hyesook Choi, Gallery Sklo

This Korean artist creates luxury items such as Chanel bags from the fragile material of glass. The artist addresses the concept of modern beauty and the impact of this social pressure on young women. According to her, women have turned to material goods, especially handbags and high heels, to satisfy an artificial ideal of beauty. This has led women to become more obsessed with how they look and it has led them to spend more time and money purchasing beauty products to boost their self-esteem and boost their self-confidence.

Samuel Nnorom, Gallery REVEL

Samuel Nnorom’s Growth Amidst Storm (2022)

Nigerian-born artist Samuel Nnorom is known for his huge bubble work made from Ankara’s colorful wax cloth, a cloth mostly sourced from West Africa. The artist scoops inspiration from a child playing with fabrics and threads in his mother’s sewing workshop. Bubbles stitched together are said to represent the fabric of society or social structures. Most of the materials Nnorom uses are recycled: scraps of fabric collected from tailor shops or Styrofoam waste from furniture stores.

The work of this artist definitely deserved special attention at the contemporary craft fair.

Alice Kettle, Candida Stevens Gallery

Alice Kettle’s Star Flowers (2021)

Alice Kettle first studied painting at the University of Reading. But after graduation, she attended evening courses in embroidery and then studied fashion and textiles for a Ph.D. The artist is known for her large-scale work, which combines hand embroidery with mechanical embroidery. Kettle uses textiles as a way to explore the complex history of the environment regarding gender and housekeeping, as well as environmental issues.

Pengfei Zhu, BR Gallery

Pengfei Zhu’s Enjoy the Meal (2022)

When it comes to East Asian practices, there is a lot of focus on ceramics, but China has a long tradition of metalworking that BR Gallery aims to highlight. Among other things, the contemporary art fair featured the works of Pengfei Zhu, whose practice is based solely on metal and whose work oscillates between fine art and functional wearable items.

Bruce McLean, 1882

Bruce McLean’s Garden Ware (2018-22)

British artist Bruce McLean first began creating his Garden Ware work in 2017 in collaboration with the Stoke-on-Trent 1882 pottery and design studio. His work is inspired by the light and shapes in his garden in Menorca. Each product of the artist is painted by hand.

He was educated as a fine artist. But McLean soon earned himself a reputation as a daredevil who rejected the views on sculpture of his mentors, among whom was Anthony Caro. When he was only 27 years old, McLean became the youngest artist ever to be offered an exhibition at the Tate, but opted for a one-day retrospective instead.


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