In March 2012, Sarah K (Sarah King of Blakebrough + King design studio) opened gallery Oh in Sydney. Unceremoniously inhabiting a corner space of Megan Morton’s Studio and School in Rosebery (also home to Kitchen by Mike and the Koskela furniture showroom), gallery Oh is a ‘micro’ gallery in the truest sense of the word. Basically a clear perspex box mounted in the corner of a room that joins Koskela to Morton’s Studio complex, the gallery features a single exhibit by a designer selected by King. So far it has shown works by Bertjan Pot, Marti Guixé, Nathalie du Pasquier, Formafantasma and several others.
“The premise is simple”, says King. ”I invite one work (or more if it can fit) by one international designer whose work I am impressed by, to be shown for a minimum period of 2 months - but they usually run for longer. I offer the dimensions and leave it to the designer to create something specifically for gallery Oh or make some existing piece work within the confines of the small space”.
After two years of curating the Sydney space, King has decided to open an annexe of gallery Oh at Mr Kitly in Melbourne. Annexe Oh is being launched with a retrospective exhibition of all the works that have been shown at gallery Oh since it opened and will give Melbournians the opportunity to see some unique and beautiful objects by some of the world’s most interesting designers. Opening on Friday the 11th of July, the exhibition will run through to the 27th of July before reverting to the single object format.
Bertjan Pot is a Dutch designer who is more famous for his furniture and lighting work for Moooi than for his work in textiles but tinkering with fabric, rope and weaving machines delights him and has led to many installations and intriguing projects. His masks are an ongoing exploration of rope and how when sewn in a coil-like pattern they naturally evolve into three dimensional shapes. Each one takes on a form of its own - often resembling a tribal mask. Originally discovered while playing around with some left over rope, Pot's masks are something creative to do when he is uninspired by the work at hand. Something of a therapeutic outlet, the masks range from the bizarre to the down-right terrifying. While these masks use an intentionally lo-fi approach, Pot is no slouch when it comes to the use of complex technology when it's required. His work with the Tilburg Textile Museum regularly pushes the limits of modern jacquard machines and creates new directions in woven textiles.
Study O Portable is Bernadette Deddens from the Netherlands and Tetsuo Mukai from Japan. Since 2009 the duo have been represented by design galleries in London, Brussels, New York and Paris as well as showing their work at design events such as Design Miami Basel. Their ‘Fuzz’ collection involves the use of ceramic resin applied in layers to a wax mould. A study of voids, the project takes a precise geometric shape and creates a mutated organic one. Once the object is cut and the exposed surface polished, the vessel reveals its geometric origins and takes on the appearance of a semi-precious stone such as Agate.
Another of the objects included in the gallery Oh retrospective is a vessel from Studio Formafantasma's 'Botanica' series. Founded by two Italians, Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin, the studio is based in Eindhoven, The Netherlands where the two designers completed IM masters courses at Design Academy Eindhoven. They see their role as bridging craft, industry, object and user while they seek to stimulate a more critical and conceptual design dialogue, often involving historical research to inform their approach.
Their 'Botanica' project was commissioned by Plart, an Italian foundation dedicated to the recovery, restoration and conservation of works of art and design produced in plastic. Studio Formafantasma delved into the pre-Bakelite period, discovering natural polymers extracted from plants or animal-derivatives that offered some incredible properties. Digging into the 18th and 19th centuries, when scientists began experimenting with draining plants and animals in search for plasticity the designers produced a series of vessels made from Rosin, Damar, Copal, Shellac and Bois Durci (a 19th-century material composed of wood dust and animal blood).
Nathalie Du Pasquier, is a French born designer turned artist who has been living in Milan since 1979. One of the founders of the Memphis Movement in the 80's, Du Pasquier designed furniture, laminates, rugs and other decorative objects that carried the signature colours and graphic symbols of the movement. While these highly patterned and often wild designs have recently undergone a renaissance with reissues by Memphis Milano and Australian company, Third Drawer Down, these days most of Du Pasquier's time is spent painting or assembling 'constructions' - three dimensional works that manipulate colour, shape and shadow. One of these works will be on show during the upcoming retrospective.
Le modèle et son ombre is an insightful short film directed by Judith du Pasquier (presumably a relative). The film shows the artist's process and reveals her subtle perception of colour and proportion.
For these and other works from the past two years of gallery Oh, drop into Mr Kitly between July 11 and 27. The opening night is from 6 to 8pm Friday 11th of July at 381 Sydney Road, Brunswick, Victoria. For more information visit Mr Kitly's website.