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Martino Gamper hooks his audience with a throng of humorous pegs and vases
Hooked Alpi (Mixed wood- Poplar, Ayous, Basswood Veneer), Hook from Glass and Burl with Knob
Image: Courtesy of Anton Kern Gallery

Martino Gamper hooks his audience with a throng of humorous pegs and vases

The Italian designer’s ongoing exhibition, I am many Moods, at Anton Kern Gallery, showcases over 700 hooks and vases made out of various contemporary materials.

by Almas Sadique
Published on : Aug 05, 2023

In the midst of aesthetically sound spaces, there are often some functional and utilitarian attributes that jut out, noticeably and in dissimilitude with their surroundings. Some examples that come to mind include switches coloured in monotones, an industrially built bulb incandescent with white or yellow light, door stoppers built in aluminium or plastic, or hooks and hangers strewn across our rooms to carry our clothes, bags and other fundamental objects. In the customisation of our living spaces, we often miss out on including the smaller details. Later, we compensate with the addition of handcrafted alternatives (such as terracotta hooks, carefully painted bedside lampshades, or wall decals sitting adjacent to switchboards). Imagine hooks and hangers that can project a variety of emotions, many moods: a tiny wooden hook decorated with a bright red ball for walls short on space, another one shaped like a smoking pipe for living rooms attempting to show their mischevious side, one chiselled out of wood to go with woody decors and another one crafted from glass for a truly sophisticated locale.

Martino Gamper, a designer born in the Italian alps, and who lives and works between London, Italy and New Zealand, recently built a family of over 700 hooks and vases that not only reflect the many moods of the creative, but also feature as functional bespoke objects worthy of possession. Currently, these objects are on display at Anton Kern Gallery in New York, USA, under the moniker I am many moods. On view from June 7 to August 11, 2023, the showcase boasts of objects that are moulded from a variety of materials using a multitude of different crafting and building techniques.

“Recently Martino Gamper has been in a very good mood, making over 700 hooks and vases which form a loose family of functional objects,” reads the press release shared by the American art gallery. Gamper’s objects at the gallery, however, fit better under the accreditation of design. Despite taking liberties with the choice of material, colour and mood portrayed by each hook and vase in the gallery, the Italian designer manages to retain the rough visage of hooks. In doing so, he ensures that they are usable, instead of ending up on our walls like mere decorations.

Gamper’s designs follow the principle of ‘form follows function.’ In that, they comprise a section that can be affixed onto the wall, and a section that can strut out, to hold hanging objects. The designer has ensured that the length of the former half be either long or broad enough to fulcrum the load exerted on it. His expertise stems from his experience as an apprentice with a furniture maker in Merano, his training in sculptural art under Michelangelo Pistoletto at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, and the study of product design under Matteo Thun. The designer also completed a Masters from Royal College of Art, London, where he studied under Ron Arad.

Detailing the wide range of materials and processes used by Gamper to build the pieces, the gallery shares, “Gamper has screwed, drilled, cast, carved, sawed, sanded, printed, extruded, chainsawed, blown, welded, flame/laser/water cut, forged, torched, and torn many materials including wood, metal, glass, steel, plastic, crystals, ceramics, bronze, aluminum, brass, stainless glass, cork, marble, stones, and branches.” After sculpting the pieces, the product designer either polished, plated, painted, anodised, enameled, sanded, sprayed, or powder coated them for their final finished look.

This cacophony of materials, forms and techniques exude a vibrant chaos within the gallery. Upon entry, the sheer number of objects on display can seem overwhelming. On closer inspection, however, one can trace the highs and lows of the exhibition. While some pieces made the visitor stop, in order to perceive it for a few additional seconds, others bear a calmer demeanour and rest easy on the eyes. The gallery rightly promises, “Here, there is an object for everyone.”

Martino Gamper’s ‘I am many Moods’ is on display from June 7 to August 11, 2023 at Anton Kern Gallery, New York, USA.

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