Amsterdam-based Mia Karlova Galerie routinely scopes out experimental sculptural creations by designers and artists, and platforms them, in their exhibition space, at fairs and at art and design events. Founded and headed by curator and gallerist Mia Karlova, the gallery is all set to showcase functional and sculptural works by five creatives at the upcoming design fair, Collectible, in Brussels, Belgium. Straddling the realms of art and design, the colourful pieces shortlisted to be exhibited at the fair sit in stark contrast against the monochromatic exhibits presented by the gallery at the Collectible event last year. The Europe-based artists and designers whose works will be presented at the fair from March 9 to 12, 2023, include Vadim Kibardin, Kartini Thomas, Femke van Gemert, Karen Birnholz, and Jonne Stout.
“The beauty of Collectible is that every year, it allows us to read a book of design. At the Mia Karlova Galerie booth, collectors will be invited to reflect on what contemporary design says about us: who we are, what we care about, how we live, what and how we consume, what captures our attention and whom we pretend to be, what frightens us and how we hide away,” Mia Karlova shares.
In anticipation of the upcoming fair, STIR looks into the works of the five artists and designers whose works will be platformed by Mia Karlova Gallery at the fair.
Vadim Kibardin is a Prague-based artist and industrial designer who will present Lost Sculptures and Lolly Chair at Collectible 2023. While the former is built using waste paper and cardboard, the latter is constructed using discarded food packaging. Kibardin was inspired to build Lost Sculptures after a visit to the flea market, where he witnessed his contemporaries scouring for vintage coins and old objects with a sense of wonder. In an attempt to imbue new life into old and discarded objects, the designer purchased a vintage lamp, covered it in layers of colourful paper and cards and added the finishing touch with the integration of a clock, hence giving it function, besides building a sculptural piece.
Kibardin’s Lolly Chair, on the other hand, serves as a reminder of the global isolation people across the globe experienced during COVID-19. Built out of differently coloured food packaging, the isolated chair manages to serve as a metaphor for the loneliness apparent to all during the pandemic. Karlova asserts, “I am excited to present this new series of works by Vadim which at once ignite feelings of surprise, of wonder, of uncertainty coupled with distinct hope and positivity, creating a firm balance for existence. Vadim has delved into a conscious and responsible approach to consumption and offers his contribution towards achieving a circular economy out of cardboard boxes.”
Thomas is a France-based, American ceramicist who spent most of her childhood travelling with her parents around the world and encountering mythical tales and legends along the way. Her ceramic sculptures, with their myriad shapes, colours and elements, resemble fantastical creatures from a land unknown. They are tangible objects communicating the dreams and ideas informed by her extensive travels. “From childhood, Kartini travelled to places where people spoke languages unknown to her, and where there was much talk of myths and taboos. She felt different without understanding why. Her mythic positive and playful monsters are a way of proposing stories of alternative identities and origins in answer to questions of who we are and if we need to be alike or different,” Mia shares. Some of her sculptures that will be displayed at the fair include Adelaine, Top Moumoute, Spooter Ghost and Vesuvius.
Femke van Gemert
Femke van Gemert, a Dutch textile artist whose work is informed by the consciousness of overconsumption, attempts to build sculptures that welcome people to interact with her creations and contemplate the place and role of humans in the world. Her From Shame to Shelter nest is crafted out of leftover textiles. Gemert realised that plastic and textile discarded by man is often used by birds to build their nests, hence resulting in the making of long-lasting homes for them. Pondering on replacing natural entities with artificial inventions made by us, Gemert decided to build a nest out of discarded textiles, a nook where people can isolate themselves and take time to think about their actions, and their impact on the environment and other living beings.
American artist Karen Birnholz is known for creating vividly hued cement paintings. Her Color Chart, Also Called Nuts, soon to be presented at Collectible, is a large-scale wall artwork that initially began as a colour reference library that the artist was building during the COVID-19 lockdown—to aid future works. Based in Amsterdam and New York, the artist ended up building individual nut-like sculptures with different hues. The complete set, assembled after the arrangement of different sculptures, resulted in a large-scale installation.
Jonne Stout is a Dutch clay artist who attempts to build artworks capable of connecting with the imagination of the observer. Her latest, Polymetry, expresses the polymetric lines of poems, songs and music—that are at times harmonic and at other times, dissonant. The varied sizes of clay balls, coloured in different hues and juxtaposed in close proximity to one another make for an interesting composition that appears homogenous from a distance and begins to manifest a dynamic character as one moves close to it. “Jonne notices that our mind takes us along the path of well-recognised shapes of clear geometry such as straight lines and circles and that by watching these shapes, we often return to a comfort zone of referencing similarly familiar forms that surround us. When adding rhythm borrowed from poetry to this scenario, Jonne takes the viewer to a higher level of contemplation.” Mia Karlova asserts.
Mia Karlova Galerie will exhibit the works of Vadim Kibardin, Kartini Thomas, Femke van Gemert, Karen Birnholz, and Jonne Stout at Collectible 2023 in Brussels, Belgium, from March 9 to 12, 2023.