FT How to Spend It on jaggedart artists at SOFA London


FT How to Spend It on jaggedart artists at SOFA London

JUNE 25 2016

A sense of the fragility of nature seems to unite the sculptures being sold at SOFA London, the Sculpture Objects Functional Art and Design Fair. Dedicated to three-dimensional art and design, SOFA is the internationally acclaimed design fair that has been running in Chicago since 1994, focusing on one-off artworks that cross boundaries of fine art, decorative art and design. Now it has arrived in London to give a breath of fresh air to the Olympia Art & Antiques Fair (Monday June 27 to Sunday July 3).

Exquisitely crafted sculptures made from such simple materials as grass and wood shavings rely on sophisticated craftsmanship. Many revive an aesthetic from centuries ago. Kazuhito Takadoi, for instance, makes sculptures out of grass and wood that hang like blossoms, recalling 18th-century watercolours of Japanese trees (Nai 2, £2,900, fourth picture, and Shimo, £2,600). Over time the green stalks in his works change to gold and then finally go white – nature, like us, they seem to say, is in a permanent state of transformation.

Equally charming in their fragility are mobiles (£750-£950) by Juliet and Jamie Gutch, made of elm or sapele wood. Floating like autumnal leaves, their work is so restful that it is not surprising it has been bought by a number of hospitals.

There are a number of paper sculptures by Rachel Shaw Ashton, including Removal (£1,600, third picture), of what looks like a murmuration of starlings formed into the shape of stretching human figures. The beauty of the pieces comes from the shadows cast by the paper as much as the shapes it makes in relief.

One last item worthy of comment is Jude Tucker’s Ephyra (£5,500, first picture), a thin disc of white alabaster as limpid as the moon. There are also fashion drawings for sale, steel furniture and a number of splendid ceramic vases, but it is the lyrical, almost spiritual simplicity of sculptures conjured out of the mundane rudiments of nature that steal this show.