This year’s Sotheby’s Award (Victoria and Albert Museum, UK) winner, Anders Ruhwald creates ceramics in combination with a variety of other materials that evoke the intimacy and familiarity of utilitarian objects but are neither functional nor subject to a pure aesthetic status.
Six years ago, Ruhwald’s work changed course from functional pottery to an investigation into the potential of functional forms to articulate larger themes. He began creating ceramic objects that, while recognizable, do not suggest specific purpose or function. Ruhwald identifies himself as an artist who came from a studio tradition that generates carefully labored utilitarian objects. He describes his work as “amongst utilitarian objects at a conceptual level without committing to them practically.”
Over the years, Ruhwald has become increasingly interested in how we perceive manmade objects, and for this exhibition, he has created objects that have ambiguous references to pieces of furniture or other interior items. The objects are applied with a black glaze, emphasizing variations in form and placement. Ruhwald’s unique installation design allows the work to be experienced as distinct tableaux, each invoking a comparison to a common domestic setting. The works feature foreign and yet familiar forms finished with delicately crafted surfaces and a minimalist sensibility. The objects elicit complex associations with our material world while resisting the matrixes of traditional consumer society.