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Guido Geelen, Ritsue Mishima, Luzia Simons

Contemporary craftsmanship, in the Gross Gusto sense, is at its best when beauty meets whimsy, when manufacturing traditions are wittily challenged. When, instead of mimicking past eras, it challenges and creates something new. Dutch tulip vases, Italian Murano glasses and Flemish tapestries are examples of pieces that have had astonishing cultural significance and taste-making power in European art history, whether royal or bourgeois.

Veranstaltungen in Berlin: Contemporary Crafts
© visitBerlin, Grafik: Mona Schäfer

The three creatives Guido Geelen, Ritsue Mishima, Luzia Simons show that these art forms are still evolving. They respond by breaking new ground, intertwining cultural references, and transforming classic patterns back into craft in an act of nonconformism - all in the spirit of Brutto Gusto.

Guido Geelen is a master at casting all manner of living and non-living things and transforming them into unusual metal and ceramic sculptures. His glazed, stacked clay buckets with holes for flowers, are his modern interpretation of the Delft tulip vase. An allusion to the historical paradigm of adapting the Chinese porcelain style to the 17th century craze of Dutch tulip fever. Today they are a staple in many museum stores, mostly made in China.

Ritsue Mishima needed a lot of persuasion to get Venetian glass masters in historic workshops to transform their drawings into crystal sculptures with samurai-like discipline and Japanese minimalism. Massive, yet delicate, capturing the light. They are not colored, returning to the brilliance of Murano's eleventh-century clear glass origins.

Luzia Simons creates tapestries in the 16th-century European tradition of the mille fleur style. The Brazilian artist embarks on this path - as part of her persistent appropriation of the tulip as a symbol of cultural transfer and search for identity as an outsider.  When a floral digital scanogram meets the, it triggers anachronistic feelings. But Simons imitates European patterns to hide a sophisticated form of criticism behind them as well.
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