Gallery FUMI's interior reconfigured as a contemplative domestic space for new exhibition
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Gallery FUMI's interior reconfigured as a contemplative domestic space for new exhibition
Installation view. Photo: Courtesy of Zuketa Ltd for Gallery FUMI.

by Caroline Roux

LONDON.- Much has changed in 2020, not least our relationships with our homes. Since March, we’ve got to know them very well indeed. For months, we no longer locked the door behind us, and departed for hours, days or longer. In 2020 our homes became both sanctuary and prison; the spaces and objects within them ever more familiar, fond and important.

Gallery FUMI’s new exhibition gently reflects this new position, with its interior reconfigured as a contemplative domestic space. “We’ve all been through significant changes this year,” say FUMI’s cofounders Sam Pratt and Valerio Capo, “and we’re taking many things a lot less for granted – including beautiful works of design which are here to enrich our worlds.

The designer Gemma Holt is transforming the gallery’s two floors with thick carpeting and floor-to-ceiling curtains. “I want to make a cocoon-like space – soft, quiet and neutral, to reflect the quiet, calming pleasures of being at home,” she says. With furniture in the sort of groupings you find in sitting rooms, dining rooms and on outdoor terraces, the pieces will enjoy the same sort of dialogues they have in a real living environment.

Sam and Valerio have always chosen to work with artists and designers who delight in materials and processes, and have the skill and vision to turn conceptually-driven ideas into reality through extraordinary craftsmanship. Here, virtuoso technique and innovation meet strong strands of storytelling, while the abundance of extraordinary new work that FUMI is able to show this autumn bears testimony to the change of pace and periods of isolation that 2020 has brought.

For artists it has given the gift of time. Max Lamb turned his attention to the material glulam, creating a suite of a sofa and chairs with voluminous soft forms that take their formal cue from his highly lacquered Urushi pillows.

Jamesplumb has foraged through demolition sites, collecting rebar and rubble to make postindustrial candelabras in the Still Roots series. Sam Orlando Miller has devised modular seating in fibreglass with sections that can be used individually, or slotted into long sofa arrangements. Painted, then scraped, they continue Miller’s fascination with patina and surface texture.

Voukenas Petrides new collection of seating – suitable for outdoors – continues their investigation into sculptural forms in cast stone and powder-coated aluminium. Study O Portable’s one-of-a-kind chess set – in a preferred technique for the studio, painting wood-effect onto glass – feels symbolic of a moment when games could fill hours.

Other new works include Stine Bidstrup’s tangled glass chandelier that challenges our optical navigation as it plays with light; and the decorative sculptures of Emma Witter – an alumna of Lee McQueen’s Sarabande Foundation in East London– in which she magics discarded animal bone (salvaged from restaurants, butchers and along the Thames shore) into floral forms. Tom Atton Moore, who collected petals from a magnolia tree throughout the lockdown, has collaged them into a rug design that he then wove in his own studio, like a lockdown diary. The gallery will be showing work by the American designer and sculptor Casey McCafferty, whose carved wood and stone seat takes a decidedly heroic form.

FUMI has also decided to showcase the work of several 2020 RCA graduates, who this summer were not able to stage the usual degree show at the college, but only online. These include Frederik Nystrup Larsen and his ironic fetishization of the erstwhile omnipresent stripey plastic bag in hand worked clay; and photographer Constanza Valderrama’s “Horizon Tautology”, a collection of 8 exact images each printed with a different material and technique.

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