• January 22, 2019

    Cecilia Vissers at Mjölk

    We are so happy to introduce Cecilia Vissers work in our showroom. I remember the first time I saw her work was at the home of Eero Koivisto, of Swedish architect firm Claesson Koivisto Rune. It was evening, and I remember seeing two plates, one raw aluminum and another that was anodized orange which hung in Eero’s hallway. It wasn’t the same vibrant orange as the piece in our showroom. It read closer to burgundy in the hallway, and I distinctly remember Eero mentioning that the aluminum panel was somewhat of a chameleon. Changing its colour throughout the day.


    Claesson Koivisto Rune had recently completed an incredible project in Marfa Texas, a town that continues to feel the presence of late-American artist Donald Judd. The build is called the Inde/Jacobs Gallery, and happens to be our second point of connection with Cecila Vissers work. I remember seeing an incredible range of plates, all interacting with each other in this perfectly realized white space. The desert seems like a perfect home for this work, as does the edge of the world hanging over the Irish sea.


    We are very proud to display this work (visit here for webstore), and to present this interview to you below.  


    title: Faraway I and II 
    edition of 12, in linen bound box with inscription
    year: 2014
    material: hot rolled steel, black patina


    title: So Close, two-part
    edition of 25, in linen bound box with inscription
    year: 2015
    material: anodized mill aluminium


    Interview between Cecilia Vissers and John Baker of Mjölk.

    December 2018.


    JOHN: I have been living with your work here at the showroom, and I’ve spent a good amount of time thinking about where exactly I want to place your work in our gallery. There seems to be a great importance on location in terms of the work. The actual pieces sit 10mm from the wall, the distance between each plate and also the names themselves “So Close” “Faraway” seem to play with the emotional tether (chain, binding, tying together) between the viewer and artwork. (+ landscape)


    CECILIA: Thank you, John, for your good observations of my wall-based sculptures. I really appreciate it when the viewer takes time to comprehend my minimal work. The best way to understand it is to ‘live’ with it for a while. The placement and installation of my spatial work is very important, I often say that space and object together form the final work of art. The space between the individual parts is important and forms the negative space. By looking very carefully at the lines and the forms of the negative space you can see the proportions and forms of the subject much better. To me a work of art does not exist without surrounding space. I feel there’s a continuous dialogue between object and architecture. In this context I like to use the word ‘synergy’ as I believe that all things work together to produce something greater than the sum of their individual effects. 


    JOHN: I’ve been admiring your photography of the Irish coast and cliffs, a landscape that is both beautiful but also harsh. I’ve learned speaking to you about how this environment inspires your work, and I could sense the connection even before seeing this imagery. How would you describe your experience exploring and documenting this landscape?


    Achill Island, 15,5x24cm, silver gelatin print, 2014 (photo Cecilia Vissers)


    CECILIA:  My many trips to Scotland and especially to the West coast of Ireland are the basis of my work. I have to be there in that landscape, I want to stand on the cliffs and look out over the Atlantic. The wind, the waves, the rain. It has everything to do with emotion and memories. In 2009, I came to Achill Island for the first time. I felt very strongly that I had been there before, a kind of recognition. We made a long walk in the driving rain and strong wind. It was fascinating to see how the rain formed tiny streams running from the mountain slopes. In 2014, I was selected for a second residency on Achill Island. One night there was an exceptional strong wind on the island. The next morning, I went for a walk, the sky had a deep dark grey colour, roads and sidewalks were lit up, bridges were split and piers damaged. Due to the flooding there was an incredible amount of plastic on the beaches. I noticed a beautiful coloured sea fish thrown on one of the coastal roads. Stretches of the coast were completely washed away. The many pictures made on this walk serve as starting point for my work in steel, a source of inspiration. Only a few times I’ve shown my photos of landscapes in an exhibition. Yet I consider these images as an important part of my artistic practice. For me, landscape and image form a unified whole, just as space and image can't exist without each other.


    Achill Island, 15,5x24cm, silver gelatin print, 2014 (photo Cecilia Vissers)


    JOHN: What role does distance play in your work?


    CECILIA: Many of my works consist of several parts. When hanging my work, I keep fixed and very precise distances between the different parts of my work. These distances have been calculated and recorded in the manual that comes with each piece of art. The intermediate space is very important, you could even say that the ‘space in between’ is a work of art in itself. Also, the distance between the viewer and the actual work plays an important role; when the viewer changes position the influence of the light on the anodized surfaces of my work also changes. In 2015, I had a solo exposition at Inde/Jacobs gallery in Marfa, Texas. I was lucky to visit this special place, partly thanks to grants provided by the Dutch Embassy in New York and the Brabant Art Foundation in the Netherlands. My installations sometimes consist of eighteen parts. In the centre of the beautiful gallery space (designed by the architects Claesson, Koivisto, Rune from Stockholm) the visitor will see the so called 'Hanging Cube’ .


    Installation of Ridges at Inde/Jacobs gallery in Marfa Texas, 2015 (photo Cecilia Vissers)


    For me this was the perfect place to show my installation ' Ridges ' (image above) consisting of a total of eighteen pieces in anodized aluminium. Inside the gallery, a skylight brings the bright Texas light into the beautiful white-walled space. The light in the high desert is very strong. It’s not a big surprise that Marfa is known as the ‘Mecca of Minimalism’.  The late artist Donald Judd – considered a pioneer of Minimalism in the US- moved to Marfa in 1972. With the help of the Dia Art Foundation he purchased a U.S. Army base. Over the next 15 years, he renovated and restructured the buildings to show his permanent installations. The Chinati Foundation now draws visitors from all over the world who have heard about the spirit of the place and are curious to discover it for themselves.


    So Close, ed.25, each part 8x20x1,2cm, anodized mill aluminium, 2015 (photo Peter Cox)


    JOHN: I love the vividness of the anodized aluminium, there is an incredible depth in the colour and finish. Can you explain a little more about this process, and why it was your preference instead of simply having the works painted?


    CECILIA: My edition ‘So Close’(image above), presented in your showroom, has been executed in anodized mill aluminium. This is a good example of high tech industrially made work. The two-part was made in a factory that makes airplane parts, very precise. The work is milled by a robot in a closed cab. Then, the work goes to a specialized factory where the works are immersed in different colour baths. For me, this process is especially interesting because the anodizing respects the natural appearance of the metal. In the morning, the colour of my pieces is bright orange, in the evening the colour turns into a deep almost red hue. The colour anodizing respects the underlying material, this is a totally different approach than covering a surface with a coat of paint. Besides my work in aluminium, I also like to work in hot rolled steel. This is a different approach, it has more to do with the purity and natural appearance of the metal. When I need a plate of hot rolled metal, I visit the metal supply where I compare a few plates of steel. Each plate weighs up to 250kg. Here I pay attention to the colour and texture of the steel. Each plate is unique and has its own colour and pattern of darker and lighter spots. 


    Blacksod Bay, each part 93x95x0,8cm, hot rolled steel, 2010 (photo Peter Cox)


    In 2010 I made my two-part ‘Blacksod Bay’ (image above). At that time, I stayed at the Heinrich Boell Cottage on Achill Island. The Achill Heinrich Boll Foundation operates the residency and it is a great opportunity to explore this particularly isolated peninsula. Achill represents the most western point of Ireland. It signifies the extreme edge of the land. You cannot physically go further. I would walk over the high cliffs and see the ocean there below and could do so without distractions: there were only the sea and the waves, the wind and the lines. The cottage is very secluded, it has a view over the surrounding mountains and a terrific sight over Blacksod Bay, a bay of the wild Atlantic Ocean.  


    Sometimes the deep blue greyish colours are the result of the rolling process of the steel at the blast furnace. To intensify the colour and protect the metal, I use special patinas like ‘Magic Black’. The deep blue and grey tones have my preference, they remind me of the colour of the sky and the ocean on Achill Island, Ireland. The landscape is my all-time guide, my travel experiences and the underlying emotions form the basis of all work. The many photos of wild landscapes form an important part of my artistic practice. They serve as a reference to go back to that one special place. The ultimate viewing experience is the feeling of being drawn into an experience. Mark Rothko has expressed this very well in the following quote: “The fact that people break down and cry when confronted with my pictures shows that I can communicate those basic human emotions. The people who weep before my pictures are having the same religious experience I had when painting them. And if you say you are moved only by their colour relationships then you miss the point.” Mark Rothko


    JOHN:   What a wonderful sentiment. I read that one of your first attempts to shape a plate of metal involved using a hand-held jigsaw in your original studio which was a shared space with metal workers. Tell us about this first experience and its result.


    CECILIA: About a year ago my monography ‘Flatness in Space’ was published by artbook publisher Lecturis in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. Art historian Dr. Alistair Rider from Scotland wrote a beautiful essay titled ‘The Cut and The Profile’. 


    I’d like to share a few sentences:


    “One of Cecilia Vissers’ earliest attempts to shape a plate of metal involved using a powerful hand-held jigsaw. She had recently graduated from art school in the Netherlands and established a studio for herself in a building that used to be an old forge. A blacksmith, who was still working in another part of the workshop, had instilled in her a fascination with the ancient art of working with metal, and she was keen to experiment. One day she acquired a long, rectangular plate of steel and made a curved incision, arching away from its straight edge towards the centre of the plate. Then she made another complementary cut a few centimetres to one side, looping inwards to join the first. That was all. The modesty of her intervention attests to the hardness of the steel: it is a material that demands an immense expenditure of energy in order to work it. But she had extracted a notch from the rectangular form, and in so doing had altered its overall shape and proportions.” (Flatness in Space, A.Rider, 2017, p12).

    JOHN: We're circled right back to the beginning with this note. Thank you so much for taking us deeper into your work. We are so happy to be able to display these pieces in our gallery. 


    Curve No. 1, 5,9x61,4x0,5cm, hot rolled steel, 1998 (photo Peter Cox)


    This steel sculpture Curve No.1, has become my template, it still lies on my workbench alongside my compass, right angle square and ruler. It serves as a model, and many subsequent works have been inspired by its proportions. In 2017 I decided to make Curve No.2, this work is the long-awaited successor of Curve No.1. I think it perfectly shows my working process. ‘Work comes out of work’.


    Curve No. 2, 12,2x61x1cm, hot rolled steel, black patina, 2017 (photo Peter Cox)


    I’m really excited that you’ll show my works in your showroom. Art & architecture belong together, I think they are reinforcing and influencing each other in a very positive way. Thank you, John, for doing this interview! 


    Faraway I (right) & II (left), ed.12, each part 12,5x17x1,2cm, hot rolled steel, 2014 (photo Peter Cox)


    Cecilia Vissers


    Dec. 7, 2018

  • November 28, 2018

    The Stone House: The Big Window

    Our last weekend at the stone house was all about the large window reveal! Custom made by Peter Tan of Studio Junction, we filled the natural opening that was once a drive through for the horse and buggy, with a large picture window. Literal definition of picture window.


    Of course I forgot my actual camera to document such a momentous occasion, so iphone will have to do!


    We woke up to a blanket of snow, a pretty perfect first experience.


    Children for scale. Also, how great is it when your kids fight over who gets to wash the window? So great.


    Originally the window was to go to the floor, but there happened to be a concrete pad already in place to use and we needed to shore it up a bit on the bottom. The bench is an elegant solution that allows for a place to perch.


    A winter wonderland!


    Time to get cozy inside.


    We received a delivery of furniture, which filled out the sitting area nicely. John found an antique Orkney chair, which we've long admired. The Poet Sofa needed to join us too. 


    We recently fixed all of our Braun record players so one came to the stone house. Currently listening to RAM, inspired by Paul and Linda's country house. Peter Tan of Studio Junction and his amazing crew put together this walnut bookcase with the leftover wood from the storage cabinet.


    Looking towards the partially finished kitchen...


    The kids went outside by themselves for a bit!


    Board game and soup o'clock.


    Photogenic in sunlight.


    Photogenic when overcast.

  • November 12, 2018

    The Stone House: First Snow

    A few weeks ago we got to experience the first dusting of snow at the stone house.


    Pure magic!


    Peter Tan of Studio Junction and his crew have been working at the stone house weekly to get the last bit of the reno completed. Up the path, you can see that the large picture window has been installed. They unfortunately tortured us all weekend with the plastic covering, but I guess good things come to those who wait.


    Another view of the picture window. This window has taken on various iterations in our imaginings. A large swing door inspired by Donald Judd was the top runner for the longest time, however, in the end in order to cut on costs, we decided it wasn't the most logical expense since we plan to inhabit this place more so in the winter time! The other version was to have a fixed window with a door, but I really felt it was important to have an uninterrupted view. I am very pleased with how the fixed window is turning out, as a deep bench has been fashioned from the inside, perfect for daydreaming.


    The kids finally emerged...


    This massive tree was still green, it's leaves so thick it was actually raining under the canopy. Unfortunately we missed seeing it turn yellow, and by the time we return all the leaves will be on the ground. Hoping to make a massive leaf pile to jump in.


    The snow was perfect for snowballs and snow people/pets. I shared some of those photos on my Instagram stories.


    Inside view of the picture window and Studio Junction temporary work station. Next visit this window area will be complete! In the meantime, we were debating what to do with this extra space. It was always meant to be a more raw workspace, a spot to get messy with paint and clay. That said, the window beckons for some cozy seating. I feel like the window will be our tv and we will want to sit in front of it all day long. 


    Another progress view. On the right you see a walnut cabinet that will be used to store winter gear, cleaning materials and any other things we don't want to look at. The cut out in the middle allows light through to the wood door, and also acts as a peekaboo to the outside when you enter. Additionally, that void offers a spot to sit for lacing boots.  



    A little sneak peek of a gorgeous antique cabinet purchased from Japan.  Acquiring that was a not fun adventure - antiquing in Japan from Canada is...discouraged. Also pictured is the Sutoa Drawers from FRAMA. We plan on using it in the creative space.



    We had our first impromptu guests over the weekend. Alex Fida of Angeline's Inn and House of Falconer--check out his instagram @alexfida to see his own renovation/restoration projects--in PEC popped by with some friends. Alex had originally looked at the house when it was for sale so it was exciting to show him all the work we'd done. Thankfully John had overbought food from the Cheese Boutique so we were set to receive guests--though we were short on chairs and plates!


    Pictured here is the amazing serving bowl with handle by Tomii Takashi and some brass servers by Mami Hasegawa. We don't currently have it listed on the website but we do have a few of the serving bowls available in the showroom ($720-$780).


  • October 23, 2018

    The Stone House: a few more details from the weekend

    The guest bedroom is coming together nicely with the addition of the elegant opal glass and oxidised brass Copenhagen table lamp by Space Copenhagen.


    The door to the guest bedroom doesn't stay where you want it to. This beautiful cast iron acorn shaped doorstop by Eva Shildt and Maja Sten for Svenskt Tenn has been hanging around our house in the city, but with no doors that need stopping, it's finding a more useful life at the stone house.


    Another shot of the Hans Wegner Peacock chairs. This corner is still in progress.


    Painting by Sean Stewart.


    A closeup of the Swedish kakelugn tile stove. Although we have big love for the round versions, it's special to have a mantle to display some beloved objects. Some antique finds on the left, a couple of Masanobu Ando's Box of Air sculptures and a meiping shaped vase acquired at an antique shop/cafe in Japan several years ago.