• 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

  • September 7, 2018

    Introducing Tetsuya Ozawa

    Funny story about Tetsuya Ozawa's first shipment to us. It sold out within days of receiving it. We never even had a chance to post it to the website, or share our interview with him here on the journal. This week we received a new shipment of Ozawa-san's beautiful work, so it's the perfect time to share John's interview with him.


    6 Questions for TETSUYA OZAWA


    ( J = JOHN’s Questions / T = TETSUYA’s Answers, translated by Reiko )



    J : Please give us some insight about who you are, you are based in Tajimi city? 


    T :   My name is Tetsuya Ozawa.

    I was born in Tajimi City, Gifu Prefecture in 1984. 

    Graduated from Nagoya University of the Arts in 2008.

    Then I have studied and was being an apprentice under the ceramicist Mr. Masamichi Yoshikawa at

    Tokoname-shi, Aichi prefecture. I started up my own practice in 2016.

    Currently I’m based in Tokoname (*1) , Aichi prefecture.


    (*1 = Tokoname City =

    Tokoname Ware = )



    J : What motivates you to make pottery? Did you try to do anything else on your way to becoming a potter? 


    T : In my hometown Tajimi City, Ceramics are part of our life and there were so many
    opportunities to touch clays since I was very young.

    Since I realized I would like to be a creator, I think it was natural to start thinking and aiming to be

    “Ceramist” as a choice. I decided to be a Ceramist when I was in junior high school, and since then I continue

    to pursue studying ceramics in high school, university, and apprenticeship under the ceramicist Mr. Yoshikawa.


    J : Are there specific forms, history our cultures that inspire your work? 


    T : I am heavily influenced by tea culture, folk arts, modern craftwork. 


    I mainly used to make objects and sculpture before, but I started to become attracted by the way ceramics has

    been used for people’s daily life. I decided to start to make Ceramics for people and people’s life.


    Currently I am interested in how to use the technique of material layering of abstract paintings such as

    the way Mark Rothko did (*2).


    (*2 = Mark Rothko = )


    I try to produce my ceramics with awareness of what is at my feet and what is surrounding myself.

    Like making a little tea pot to the ancient big pottery style from my local Tokoname village.


    J : The surface of your ceramics is very unique. I believe it is white slip over clay? The texture is very beautiful, how did you come to use this to finish your pieces?


    T : I use old technique called “KOFUKI ( = dusting )”.

    I put white soil on the clay which contains a lot of iron, like putting on "make-up”.

    It is a distinctive technique that creates a soft texture on the surface.

    It does make a totally different texture compared with the regular white porcelains.


    When I started to do experiments, I only put one layer on the surface. I was still wondering if

    I could create more complicated textures, like something with dirtiness and some roughness.

    Then the paper container that I bought from an antique store caught my eyes.


    I noticed I could see various colors and expressions on one bowl...such as paper wrinkles,

    dirts stuck by being used, deterioration of paints, some brushstrokes to give strength for the substrate of surface etc.

    Then I started to create my current style which is putting soil overlap and scraping off repeatedly.

    This is the catalyst for when I started to apply it to my own work.


    J : Is there something special about your process? Or the clay / glazing you use?  


    T : I originally like mat finish with complex expressions without glaze.

    However, experimentally I was looking for something where I could put a delicate gloss like lacquer finish,

    I found “Chara" lacquer which is used for Tokoname teapot.


    “Chara" lacquer was developed for the mass production of Tokoname teapots.

    It is a very unique glaze, It gives a subtle gloss on vessels.


    I think the unique and traditional technique of Tokoname-yaki helps me to create my own style. 

    All different kind of techniques that has been cultivated since ancient times, such as how to make big objects, 

    how to make teapots, and how to bake them.



    J : Besides pottery, what do you enjoy? reading? film? music?


    T : I like playing the guitar.

    Let’s say… I like African American music as the genre of music, especially Pop songs derived from them.

    And like… Jazz, Hip Hop, R&B and especially I like artists in my generation. They inspire and stimulate

    me a lot. I’m listening to them when I'm working in studio.



    J : Thank you very much!



    Shop Tetsuya Ozawa at Mjölk





  • August 27, 2018

    Norihiko Terayama Exhibition: Things that were arranged

    For years people have admired Norihiko Terayama's large scale flower artwork in our showroom. It was time for another visit from Norihiko and this time he brought with him some versions of this artwork to sell in his second solo exhibition at Mjölk. Unfortunately we are nervous to ship these pieces outside of Toronto, due to their fragility but there are some smaller pieces available here.


    Along with the framed works, there were flower interventions on found objects and antiques.


    Antique wooden bucket with floating flowers.


    Lidded urushi bowl with floating flowers (one left).


    Antique Lacquerware container with floating flowers.


    We had three flower rulers available as well. Turns out Norihiko has a few more back in Japan that he will send us. Please email us if you are interested. 


    Most of the Polygons sold at the event. There are a few beauties left. 


    Crust of Polygon, Object 1


    Crust of Polygon, Object 2


    Crust of Polygon, Object 3


    The opening reception was a lovely evening. It's always so heartwarming how engaged everyone is.


    Norihiko Terayama at Mjölk.

  • July 18, 2018

    Introducing FRAMA

    We've been admirers of FRAMA since we had the Anderssen & Voll Garden Works launch party at Kollected by in Oslo several years ago. Shop owners and stylists stylists Kråkvik & D'Orazio have been long time supporters of FRAMA.


    We then visited the Frama showroom for the first time in Copenhagen, and were further amazed with their poetic blend of rational industrial design and craft. Their work conjures for us images of black and white photographs of old French ateliers, studios furnished with functional and strong furniture yet visually delicate and slender. Industrial yet at the same time softened with natural materials like oak and leather. 

    We hope you will enjoy these pieces as much as we do.


    Triangolo Chair
    Design by Architect Per Holland Bastrup, 1989. Signature Collection.
    Even though the Triangolo chair was created several decades ago it goes hand in hand with the Frama principles of strong geometric forms and simple lines. 


    Circle Mirror and Adam stool in oak.
    Occasionally we see a form that speaks on its own. The round mirrors are an example of just this. A classic round mirror with beveled edges mounted to a solid oak back. Visible screws celebrate the analogue approach to this 50's inspired piece. The visual purity of the round shape is honoured by its material composition. 


    Rivet Box Table and Rivet Round Side Table

    Aluminium can be difficult to weld and screw. With that in mind a riveting/tenon technique was developed for the Rivet project. This was also a way to experiment with different variations of visual assembling. The straightforward design is laser cut and hammered by hand, which puts it in a category between craftsmanship and industrial production.



    Frama St. Pauls Collection of Apothecary
    includes handwash, hand lotion and scents.

    Apothecary is made locally in Denmark. Notes of Sandalwood, Cedar Wood, and Ylang Ylang.
     The Apothecary collection is produced with 100% natural ingredients and in Italian glass bottles.


    The Adam Stool collection is inspired by industrial design, an artist's studio, and a workshop. The functionality and simplicity of the design, combined with strong materials, gives these stools a structural and utilitarian approach. 


    Sutoa means to contain in Japanese.

    Sutoa drawer fulfills the aesthetic look of a storage chest. 
    It is based on a discreet steel frame combined with wooden stack-able drawers in massive oak. Boxes of different sizes serves various purposes to contain. The gap between the boxes becomes the handle and small wheels at the back is very useful to change the placement of Sutoa. 

    Also pictured is the Frama shallow shelf.


    Sintra Table
    Designed by Nicholai Wiig-Hansen

    Suitable as a coffee table or side table where the contrast between the soft warm cork, meets the cold smooth marble. The distinction between the two shapes gives the impression of two worlds meeting one another. 


    FRAMA at Kollected by in Oslo, 2016


    Pictured: Sintra tables, Shallow Shelf, and 9,5° chair.


    Pictured: Shallow Shelf, Adam Stool and Trestle Table