A Passion for Form presents a selection of ceramic and fabric artworks from the collection of Dr Brian Harding and is the first public exhibition of the collection. Featuring pieces from esteemed artists and craftspeople Dame Magdalene Odundo OBE, Jennifer Lee OBE, Peter Collingwood OBE and Hans Coper, each of whom have brought craft to a contemporary art audience through their innovative and idiosyncratic techniques and mastery over their chosen materials.
For over four decades, Harding has built an eclectic collection of art with a focus on tactile objects which is displayed in his home in the company of understated twentieth-century interior design. Taking no notice of trends, Harding’s collecting has instead been driven by his commitment to acquiring work by a select handful of artists across their careers. As a result, every room in his home has become a snapshot into the archive of each artist, revealing their developing practices in a way rarely seen in public collections.
Ceramics, often kept behind display cases for fear of their fragility, here bask confidently atop transparent surfaces, chests of drawers and above cupboards, creating unexpected and unmediated encounters. Undaunted by the delicate nature of the objects which fill his home, Harding directly contravenes the popular wisdom of museum practices, confident in the knowledge that the true pleasure of these works comes from the haptic encounter.
In place of neutral white walls, wall hangings – artworks in their own right – create dynamic backdrops for sculptural ceramics, with curated vignettes appearing at every angle. The softness of these hangings is contrasted in their linear geometry. Like the furniture which occupies each room, modernity, and beauty are their defining features.
A Passion for Form seeks to stay true to the motivations behind the forms of display within Harding’s home while placing the works in a new environment where they are accessible to a broader audience.
Courtesy of Maximillian William, London