In the Mix

Matter at Hand

Design Miami

Hostler Burrows’ new show spotlights 10 exceptional Danish contemporary artists—and the value of craft at this moment.

This week, Hostler Burrows in Los Angeles opens Matter at Hand, an exhibition spotlighting new work by ten exceptional contemporary Danish artists. The West Coast iteration is a relaunch of the gallery's successful show of the same name in the New York outpost this past fall.

Artist Yuki Ferdinandsen works on silver pieces in her studio; Photos by Dorte Krogh, courtesy of Hostler Burrows

All the work on display celebrates a passion for material investigation, from Anne Brandhøj’s wooden pieces, which honor the inherent narratives in the so-called imperfections born of nature—knots and cracks and evidence of encounters with insects and fungus—to Astrid Krogh’s explorations of the world below the sea, the patterns and networks that exist among seaweed and marine plants. And while each artist approaches their practice in a completely distinct manner, every one demonstrates a mastery of craft and medium.

Astrid Krogh works with seaweed to create her unique works. Process photos by Dorte Krogh. At bottom right,  Seaweed of the Universe (2021), composed of dried seaweed, LED, glass, smoked oak frame. Photo by Joe Kramm. All images courtesy of Hostler Burrows

Describing the ten participants—Brandhøj, Krogh, Stine Bidstrup, Yuki Ferdinandsen, Bjørn Friborg, Hanne G, Jakob Jørgensen, Martin Bodilsen Kaldahl,  Pernille Pontoppidan Pedersen, and Maria Sparre-Petersen—gallerist Juliet Burrows says, “These are artists who have become experts in one material and have developed an extreme level of skill and understanding of the properties and possibilities of that chosen medium. Through years of investigation and experimentation, they have each arrived at the unique processes that have resulted in the works in the show.”

Hanne G's work contrasts the softness of crochet as a medium with potent statements on the current state of affairs. Photos by Dorte Krogh, courtesy of Hostler Burrows

A gorgeous catalog featuring process images by Dorte Krogh, artist profiles by Charlotte Jul, and an essay by Glenn Adamson accompanies the show, offering additional insight into the artists’ practices. As Adamson writes in his essay, entitled To Will One Thing: “...these objects do exemplify a philosophy: a way of being in the world. Whether clay or wood, metal or glass, each represents the direct engagement between a living, thinking person and the obdurate, external, and uncaring domain of materiality. The very fact of the objects’ excellence attests to the absolute commitment that was brought to these encounters.”

Top: Anne Brandhøj at work in the studio; Photos by Dorte Krogh. Bottom: Jos 1,  Eya, Nils, and Jos 2 wooden sculptures; Photo by Joe Kramm. All images courtesy of Hostler Burrows

And it is both the exceptional quality of this work, and importantly, the dedication to craftsmanship that forged it, that make this show feel particularly poignant against our current backdrop. As Burrows tells us: “So much of our world has become digital and virtual, both as a result of continuous advances in technology, and more abruptly as a consequence of the pandemic. At a time when it feels like so much is trending towards the metaverse, and there seems to be no end in sight for social isolation, there is something both thrilling and nourishing about experiencing artworks that are based in the physical world, that were made by an artist’s hands, and that we can touch, hold, and understand. The artists in this show are grounded in connections—to nature, to community, to material—and that feels important in this moment in time.”

Top: Glass artist Stine Bidstrup at work; her pieces explore optical phenomena. Photo by Dorte Krogh. Bottom: Architectural Glass Fantasies no. 59 (2021); Mold blown glass with digitally printed interior. Photo by Joe Kramm. Images courtesy of Hostler Burrows 

Matter at Hand runs February 17th - March 31st at Hostler Burrows Los Angeles. The exhibition is mounted with the support of the Danish Arts Foundation. ♦