BERLIN––Form and utilitarian function engage in German ceramist Johannes Nagel’s exhibition No Fake at Brutto Gusto (June 12 – September 6, 2020)—not in battle for cogency—but rather in a nuanced dialogue as Nagel’s hypotheses of form are woven, contoured, sprayed, twisted, thumbed and even scored into their vascular surface.
“In No Fake, Johannes Nagel reverences his ultimate expression, which is a place of truth and tangible, tactile presence. Pure gesture is frozen precisely at the interface between mental design and practical realization on the material itself – where consciousness meets the world. His works can at times be perceived as provocatively disharmonious, with a fragile equilibrium and bursting with flaws and cracks which he purposely assumes and accentuates.Aldonso Palacio
Committed to exploring the myriad ways of producing a vessel, Nagel invites pure kinetic impulse and improvisation throughout his process. The vessel forms themselves are merely the surviving outcomes of Nagels’ variable investigations wherein each new stage and factor, like slip-casting porcelain in sand, is able to produce infinite possibilities.
“He performs a transformation of the ceramic vessel into free plasticity and deconstructs both the historic and contemporary meanings of the term “vase“. They are too disparate for flowers – they draw all attention to themselves with their breaks, irregularities and fragile equilibrium…He shatters conventions with innovative methods and deconstructionist techniques.”
Nagel goes so far as to deconstruct and reinterpret the vessel form to the point where the ‘vase’ identifier becomes obsolete as “these containers full of holes, the interior competes with and complements the exterior; together they resists the very idea of ‘containing.'” And yet, through Nagel’s experimentation and taxonomic obliteration, the visual language which transduce the archetypal vessel form is made even more apparent.
“They are all original, genuine, no copies, no fake. Ever aiming for more singularity, now he flirts at some level with the graffiti sub tone. The new work has a number of variations of spraying of colour that quests for a fresh aesthetic combined with the glazes. Shape-wise he aims for a distorted rotational symmetry and a vague vase outline in new constructions that revolution around their axis, as if they were spinning off a DJ turntable.”
About the Artist: Born in 1979 in Jena. Lives and works in Halle (Saale), Germany, Johannes Nagel studied at University of Art and Design Burg Giebichenstein, where he was also an assistant professor. He began his career as a potter as an apprentice to Japanese-born Canadian ceramist, Kinya Ishikawa in Val-David, Quebec. He has since developed an international dossier of shows, awards, and residencies. Nagel’s work is shown and collected internationally, and may be glimpsed in a diverse set of museum collections, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, The Ariana, and the Keramion. Most recently, Nagel has been awarded the Keramikmuseum’s 2019 Westerwald Prize, one of the highest awards for ceramics in Europe.