Crafts Council, April 23, 2020

The Crafts Council and Brookfield Properties come together for summer showcase.


The Crafts Council have united with Brookfield Properties to exhibit artworks, this summer, by ceramicist Matt Smith, winner of the Brookfield Properties Crafts Council Collection Award 2020.


Matt Smith is well known for his site-specific work in museums, galleries and historic houses. After retraining in ceramics, his work as an artist has often taken the form of hybrid artist/curator, exploring how cultural organisations operate using techniques of institutional critique and artist intervention. Of particular interest to him is how museums can be reframed from alternative perspectives.


Matt Smith’s work explores identity and often interrogates the ideologies and systems that frame museum collections and displays. His play on materials and process- exploring the made and making, as well as remaking, is combined with a retelling of narratives and presenting new stories and contexts. I love the complexity of thinking and practice in Matt's work, and also the simple joy of its beauty.” – Annabelle Campbell, Head of Exhibitions at the Crafts Council.


Six of his works presented in a special curated project by The Cynthia Corbett Gallery were purchased by Brookfield Properties at Collect 2020 for the Crafts Council Primary Collection. Acquired through The Cynthia Corbett Gallery, these works included Pearl Girl (2020), a figurine constructed from a rare combination of black parianware, freshwater pearls and found ceramic, and Study in Pink & Gray (2019), an examples of Smith’s exploration beyond ceramics and into tapestry histories and techniques, using  the unravelled threads of vibrant found textile and wool.


In a summer showcase, the pieces will be curated alongside a broader range of Smith’s works, that explore the intersections of craft and fine art, together with selected examples from the Crafts Council Collections to challenge and shift visitors’ points of reference for both art and craft. The exhibition will take place at two of Brookfield Properties’ landmark London buildings from July 2020, starting with eight weeks at 99 Bishopsgate before moving to Aldgate Tower.


I love how Matt reworks amateur tapestry works of classical paintings and reimagines them, unpicking moment of their composition into his own patternation and narratives, repurposing them back into fine art. His work is an incredible signifier of how craft, sometimes unfairly considered lowly vs high art, straddles modes of expression and medium that have elevated it to the highest calling.” - Saff Williams, Curator at Brookfield Properties.