‘Vessels and containers are an innate method of communication. They convey a story of gathering, holding, storing – not only do they surround us in our daily lives, they shape our perception of the division between inside and out, the notion of moving from one framed space into another… I explore the morphological qualities of vessels and the process of embedding objects from the domestic landscape with spirit.’ – Adi Toch
Adi Toch sensitively explores the vessel form through her expert material of metal; she begins with a flat sheet and fabricates delicate hollow objects using a variety of tools and hammers. She finishes her pieces through a labour-intensive process of hand texturing and patination, creating intricate surface marks akin to calligraphic patterns. Internal compositional contrasts occur regularly in her work.
Adi treats the interior space of her vessels in different ways, to engage us in the diverse sensory qualities of the material. In some instances, she polishes it to a highly reflective surface and invites us to contemplate and immerse ourselves in the captured environment contained in the object. On other occasions, precious gemstones are placed inside the vessel; when we take it in our hands they gently roll inside and, in this movement, they seem to whisper to us. In this simple gesture, the artist captures the lyrical musicality of the metal.
Adi’s poetic new series, Shrouded, explores the profundity in nature’s mark-making. The artist delicately shapes her metal vessels by hand, before burying them in the earth. This act is powerful: she relinquishes control of her craft to the unpredictable power of the subterranean elements. Over a period of several months, mud, water, minerals and capitulated air do their work on the surfaces, creating polychromatic patinas that quietly shift and morph. Adi’s exceptional process and the resultant artworks recall the very human conditions of endurance, evolution and emergence.
Toch received her MA in Art, Design & Visual Culture from The Cass, London after graduating from her Metalwork BA at the Bezalel Art Academy in Jerusalem. Her work is exhibited internationally and has won prestigious awards including a Gold Award from The Goldsmiths’ Craft and Design Council UK and the European Prize for Applied Arts. In 2017, she was shortlisted for the Loewe Craft Prize and won a Wallpaper* Design Award. Public collections include The Victoria & Albert Museum, UK; The Crafts Council, UK: The Goldsmiths’ Company, UK; Fitzwilliam Museum, UK; National Museums Scotland, UK; National Museum of Wales, UK; and The Jewish Museum New York, USA.
Place to Place is the outcome of a unique commission from The Gilbert Trust for the Arts to create new work in response to a 4,250 years old gold ewer, formerly in the Gilbert Collection, on the occasion of its return to Turkey. The new piece will go on display at the V&A from 2nd December 2021. Place to Place relates to a transitional state in time as well as between spaces and countries. Objects have always travelled across the continents and throughout history. The movement of objects has connected between people and cultures.
Read more about the fascinating story behind the commission on the V & A blog here