Jonathan F. Kugel| Brussels

Published on
October 22, 2022
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Jonathan F. Kugel Antiques and Contemporary art gallery | Image credit @ Munchies Art Club

Stunning Exhibition with the artists Carolein Smit, James B. Webster and Vivian Van Blerk!

The Sablon district of Brussels has much to offer, the Munchies Art Club headed there after the Art Brussels 2022, mainly to visit the gallery Sorry We’re Closed and the gallery Nino Mier, but also to explore the area. 

On our path we came across the spectacular exhibition called Cabinet de Céramique Contemporain in an old flemish house where the Jonathan F.Kugel Antiques and Contemporary art gallery resides.

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Antiques and Contemporary art gallery Jonathan F. Kugel | Image credit @ Munchies Art Club

We were welcomed by the owner Jonathan F. Kugel. He was very friendly and reminded me of a dashing protagonist from a French movie I had seen many years before. 

He took the time and gave us a private tour of the exhibition, explaining in detail to us who the artists were and the stories behind the mesmerising work before us. Thank you for that, we truly appreciated it.

The Jonathan F. Kugel Gallery presents the group exhibition Cabinet de Céramique Contemporain, a selection of recent works by Carolein Smit, James B. Webster and Vivian Van Blerk.

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Carolein Smit | Image credit @ Munchies Art Club

Three views on matter.

Carolein Smit, Vivian van Blerk and James B. Webster have in common the use of ceramics in their work, with very different approaches. 

The resulting works embody visions, translate stories and lead to personal universes where mastery of the material is essential to the expression of their imagination.

These alchemists transform the earth into moving works.

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Antiques and Contemporary art gallery Jonathan F. Kugel | Garden | Image credit @ Munchies Art Club

CAROLEIN SMIT

A virtuoso of ceramics, which she has been practicing since the 1980s, and particularly gifted in her work with enamel.

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Carolein Smit | Image credit @ Munchies Art Club
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Carolein Smit | Image credit @ Munchies Art Club

Smit enjoys an international reputation, respected for her technique and her recognizable universe.

Inspired by mythology, folk tales and other tales.

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Shaman | Carolein Smit | Image credit @ Munchies Art Club
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Close-up Shaman| Carolein Smit  | Image credit @ Munchies Art Club
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Detail Shaman | Carolein Smit  | Image credit @ Munchies Art Club

Carolein Smit's works transcend the very idea of ​​beauty and contradict commonly held beliefs about what makes something attractive. 

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Carolein Smit | Image credit @ Munchies Art Club

Her fascination with contrasts: the ugly but adorable, or the frightening but fragile, reminds her of the vulnerability and impermanence of life, and the inevitability of death.

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Volture | Carolein Smit | Image credit @ Munchies Art Club
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Volture | Carolein Smit | Image credit @ Munchies Art Club

As a true virtuoso of enamelled ceramics, Carolein Smit dwells meticulously on the details, which also brings a very sensory aspect to these pieces.

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Carolein Smit | Image credit @ Munchies Art Club

In 2018, the Victoria & Albert Museum of London dedicated the exhibition “Myth and Mortality: the fairy-tale world of Carolein Smit” to her and included her in their permanent collection.

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Carolein Smit | Image credit @ Munchies Art Club
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Carolein Smit | Image credit @ Munchies Art Club

VIVIAN VAN BLERK

Vivian van Blerk, first a photographer, is frustrated with the literal representation of reality. 

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Vivian van Blerk | Image credit @ Munchies Art Club
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Artwork opens up | Vivian van Blerk | Image credit @ Munchies Art Club
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Hidden inside intricate detail and a red miniature Koi fish | Vivian van Blerk | Image credit @ Munchies Art Club

He then began creating sets and staging, then cutting and transforming his pictures, which he sometimes prints on different supports, in order to translate an unbridled imagination.

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Vivian van Blerk | Image credit @ Munchies Art Club
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Vivian van Blerk | Image credit @ Munchies Art Club

In 2017, van Blerk ventured into ceramics with his series of Interior Kingdoms stoneware and porcelain skulls. 

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It evokes memories and dreamlike stories that imbue our imagination with unexpected images. 

Vivian's favorite theme: regeneration. 

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Detail | Vivian van Blerk | Image credit @ Munchies Art Club

These sculptures crystallize the narrative of a universe where children and animals coming together to rebuild a society on a planet returned to a wild state.

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Vivian van Blerk | Image credit @ Munchies Art Club
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Vivian van Blerk | Image credit @ Munchies Art Club

For this exhibition, Vivian van Blerk unveils the installation Ghosts of Futures Past, conceived as a model and composed of several ceramic pieces. 

Faithful to this system of representation, Vivian van Blerk once again explores the idea of ​​an inner world, where architectural elements, fauna and flora but also collective imagination come together.

JAMES WEBSTER

James B. Webster received training in classical sculpture in Florence, as an apprentice to Marianne Luchetti. 

The desire to delve even further into the observation of anatomy and nature prompted James Webster to return to live in his native countryside of Suffolk, where he spent long months isolated in his studio, studying his subjects and s striving not only to master the different techniques of ceramics but also to push the limits of his art.

James B. Webster  | Image credit @ Munchies Art Club

Through his work James captures human passions and emotions such as pleasure, pain, faith and questions their relationship to time by building bridges between symbols of ancient art and the contemporary world.

James B. Webster  | Image credit @ Munchies Art Club

After his Martyrs series, James Webster continues to draw inspiration from mythology for his new Black/White series, where he retains

the combination of porcelain and concrete. 

Mythological figures celebrated in portraits, bare, sober where grace seems to have struck once again.

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James B. Webster  | Image credit @ Munchies Art Club

Text on the artists translated into English from the French Press text @Jonathan Kugel, Cabinet de Curiosities Contemporain 2022.

Follow Jonathan F. Kugel on Instagram:

The exhibition is on view till the 28th of May 2022

Jonathan Kugel

Cabinet de Curiosités Contemporaine

16 Rue Watteeu, 

1000 Bruxelles BELGIUM 

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