Visual Art: Independent Collector - John Windsor's guide to buying affordable contemporary art
Tuesday 01 September 1998
The Italian-born artist has already earned a reputation for her glass bowls in which gold, silver and copper is embedded, and for her glass architectural panels. But it is her casts of socks, shoes - and now little dresses - that she feels impelled to make between commissions, that have caught the eye of exhibition curators.
Janice Blackburn, the independent curator, has put her porcelain dress in her current "Spirit of the Age" exhibition at the Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, County Durham, and her pair of lead-crystal stiletto-heeled shoes were in this summer's "Absolut Cobblers" exhibition at the Barbican. Next month, the Hayward Gallery will show her ceramic and glass triptych, "Fragments", in its show, "Addressing the Century: 100 Years of Art and Fashion", which explores the radical visual innovations of key figures in art and fashion.
Bendall-Brunello, 39, dipped the 20in high cotton dress repeatedly in porcelain slip until it literally acquired body. After each dip, she accentuated the detail of the frills using a wooden modelling tool. "These dresses are so close to being human; they really talk to you," she says.
So it is a pity that about four out of five crumble or distort into macabre shapes during firing at 1280C. She discards them. The survivors - only four so far - emerge with the fabric incinerated without trace and having acquired a subtle movement of their own. "It's not like carving the drapery of a stone statue," she says. "You have to stand back and let the firing process take its own course". The latest, to which she has become most attached, has braced its tiny shoulders and puffed out its chest.
One of her inspirations is the Sixties Italian arte povera artist Giuseppe Penone, especially his ceramic life-size human figure, "Breath", cast in negative so that the empty cavity seems to materialise.
Reaction to the little porcelain dress is mixed. One viewer, overheard by Bendall-Brunello, called it "The epitome of poetry". Another said: "Oh, god, it's difficult to look at, it's so ghostly". To me, it looks like one of those irresistibly nostalgic 18th century children's garments that turn up in trunks in the attics of the gentry - the last remnant of a life, perhaps snuffed out before its time, now resurrected.
Her pair of slip-cast socks are more homely. They look as if they have just been cast off - crumpled, but still containing the shape of feet.
Bendall-Brunello's degree course at Camberwell College of Arts was in fine art and ceramics. Hence her daring use of kiln technology. One of her works is a little dress sandwiched between two sheets of glass and fired. The dress has disappeared, but its impression in the glass remains, down to the last fibre. She has applied a screenprint of the dress, as it was, to one side of the glass. "I like using glass," she says. "It's like freezing, preserving something. The glass allows you in, but at the same time keeps you at a distance."
Each of the three tile-like shapes of her "Fragments" contains a porcelain cast of a section of a dress embedded in greenish glass. "I wanted to deconstruct something familiar,", she says, "and then put it back together in a different way. It was certainly more involving than previous pieces.
"My work appears to be self-generating. I feel as if I'm following leads, picking up threads."
Prices: pounds 450 - pounds 2,200. Examples of her work will be in Sotheby's annual selling exhibition of contemporary decorative art in February.
Tiziana Bendall-Brunello (01223-411374)
elephant appealThe first 23 lots in our charity auction have now gone. But there are 22 more still up for grabs
Jennifer Lawrence attacks mass media again over body image
Paris charity auction staged to save the ancient city of Tyre
scienceScientists find the answer to a question that even puzzled Darwin
A very timely Great Train Robbery and a frantic 24 Hours in A&E among the highlights
Geoffrey Macnab: The Wolf of Wall Street's account of white-collar excess is A Rake’s Progress on steroids
arts + entsThe 'Friends' actor on his new role as campaigner on addiction issues
Arts & Ents blogs
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, film review
Brian Griffin returns: Cartoon dog back from the dead in Family Guy Christmas episode
Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber announces he's 'retiring from music'
Nymphomaniac, film review: 'Despite the surreal sex scenes this is a serious drama'
The Wolf of Wall Street, film review: 'A lurid, profanity bespattered movie'
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
Fox News presenter tells viewers it is a 'fact' that both Jesus and Santa Claus are white
You can STILL be jailed for being a republican, government confirms, and it remains illegal to even 'imagine' overthrowing the Queen
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
Fighting back: the woman giving a voice (and 49,999 others) to the victims of sexism - by giving an airing to their horror stories
PM denies two child limit for benefits is part of Tory welfare policy
- 1 America's 'virgin births'? One in 200 mothers 'became pregnant without having sex'
- 2 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 3 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber announces he's 'retiring from music'
- 4 Children evacuated from swimming pool after prosthetic leg mistaken for paedophile
- 5 Status: Wet - Woman walks off a pier while checking Facebook on her phone
- < Previous
- Next >