Anton Alvarez could have been a cabinet maker, but he has become one of the most influential and innovative creators of his generation. After studying interior architecture and furniture at Konstfack (Sweden) and receiving a graduate degree from the Royal College of Art in London in 2012, Swedish-Chilean artist and designer Anton Alvarez is continuously experimenting and building his own tools and machines for achieving unexpected and unprecedented forms with clay, textiles and more. Though he is based in Stockholm, he travels around the world and has already had solo shows at Salon 94 in New York and more recently at Frieze in London, the Xue Xue Institute in Taipei and former Gallery Libby Sellers in London. His recent and appropriately named Unexpected exhibition at Christian Larsen Gallery in Stockhom shows how his work requires full control, but is also based on a relatively ungovernable experimental process. As both a mental and physical statement, his Alphabet Aerobics sculptures are influencing his approach Koji Pottery and demonstrate their visual strength and power.
The New Koji
Alvarez was inspired by the forms and symbols, as well as the handmade process that has been kept alive at Koji pottery thanks to the factory and to the museum. He has created four different shapes of contemporary vases revisiting the classical forms of the traditional Koji bestiary made of dragons, elephants, and tigers… The fauna and flora taken from the temple language and iconography have definitively been his source of inspiration. Modelled, cut and deformed to slightly become both decorative and functional pieces, his vases are freestanding and find their own visual and physical balance while modelling the clay before drying and firing it. Alvarez has chosen to spray the glaze on his pieces and fire them at high temperatures, which gives them a very colourful glossy and unexpected look. This dynamic process of spraying on the vases is quite typical of Alvarez who wants to go beyond the ordinary in order to reach more random and surprising surface effects.
The New Koji final prototypes