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Antony Gormley in
Artists Buttons

11 October—15 October 2023
LOEWE flagship store, London, UK

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Ten leading artists, Ai Weiwei, Jonathan Anderson, Rana Begum, Edmund de Waal, Antony Gormley, Callum Innes, Jennifer Lee, Cornelia Parker, Vicken Parsons & Caroline Walker, have been creating limited edition sets of buttons in support of Kettle’s Yard. The buttons will be displayed at LOEWE’s flagship London store from 11 – 15 October 2023.

The project draws inspiration from the exhibition, ‘Lucie Rie: The Adventure of Pottery’, recently at Kettle’s Yard and from 14 July 2023 – 7 January 2024 at the Holburne Museum in Bath. In 1938, Lucie Rie fled her home in Vienna for London to escape the Nazi persecution of Jewish people. During the war, unable to get a licence to make pots, Rie turned to making ceramic buttons for the fashion industry, experimenting on a miniature scale with new forms and coloured glazes. Each artist’s buttons will be hand sewn in groups or individually onto a limited edition of A5 button cards. Each card will be numbered, dated and signed by the artist and presented in a bespoke box designed by A Practice for Everyday Life.

‘Buttons are pesky things’, explains Antony Gormley, ‘so much a part of dressing and undressing that there is a rite of passage in childhood when you must become competent to fasten your own clothing.’ ‘The delicacy of touch’, the artist continues, ‘and the finger control necessary to button and unbutton are entangled in the twin tensions of desire and propriety.’ Gormley’s hand-made black porcelain buttons carry the story of their making. See the traces of his fingerprint squished into their surface as he pressed the little clay balls between thumb and forefinger. Feel the cracking at the porcelain’s edge from when the disks were fired at 1265°C. Imagine now these buttons in your own hands, your fingers feeling their way in opening or closing a shirt. With Gormley’s buttons, these sensations become more acute. Like the trace of his fingerprint in the porcelain, Antony Gormley has continually investigated the human body and its relationship to the wider world. For Gormley, the space of art is a place of becoming in which new behaviours, thoughts and feelings can arise.