Oriel Zinaburg in FT House and Home

Victoria Woodcock, FT House and Home, April 22, 2023

As seen at Collect fair with Candida Stevens Gallery.


The gloopy, the bulky and the ugly — and you thought ceramics were delicate? 

Meet the artisans whose work explores the beauty in imperfection.


By Victoria Woodcock 


From last year’s Armory Show art fair in New York to London’s PAD design fair and Collect craft fair, their creations tread the line between sort-of ugly and strangely beautiful. At the former, there were Finnish artist Emma Helle’s messy mishmashes of classical figurines as well as LA-based Brian Rochefort’s gloopy and garish vessels. 


In London, Anne-Laure Cano, Noa Chernichovsky, Akiko Hirai and Oriel Zinaburg all showed sculptural pieces that are distressed, disrupted and deconstructed, forgoing sinuous lines and smooth surfaces in favour of roughly hewn shapes and textures. 


“My visual language is about the beauty that lies within the ugly,” says London-based Oriel Zinaburg, who worked as an architect before taking up ceramics in 2018. “I think that, subconsciously, my approach came from architectural concepts of deconstruction.” Clay is first pressed into moulds. “I take those pieces and tear them, bend them and distort them, then sort of collage them together,” says Zinaburg of his “ugly shapes”, which combine different types of clay and layers of glazes.