Adi Toch: Place to Place
TLmag37: L’age d’or / State of Gold featured Adi Toch’s 2021 project, Place to Place, a uniquely personal as well as global story about how objects inspire, how they find their way into collections and how they can create positive cultural connections.
Place to Place responds to a 4,250 years old gold ewer, formerly in the V&A museum Gilbert Collection, on the occasion of its return to its homeland in Turkey.
Toch’s lyrical response, in dialogue with the Anatolian ewer, is a gold funnel placed on a headrest from Turkish chalcedony. The openness and acceptance in its form resonates with the narrative of restitution.
It relates to a transitional state in time and between spaces, and meant to trigger conversation and thoughts about the migration of objects and how they connect between people and cultures.
The gold alloy of Place to Place is identical to the historic ewer. This careful recreation of the alloy connects both objects through their shared elemental composition. Like the ewer the new piece was formed from a single sheet of gold, using many of the historic metalworking techniques passed on through thousands
“The Gold Ewer has been a personal source of inspiration since I discovered it for the first time during a handling session at the V&A back in 2015… There is a sense of mystery about the ewer that I attribute to the captivating nature of native gold, skillfully formed into a rotund hollow body with a narrow neck, as well as to the potential story that the ewer envelops. As an object it has never ceased to intrigue me and I have asked the curators ever since to handle it on each occasion when bringing a group of students to the museum and every time I learned something new about it.”
“A funnel is a generous object. It doesn’t hold substance for long and content is often returned through it. It is a carrier or a container for a moment. A funnel is a humble object, perhaps due to its modest size and function and I have made Place to Place to offer a number of interpretations, which I hope will trigger conversations around symbolism, materiality of gold and more widely the hierarchy of objects.”
“Why are we so attracted to and fascinated by gold? Gold is immutable. It is untouched by environmental conditions and won’t bear signs of time such as patina or corrosion. Its luminosity is exceptional and infinite and that is one of the reasons it is so covetable. It is linked with the sun, which symbolises life and through being continuously recycled, gold is in fact immortal. Gold even remains unchanged in contact with fire and won’t lose any of its weight due to oxidisation like other metals. It has much higher density than other metals and is nearly twice as heavy as silver. These qualities make gold a robust material but it also has an incredibly delicate side – gold is the most malleable and ductile of all metals. It can be rolled into thin leaves and drawn into wire thinner than hair.”
“The title Place to Place relates to a transitional state in time as well as between spaces and countries. Being someone who immigrated to another country myself, I can personally identify with this state of in-betweenness. Objects have always travelled across the continents and throughout history, with settlers, for trade, as gifts or as looted treasures. The migration of objects has connected between people and cultures.”
“Vessels have been made and used across cultures since prehistoric times – for feeding, storing, or as ritual objects and symbols of power. We can learn through them about the past and about the developments in material culture. Growing from these historic and symbolic narratives, my creative process explores the morphological qualities of vessels and the life of objects. Working through metal, I apply both historic silversmithing techniques and an experimental approach, with particular interest and attention to surface treatments. I investigate an embodied experience that engages the viewer through sensorial interaction, and often employ the metal’s conductive, sonic and reflective qualities.”
A brief biography of Adi Toch
Adi Toch was born in Jerusalem in 1979 and now lives and works in London. Following a BA at Bezalel Academy of Art in Jerusalem, she was awarded a research MA with distinction from London Metropolitan University. Adi lectures, teaches and exhibits around the world. She won prestigious awards for her work including a Gold Award from The Goldsmiths’ Craft and Design Council UK and The European Prize for Applied Arts in 2018. Adi was a finalist in the first Loewe Craft Prize in 2017 and a member of the expert judging panel in 2019. Alongside her practice, Adi is a lecturer at the Royal College of Art in London and at Bezalel Academy of Art. Adi is currently represented by Sarah Myerscough Gallery, London, Spazio Nobile Gallery Brussels and The Scottish Gallery. Her work is held in major private and public collection.
All quotes from: Adi Toch, Place to Place, 2021, ISBN 978-1-3999-0837-5
“Place to Place” is now displayed within the Gilbert Collection at the V&A in London, Gallery 72 The Gold Ewer is on permanent display in Museum of Anatolian Civilisations, Ankara.