Gallery Fumi arrives in Mayfair with Rowan Mersh show

Experimental sculptor explores new materials with some of the works in Praeteritum, Praesens et Futurum

Pithvava-Praegressus by Rowan Mersh
Pithvava-Praegressus by Rowan Mersh

Shoreditch design mecca Gallery Fumi will launch its new Mayfair space with a show by radical sculptor Rowan Mersh.

Asabikeshiinh II (Dreamcatcher II) by Rowan Mersh
Asabikeshiinh II (Dreamcatcher II) by Rowan Mersh
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Transforming basic materials such as textiles or seashells into beguiling wall pieces and freestanding sculptures, Mersh’s craft-led work has an appeal that is as much tactile as it is visual, and his pieces have been bought by the likes of the V&A and the Jerwood Gallery. His new Praeteritum, Praesens et Futurum show (May 19-July 1) includes highly experimental works (price on request) such as Pithvava Praegressus, an egg-shaped, freestanding sculpture made with dentalium shells that somehow possesses a feathery appearance; Asabikeshiinh II (Dreamcatcher II), a circular wall piece made from meticulously sliced turritella shells; and Placuna Pro Dilectione Mea, another wall piece, but this time made with capiz shells.

Detail of Asabikeshiinh II (Dreamcatcher II)
Detail of Asabikeshiinh II (Dreamcatcher II)
Placuna Pro Dilectione Mea by Rowan Mersh
Placuna Pro Dilectione Mea by Rowan Mersh

The Royal College of Art graduate works predominantly with responsibly sourced seashells, hand-assembling them into the mesmerising patterns in his pieces. "I attempt to celebrate the inherent and often hidden beauty of these materials, listening to the size, shape and colour of each component and responding in a way that I hope expresses both these unique characteristics and part of myself,” he says. He uses tiger sea urchin spines for the first time in two of the wall pieces on show here, while sliced strombus vittatus shells make their debut in another. Two collaborative works also feature in the exhibition – a wall piece made with Studio Glithero and a 1.75m sculpture covered in capiz shells, created with furniture designer Bob Lorimer.

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The show – its name is Latin for past, present and future – represents “critical sculptural moments from both my past and present while anticipating unexplored territories,” says Mersh. Long may such exploration continue.

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