NGV Triennial

Lukas Wegwerth
Crystallization 152 and Crystallization 146



Lukas Wegwerth’s works Crystallization 152 2019 and Crystallization 146 2019 repurpose existing ceramic vessels by transforming them into hosts for the growth of salt crystals. Submerging the vessels in a chemical solution, cracks and chips are slowly colonised by crystal formations over time. Wegwerth monitors the crystal’s growth and intervenes to manipulate the path and size of the crystal structure. The process Wegwerth applies to his vessels references the 15th century Japanese art of fixing broken pottery called Kintsugi or ‘golden repair’. Here lacquer dusted with powdered gold, silver, or platinum is applied to the cracks of a ceramic vessel. Kintsugi is also related to the Japanese concept of mottainai, which encapsulates a sense of regret when something is wasted. This sense of regret broadly acknowledges that all objects, broken or not, have an intrinsic value — a sum of natural resources, energy and human capital. For Wegwerth, restoring the ceramic vessels using the crystallization process symbolises the interdependence of the human made environment with the natural. Recognising that we are a part of, and not separate from nature, is central to charting a sustainable future.

Contemporary designer Lukas Wegwerth employs novel and unconventional processes to produce one-off and limited-edition design works. Often commencing with found objects, he modifies and reshapes them to bring new associations to cultural forms and typologies characterised by distinct historical making practices. Wegwerth’s works have appeared in the Museum of Architecture and Design, Ljubljana (2020); Istanbul Design Biennial (2018); Milan Design Week (2017); and Design Miami, Basel (2015). His work is held in the Collection of the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.

The NGV warmly thanks Triennial Major Supporters Esther Frenkiel OAM & David Frenkiel for their support.