Saponaceous

Fernando Laposse

Pocko Gallery has the pleasure to host Fernando Laposse’s show, Saponaceous, throughout September and October.

Saponaceous showcases the results of experimental research into the process of saponification where through an exothermic reaction, following the addition of lye, fat is transformed into soap. Using locally sourced goat milk fat, refried oil from chippies and leftover pork trimmings from butchers located in North London,

Fernando has produced a series of functional and interactive objects which have been sculpted, moulded and machined out of solid blocks of soap, presenting the potential qualities of this waste by-product.

The collection also features a selection of sculptural objects developed in collaboration with Italian designer Federico Floriani. The pieces presented in the exhibition invite the user to reflect on the concept of wholesomeness by inciting a dialogue surrounding the topics of personal hygiene, zero waste and purification.

Frothing Soap

This piece incorporates the concept of the men’s shaving set and takes it to colossal proportions with an 10 kilo hammer textured base which acts both as a bowl and as a soap and a 3 kilo badger hair brush which when rotated produces a rich and smooth lather as it slowly carves and polishes a hole in the soap.

Surf & Turf Shaver

An oversized shaver with a green soap coloured with spirulina algae and scented with fir-pine essence.

Glycerine Triptych

The original images for this were created by pouring a mix of glycerine, a material commonly used in soapmaking, and charcoal on a pane of glass, this was then photographed at a very high resolution, certain details of marbling were then blown up and digitally printed on silk. The overlap of organza silk over habotai allows for the images to merge by employing the delicate transparency of the material.

Collaboration with Federico Floriani

Common interest and design values lead to a collaboration with italian designer Federico Floriani. In a period of 2 weeks Federico was introduced by Fernando to the process of saponification. The challenge was to transform some of the dirtiest fats out there into a thing of beauty, not only by purifying them and turning them into good smelling soap but also by making beautiful objects with them.

The duo collected refried oil from fish and chips shops and fat trimmings from butchers in Tottenham, North London. These were then filtered and saponified with lye and a mix of natural pigments to create a palette of material samples. The outcome of those two weeks are a series of geometrical sculptures which act as an aesthetic assembly of some of our samples.

The hair vase is a reference to the african tradition of protecting a household from bad spirits by dipping a horse tail on black soap and using it to chase bad spirits away. It was made by making a large block of pig lard soap mixed with charcoal and turned on the lathe to create the lid body and base. Federico and Fernando see this series of objects as a work in progress and hope to develop it into a mature project in 2016.

Scent Mobile

A mobile made up of 8 scented oil burners. The burners rest on an acrylic plaster base which has been individually turned and calibrated to balance with another piece of different dimensions but same weight. When the wicks are lit the arms of the mobile gently spin infusing the room with smell.

Tonsure Soap Shavers

These small shavers are inspired by the swiss cheese “Tete de Moine” or monk’s head, invented and initially produced more than eight centuries ago by the monks of the abbey of Bellelay, the name comes as a reference from the shaved hair of the monks head also known as tonsure. Visitors are invited to take shavings with them when visiting the exhibition.

Malachi 3:2

Malachi 3:2 is the departing point for this project. It was originally commissioned in 2014 as part of the collective exhibition Dispensa Noturna or the nighttime pantry.

The piece is composed of a video which introduces the different rooms associated with a pantry ie. the pantry itself deriving from the french word paneterie, a place for bread preparation separate to the kitchen, the larder or cold room for storing perishable goods, and the butler’s pantry, a place reserved for the storage and cleaning of silverware and fine china.

The final result is a new object containing the elements of all previous ones. A black soap moulded in the shape of a rock to make reference to the philosopher’s stone, and a silvered blown glass bowl which relates to the obsession of alchemists to produce quicksilver or mercury.

 

The project is not only an exercise of chemistry but also explores the beliefs of rarefying materials as metaphors of refining and purifying the body and the soul often expressed not only in the alchemists philosophy but also in Christianity as cited in Malachi 3:2.

But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a fuller’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver.