The three large sculptural pieces on display are part of a larger ongoing body of works produced by Lange as a result of receiving the 2005 Creative New Zealand Craft/Object Art Fellowship. The works form part of a practice in which functionality is often challenged. Lange has created a teapot from chocolate (1994), a boat from bricks (2002) and a kiln from ice (2004), to capture what he describes as “those few working moments in which (these objects) can produce the sort of delight and intrigue in the viewer normally provided by a magician or illusionist, except in these cases there is no sleight of hand, only a rarely observed combination of elements and conditions that our instincts tell us are not supposed to work together but, for a while, do. Or don’t, a lot of the time.”
Lange was the recipient of the Premier Award in The Portage Ceramic Awards 2006 for his work ‘Lilo’, described recently in the Listener by Tessa Laird as bringing “working-class bricks into the high-class realm of sculpture, but possessing a wit that (renowned American conceptual art guru) Carl Andre never had”.
In a tangential way, all of Peter Lange’s work reflects an indepth engagement with ideas surrounding the potter’s craft. Through these new works he is expanding the viewers understanding of the potter as a creator of vessels while referencing some of the earliest relationships humankind has had with fired clay. His constructions reference not just the raw materiality of brick and mortar and the significant history they encapsulate, but also act as receptacles for collective memories.