Johannes Nagel (b.1979) is a German ceramicist whose work questions the conventional bounds of pottery as ‘functional, domestic and decorative arts’ and instead turns to the materiality of clay to explore, both in terms of form and concept, the age-old debate of form versus function, control versus spontaneity, rigour versus improvisation. Committed to this exploration of the possibilities of the vessel – in its form, function, scale and method of creation, Nagel’s practice is continually deconstructing the historic, traditional, classical and contemporary permutations of the ‘vase’. Nagel’s eclectic vessels are obviously signalled as works by their maker – they are unapologetic in their painterly swaths of colour and prominent signatures. Rather than closing onto themselves, Nagel’s vessels appear at times to be sliced and cut open at their extremities. In the case of these containers full of holes, the interior competes with and complements the exterior; together they resist the very idea of “containing.” Johannes Nagel studied ceramics at the University of Art and Design Burg Giebichenstein, Halle, Germany. Johannes Nagel’s work is in the collection of international institutions, such as the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK, Musée Ariana, Geneva, Switzerland, Keramikmuseum Westerwald, Höhr-Grenzhausen, and Keramion, Frechen, Germany. Most recently, Nagel has been awarded the Keramikmuseum’s 2019 Westerwald Prize, one of the highest awards for ceramics in Europe.