Gallery Libby Sellers will present the London debut of Studio Formafantasma's 'De Natura Fossilium' - a new body of work that investigates the culture of lava in the Mount Etna and Stromboli regions of Sicily, two of the last active volcanoes in Europe.
Through this, Studio Formafantasma bring both the landscape and the forces of nature together as facilities for production. As in their previous projects Autarchy (2010) and Moulding Tradition (2009), Formafantasma question the link between tradition and local culture and the relationship between objects and the idea of cultural heritage. Historically craftsmen would mould molten lava erupting from small craters into celebrated and elaborate forms. This time-honoured craft has effectively been rendered worthless as now only inexpensive souvenirs are produced. De Natura Fossilium is a project that refuses to accept locality as touristic entertainment. Instead, the work of Formafantasma is a different expedition in which the landscape is not passively contemplated but restlessly sampled, melted, blown, woven, cast and milled. From the more familiar use of basalt stone and Lavic fibres, to their extreme experiments with lava in the production of glass, Formafantasma's explorations and the resulting objects will challenge this situation and realise the full potential of the lava as a material for design.