News Story

We are pleased to announce that a new piece of metalwork, In Motion Whispering Vessel (2022) by Adi Toch, has been acquired for Birmingham’s collection. It was donated to the museum by the Contemporary Art Society through their Omega Fund, which helps museums acquire pieces of contemporary craft.

The piece is a ‘whispering vessel’, a form Toch has created in a variety of different shapes and patinas. This particular vessel is made of a gold-plated copper alloy and contains loose pieces of quartz. When the object is moved or rotated, the quartz swirls against the inside of the vessel, making a sound which is almost musical.

Adi Toch is a metalworker and her work is generally based around the form of the container or vessel, which she sees as a means of communication, telling stories of gathering, holding and storing, and connecting us to ancient practices. Her vessels are often inspired by the forms of ancient Mediterranean archaeological objects and are hand raised, created from a flat sheet of metal which is slowly hammered into a three-dimensional form.

For Toch, sound is a way in which metal communicates. Her interest in this topic is inspired by her experience as a maker, knowing how to respond to the material and adjust her practice from listening to the noise the metal makes when it is being hammered or worked.

This aspect of the In Motion Whispering Vessel which makes it particularly relevant to Birmingham, given how important metalworking was to the city. Birmingham would once have resounded with the sound of metal. Toch’s piece will help us to explore this aspect of the city’s industrial and manufacturing history in a more creative and sensory way.

As Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is currently closed for essential maintenance work, this object is not yet on show. However, we are making plans for its future display, so watch this space.

Circular shaped golden coloured vessel with a dip in the middle that makes a small recess.
Circular shaped golden coloured vessel viewed from above. It has a round inlet in the middle.
Circular shaped golden coloured vessel with a dip in the middle that makes a small recess.