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Gijs Bakker on show with Caroline Van Hoek at Design Miami/

An overview of jewellery by Gijs Bakker will presented from 5 to 9 December at Design Miami/ through Brussels’ gallery Caroline Van Hoek.

By Katie Dominy / 29-11-2012

Gijs Bakker is best known internationally as an industrial designer and one half of Droog for many years, yet he studied initially to be a jeweller and his first design pieces were jewellery. We asked Caroline Van Hoek about her new relationship representing Bakker’s jewellery and how and why Bakker moved so easily between the jewellery, design and art worlds.

“There are many successful cross-over examples of artists having moved from art into jewellery and from design into jewellery, but not many have successfully moved from jewellery into design. Gijs first piece of jewellery dates back to1958. At that time the Netherlands was at the core of a new movement in jewellery whereby the intrinsic value of jewellery was rejected and concept and inventiveness with materials was central. Reinvention of jewellery shows up in his work as early as 1964.”

Do you see particular aspects of Bakker’s work in other areas of design that also appear in his jewellery?

“Yes, particularly the way Gijs stretched material into curves was picked up by a lot of design pieces later; also the way he tried to use minimal materials. His jewellery has always been a research in materials and shapes in relation to the body. Probably this ground-breaking vision led to him being asked to be head designer, design consultant or teacher in industrial design for various companies and institutions, at the same time as he developed his independent jewellery work. A daily environment filled with new visions and technologies undoubtedly created an overflow from the design world into his jewellery. Likewise, his closeness to jewellery must have played a role into his vision of design, both being disciplines of interaction with the human being.”

Representing the jewellery of Gijs Bakker - how did it come about?

“Gijs and I had come across each other a few times since I opened the gallery. I guess it takes time for an established artist to trust a young gallery and now that he has ended his teaching activities, it was the right moment.”

The gallery will be showing an overview of Gijs’ work up until today, including some very rare pieces, such as the Elisabeth II collar necklace from 1977 made from a colour photograph and PVC, no doubt inspired by the British monarch’s Silver Jubilee of the same year. The Adam necklace from 1988 takes a cutout colour image of Michelangelo’s Adam from the Sistine Chapel and hangs it from a gold-plated brass hoop.

More recent pieces include the Bus Crash brooch from 2001 and the Virtual Multiple from 2011- a 18kt gold brooch with a QR code that links to an page showing a photograph of Bakker from the 80s alongside a quote on jewellery – as it’s a unique piece – the owner will be the only one able to access it.

Final question - which parts of the collection do you think will be best received in Miami and why?

“if a piece of jewellery made in the 70's, 80's or 90's still looks ground-breaking and you still want to wear it then it does not need more explaining. There is a work by Gijs for every woman.”

Main image: 3 – Virtual Multiple, 2011
Other images: 1. Elisabeth II, 1977 2. Adam, 1988 3. Bus Crash, 2001 4. Blue Oil, 2006 5. Meijer, 1989 6. Portrait of Gijs Bakker photo Yoshiaki Tsutsui

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