London's Flow Gallery hosts Going Dutch, an exhibition that looks at how designers use materials in new unexpected ways.
Going Dutch is co-curated by Flow founder Yvonna Demczynska and Marjan Unger.
Unger is best known for her expertise on Dutch jewellery and also as a generous benefactor; early last year the Marjan and Gerald Unger collection donated almost 500 pieces of jewellery to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
The Flow Gallery is tucked away in a quiet street in Notting Hill and the pieces in Going Dutch stand out strongly against the gallery's white walls. Design.nl spoke to Yvonna Demczynska about how the exhibition came about.
“I have known Marjan Unger for some time and she was instrumental in helping me with the research for the show when I started planning it two years ago. Without her openness and generosity and expertise I would not have found the people in the show. I spent some time with her in Amsterdam two years ago and also went to the Design Festival in Eindhoven.
Demczynska also explained how the Going Dutch theme of using materials in new ways comes through in the works."I think a good example of subversive design is some of the paper pulp work in the show by Margo Slingerland and Debbie Wijskamp, as they produce what seem to be functional ware like tea sets and plates and pots and vases out of paper, although one can not use them. Also Jochem de Wit uses concrete for his tableware which one associates with urban brutalist construction, yet he manages to produce rustic looking tableware that looks appears to have been taken from a Brueghel painting. Marian Bijlenga uses a waste material such as fishscales to produce poetic hangings full of grace, and so on."
Jochem de Wit graduated from the prestigious product design course at ArtEZ in 2009 and, as mentioned above, his tableware uses 'rough and raw' materials. A water jug and beakers are formed from press-moulded clay, finished with matte-black enamel, while the soup bowl is in glazed concrete, with attendant partially-lacquered, beech veneer spoon. Chunky shot glasses are made from cast glass, polished at top and bottom.
On the same 2009 ArtEZ course was Debbie Wijskamp whose Paperpulp tableware products are made from discarded newspapers. Comprising plates, bowls, vases and jars, the items are very fragile and their colour is dependant on the amount of ink used in the newsprint, making each item unique. Demczynska also expanded on the work of Margo Slingerland, who "plays upon the ritual of the tea party and subverts the tradition of the decorative ceramic material to create a non-functional paper tea set, pushing the tea set from the functional to the purely decorative. The pieces are adorned with animals and textiles reminiscent of a childhood fantasy, mixing the old with the new, the familiar with the unusual".
Aldo Bakker, the son of Droog co-founder Gijs Bakker, presents his Copper Collection designed for Thomas Eyck. The Copper Collection takes a new approach to traditional techniques such as the ancient Japanese technique of Urushi or lacquer varnishing, for a group of pieces that include a stool, watering can, candle holders, mixing bowl and saucepan.
Marian Bijlenga is a textile artist who creates innovative wall-based installations, often using unusual materials such as horsehair. Bijlenga uses the stiffness of the horsehair as the key structure in her 'spatial drawings'. Drawing in space rather than on paper, her geometric patterns are made up of dots, lines and contours.
Finnish-born Jeweller Terhi Tolvanen takes our relationship with nature, and the unpredictability of nature, as a starting point for work that combines special woods such as pear or cherry, with silver and precious mineral stones. Fellow jeweller Beppe Kessler is well-established with work in many of the world's key museum collections. Kessler describes her pieces as 'little sculptures to wear' and it is their tactile nature that is the key element in their design.
Going Dutch continues at the Flow Gallery, London until March 05 2011.
Click on the images to enlarge
Main image: Debbie Wijskamp
Other images top to bottom: 1. Jochem de Wit 2. Margo Slingerland 3. Marian Bijlenga 4. Aldo Bakker 5. Terhi Tolvanan 6. Beppe Kessler
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