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The Puppeteer

The LYNfabrikken in Aarhus, Denmark is proving a popular destination for young Dutch design talents. Jólan van der Wiel’s work The Puppeteer currently occupies the large windows of this popular exhibition space. 

By Cassandra Pizzey / 21-03-2013

Following fellow Dutch designers rENs, now it is the turn of Jólan van der Wiel – who we know for his Gravity Stools – to fill the BOX exhibition space at LYNfabrikken in Denmark. The one restriction? The designer had to collaborate with Ege, a company who produce printed carpets.

“And so I was given the opportunity to design a carpet,” tells Jólan van der Wiel. “I met the people of LYNfabrikken at DMY Berlin and stayed in touch to discuss how we could show the gravity process in a different way.” 
The carpet itself Van der Wiel describes as a good way to create atmosphere in the BOX space. Featuring a wave pattern that reminds us of an optical illusion, the figures occupying the space seem to break the surface with their ‘legs’. 

“I wanted to create a growing landscape under construction,” explains the designer. “As though you’re seeing a scale model of the world in which we are able to control how things grow. A world in which machines try desperately to keep what is kept alive.” 
A rather poetic vision from a designer so fresh from the academy, but his view on society is a clear one: 

“As technology develops faster and faster, we are able to create almost everything and live in our self-made world. We even have faith that the problems we have created can be solved by technical developments.

“Man is like a puppeteer, attempting to make nature submit to human laws.  We investigate possibilities, are confident, and try to stretch the boundaries of human knowledge. The idea of an omniscient god ruling over everything does no longer differ much from the position we ourselves are trying to conquer. Although our belief that the world is a human construct is not based on empirical knowledge about the world, it is the belief we act upon in our attempts to alter the natural order of things.”

To create his growing landscape Van der Wiel used a combination of net stockings and plaster, resulting in an almost skin-like surface. “It’s a technique I used especially for this exhibition and one will develop further with all kinds of materials,” he says. “I found it interesting to work with technique that look as though they are made by natural processes when in fact they are still artificial.”

And what of the reactions from his Danish audience so far?  
“I think some people had to look a while before they understood what the where seeing and than found it kind of interesting. I like it when somebody wants to look at it for aesthetics sake yet doesn’t really know what his or her opinion is. It allows you to discover the interesting details of an object or installation.”

For a better idea of Van der Wiel's work, check out the video below.

The Puppeteer will be on show at BOX, LYNfabrikke until 2 June, 2013

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