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Archive for December, 2016


Approaching the Archive


Sunday, December 11, 2016

‘Approaching the Archive’ begins from a coincidence that becomes an unexpected point of access to the archive and book collection of artist, writer, editor and graphic designer Will Holder, in the context of his exhibition ‘Sorry! NO we don’t do REQUESTS’ at Kunstverein in Amsterdam.

The essay deals with the successful as well as the unsuccessful attempts at trying to grasp a lot of material in a little space, and the systems that one makes up in order to organize and process content through. Moreover, it is an essay about books and the stories and associations they convey, as well as it is about the finding of an unexpected relationship between ‘typography’ and ‘topography’.

Will Holder click on the image to download the pdf

A visit in Pieke Bergmans studio


Saturday, December 10, 2016

 

 

At the moment you are exhibiting in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam with your installation Phenomeneon. Now I am really excited being here in your studio in Amsterdam to talk about your projects and you as an artist.

 

piekebergmansstudio2

 

There is surprisingly much space in here. In what kind of room are we?

It is an old factory building. We actually just moved into this studio a few weeks ago. So we are still in progress about rearranging the space, like removing the ceiling and creating small office rooms. There are not a lot of my works here yet but I can show you around…

 

The Phenomeneon project gets a lot of admiration with its mesmerizing appearance. I am really interested in the production process and the applied techniques. Could you tell me more about it?

Yes, sure. Not everyone realizes that light in this case is gas. People think it is a really new technique, but it is actually an old one. I do like light a lot. It is a very beautiful material to work with and I discovered many different effects. People are getting so much information nowadays it is hard to get their attention. But in this case I think it is a perfect combination of technique and mystery.

 

Phenomeneon-Cloud-Pieke-Bergmans-2016-photo-Mirjam-Bleeker-12-400x600 Phenomeneon-Cloud-Pieke-Bergmans-2016-photo-Mirjam-Bleeker-1-900x600

 

When you mention the mystery it makes me think about the moment when walking closer to the installation and realizing that the neon light moves through the organically shaped glass. The light runs through it and you start to follow its way.

Exactly! That makes it feel alive.

 

Are the organic shapes made to play with the intensity of the light?

The intensity of the light is defined by the width and length of the glass. In the end it is just playing. Its like a three dimensional painting. Like when you have a brush and you choose the pressure of your brushstroke.

 

I can really see how playful you shaped the glass. Are there any other factors affecting the form?

Yes. The installation consists of seven separate parts. It was difficult to do because they are all handmade and quite big. The biggest one is almost six meters.

 

Phenomeneon-Cloud-Pieke-Bergmans-2016-photo-Mirjam-Bleeker-7-900x600 Phenomeneon-Cloud-Pieke-Bergmans-2016-photo-Mirjam-Bleeker-15-400x600

 

You cannot see where they are connected which gives the impression of one very long piece and makes me question the process.

It starts sometimes with a simple observation. I was questioning why neon light is always a straight tube. Most people saw the shape as a limitation, for me it is more a possibility. With the understanding of the technique I could have come up with so many ideas about the design. One reason for the process and especially the shapes of this project is that I am a person that is always interested in setting things free.

 

How is that combinable with your background as a product designer? I can imagine in this area the focus is more on creating something specific.

Yes. It is mostly about creating something perfect. I basically didn’t believe in that concept. That is why I turn nowadays much more to art. I try to stretch the borders within the functionality. But now I am also more free about creating something that has nothing to do with functionality even if I started from this ‘other world’.

 

Do you have an idea of an aesthetic that deeply touches you — an idea of personal beauty in ‘your world’?

Yes and that’s only for myself. I have no idea what the public thinks. I am not commercial in that sense. I don’t do works someone else wants. I think it is a power within the simplicity. Like this table over there. Its so simple but at the same time it is fragile and the surface a bit wobbly. You are wondering if it collapses or not. So it is also about the balance. I am looking for this tension. I like to use things that already exist in my environment and I take them out of their context. If I work with big companies then often lots of things are possible. All the equipment is available. It happens fast that things are getting too complex. Then it looses its quality. I am striving for purity and simplicity.

 

Do you think mass-produced objects have less individual quality?

Oh, I don’t think there is such thing in mass-production. Every object is exactly the same. The best design is multiplied: ‘the Golden Mean’[x]. I don’t want to judge mass production because its designed for optimal purpose. But if you study nature, then everything is unique. You can not find one olive tree that is the same. Not one animal or human. We are all different. Thats why I create production lines that produces unique objects. It would be great if people would spend a tiny little moment to witness these individual unique differences. It is hard to make people feel something or even make them wonder.

When I was studying I really admired a lot of designers or artists for their capability and their way of looking at things. I also really understood that it was not my way. But when you are young you are not really sure about your way. That is sometimes a bit confusing. So you have to find your own strength, your true fascination. And after some time by simply doing you feel more and more secure and comfortable in choosing what you want to do. At the end it is about experience I would say.

 

I read an article where you said you take already existing working processes and change them to give materials space to let them expand in their natural way. What is your fundamental inspiration concerning your working process?

If I compare my own mind to nature I am a bit disappointed. Because whatever nature is doing in terms of gravity or elasticity or any other effects basically — I could have never come up with this. The result is so much better than everything I could have ever designed. So I just started going into the direction of letting things happen. But of course in a quite distinguished research. I have to do it over and over again until I understand why and what happens when. And then I pick out something to focus on.

 

Do you have plans for further projects based on the idea of Phenomeneon?

Yes, for sure because now we developed the techniques and finally we can start to play. Basically I am looking forward to the opportunities in the future. To be able making more things happen within the world of Phenomeneon. If you discovered something you are really fascinated about, I think it is important that you spend some time in making more pieces because mostly they get better and better.

 

 

Check out Pieke Bergmans official website for more information.

 

 

Meeting with a shape explorer


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Olivier van Herpt is young Dutch designer from Eindhoven, he graduated in 2014 form the Eindhoven design academy. We discovered his work at the “Dream Out Loud” exhibition in the Stedelijk. Both of us were strongly attracted by the 3D world and process in the show. Therefor van Herpt’s work seemed like the most instructing of all regarding his process but also due to the final objects themselves. The other aspect that catches our eye was the combination of brand new technology and crafts, (3D printing/ceramics, weaving). Van Herpt’s work consists in making ceramic shapes (vase looking shapes) with 3d printing machine that he engineered for it. We were therefor even more fascinated not only by the shapes but even more by how he got there. We had the opportunity of meeting him in his studio and ask him more about his work and work process.

The conversation immediately focused on his work process.
It all started when he was still a student at the academy, he was already interested in 3D printing and was taking ceramics as minor. He also mentioned that he had always been interested in the technical part. But was quickly limited by the technical possibilities of the machines at the academy, size wise, material wise and so on. This is when he started thinking about making his own. His approach was also mainly to combine different techniques. He therefor though about a machine that would combine man action and machine made. He wanted to have an interaction with the machine. That combination also takes place in the process of designing the object and making the object. Van Herpt had some help from student friends at the beginning but not from manufacturing industries. He started with a small machine and they got bigger with time. He designed and engineered the machines himself and learned the technical part while in the process of creating them. Also as a designer, unlike an engineer, he already had an idea about what the machine had to look like from the start. That give it a different approach but of course he had to adapt to technical issues and the machine had to adapt on what he wants to make. « It’s a parallel process between the object and the machine. »

3d-dripping

3d-printing-ceramics-1

After graduation he focused on experimenting with the machine with different techniques all about randomly approach « dripping » with different materials, such as wax, and bee wax. At the time he was experimenting with soft clay by softening it with water but had quickly explored all the possibilities with it so he then decided to focus on ceramics, dive deeper into it and use hard clay for which he had to build a new machine. Again we can see the close relation between the process of making the machine and the object, how one is to the other, and the constant need to develop a machine that is adapted to the material (hard clay).

IMG_8799

The second machine he made for the hard clay is basically like a pomp, he described it as an ‘extruder’, the innovative aspect to it is its openness and the possibility to interact with the machine that works with any kind of hard materials : « the machine is really like a tool » that he uses to make objects with. He explained that there were two ways of working with the machine. You can decided to interact with it or not. The most basic shapes are hand made. Some of the shapes are design then put into the computer and then when a machine prints it then it is machine made, or you can shape it yourself on to the machine because the machine is not closed.
This is it’s way of renewing an very old craft (ceramics). It is a human versus machine collaboration. The shapes of the products are all unique you cannot make one twice. Because of the use of clay it is also fast to make and always reusable until you cook it. It is then possible to make a lot of different try-outs and and shaped it until you are satisfied with it. Meaning that there are endless combination of shapes possible to explore. He also sees it only as the beginning and very much as an on going process of experimentation.
«It is only the beginning » as he said « it can be really random but also really controlled » which gives a bigger range of possibilities, also with the use of different colored clay, creating very different kind of shapes. He also told us that he recently started to experiment with new materials such as porcelain.

IMG_8795 IMG_8790

He is in process of creating a new machine, even bigger, to have the possibly of making bigger shapes and objects. Having the possibility now of collaborating with different fields, which was his idea in combining techniques, he is enthusiast in working not only with designers but also with artists, architects, interior designers and even industries. for example industries ordered his machines for other purposes.

This research project by Daria Nakov and Raphaelle Hugues is based on the "Dreaming Out Load" design exhibition curated by the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

Why Make Carpets?


Sunday, December 4, 2016

 

The designers Bob Waardenburg, Marcia Nolte, and artist Stijn van der Vleuten are the collective We Make Carpets, who are represented with the pieces Stirrer Carpet, Cocktail Carpet 2 and Umbrella Carpet 2 at Dream out Loud in the Stedelijk museum Amsterdam.

Umbrella Carpet 2, 2015

Umbrella Carpet 2, 2015

 

We Make Carpets create both big and small patterns from simple products, such as cocktail stirrers, paperclips, candy bars and spices. They manage to create these patterns and structures, that is not only pleasing to look at but they also question how we see these products, by finding the beauty and characteristics within each material.

In all their work there is a clear systematic process. It is important when selecting a material that it relates to the location where it will be exhibited. It has to suit the place and/or theme, since both the space and material will influence one another. Most of the time they won’t even manipulate the material at all.

Then comes the question how to place the material. I think it is important to remember that the qualities of the material will decide a big part of how the pattern is going to look like. For example in Straw Carpet (2014) where the straight shape of the straws guides the pattern from the center and outwards.

 

straw 1

Straw Carpet, 2014

Straw Carpet, 2014

 

Carpet Carpet, 2015

Carpet Carpet, 2015

 

In one of their later works (Carpet Carpet, 2015) for the carpet factory Ege the group used leftovers from the factory itself. They collected 3500 cutoffs from actual carpets to create a carpet that covers the floor and one of the walls in the exhibition space.
What makes this piece interesting is that all these cutoffs come from different carpets, which makes each piece to stand out in colour.
After counting, sorting and measuring the pieces, the group could eventually find a way to puzzle them together by making a pattern, divided by white carpet rolls, to avoid getting a blurry mess of colours.

 

They also experimented with other materials, like in the piece Forest Carpet (2009), where they bring in materials from the nature into an exhibition space.  This is actually their first carpet together.

They also experimented with other materials, like in the piece Forest Carpet (2009), where they bring in materials from the nature into an exhibition space.
This is actually their first carpet together.

 

Their 6th carpet, Brick Carpet (2011), was made from 40 000 bricks and measured 42 x 70 meters.

Their 6th carpet, Brick Carpet (2011), was made from 40 000 bricks and measured 42 x 70 meters.

 

Connecting these objects even more is that they are so useless most of the time. They are at the bottom of our consumption list. For instance, we only buy paperclips because we might need a few of them, and we don’t even notice how beautiful they really can be.

We Make Carpets really see the beauty in recycling, as shown in Bottle Carpet (2012), a project that appeared at Maroccos Taragalte Festival. The work is made entirely of empty plastic containers of various shapes and colours to comment on contemporary consumer aesthetics.

 

Bottle Carpet, 2012

Bottle Carpet, 2012

I find it really interesting that We Make Carpets are using different products/materials for nearly every carpet that they make, and yet they always end up with a great result. They seem to know what possibilities and limitations there is within each of the materials, and it makes me curious to study the material itself, since I think it’s obvious it can be of importance.

Though their systematic way of working, without manipulating the materials too much, does not fit me very well, I still like the idea to create new patterns like this and I would like to explore this method in my own way, to find out what I can learn from it.

I made a few tests with leaves, painted A4-papers and rubber bands, to try and find out what unique characteristics they have.

gummigummi cola

papperpapper 2

After I spent a little time with these few products, by collecting, sorting and observing, I definitely got a better understanding of the importance in both quality and quantity of each material.

löv 2löv

löv 4

The leaves even ended up as an additional element for another of my projects.

There are big ambitions in We Make Carpets work and they seem to have an optimistic view on the future. There is some kind of sarcastic feel within the materials, and how they use them, that tells me there is hope that everything will be environmental friendly and people will be healthy, with no littering, and that this can only be reached if we really start to look and question those products that we as consumers are purchasing.


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