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Exhibition

12.09.2015

Maarten Van Severen & Co

A Wild Thing

A Wild Thing is the second edition of Maarten Van Severen & Co, the contemporary design presentation that illustrates Maarten Van Severen’s (1956-2005) interpretation of design. The presentation establishes links between the work of the most famous Belgian designer of his generation and the work of other designers and artists, highlighting design aspects that are still relevant for designers today.

In A Wild Thing, Maarten Van Severen’s work engages in a dialogue with the inspired objects of kindred spirits. This exhibition finally does away with the notion that Maarten Van Severen was a minimalist designer. Instead, the designer referred to himself as a maximalist, because stripping designs down to their essence requires a maximum effort. The power of his designs lies in the arc of tension between their archetypical shape and the intensity with which he produced them. Initially hand-produced, he later switched to semi-industrial and industrial processes.

Maarten Van Severen was wild. All his designs point to the soul of a wild animal that is unable to escape the laws of nature. The last thing he wanted was to create tame objects that were adapted to the rules of consumer logic. His was the attitude of a craftsman, whose only purpose was to be at the service of his creation. He never started from style, choosing instead to focus on the essence and on harmony. Maarten Van Severen was always motivated by love and proximity in everything he created. 

A Wild Thing was curated by Marij De Brabandere and Hilde Bouchez who intervened in the scenography of Robbrecht en Daem architecten. The exhibition was inspired by the eponymous book by Hilde Bouchez.

Maarten Van Severen & Co is a contribution to the Maarten Van Severen Chair, which was established in 2015 at the KASK / School of Arts Gent on the tenth anniversary of the designer’s death.