Hide & Seek
Design Museum Gent presents Hide & Seek, the first major solo exhibition of the work of the Dutch designer Maarten Baas (b. 1978), who made his definitive international breakthrough last year. The exhibition showcases the versatile talent of one of the Netherlands’ best-known designers. This production by the Groninger Museum gives an overview of his most important work in the past fifteen years.
Baas’s designs are at the cutting edge of art and design. They are theatrical sets, but made for real life: he creates humorous and rebellious furniture series, which cannot be produced on an industrial scale. Ever since he graduated, producing a series of charred furniture for his graduation project, Baas has gone against the grain of traditions and expectations, favouring provocation with his bold and adventurous moves. In this work, the new always clashes with the old, technology with craftsmanship and acceleration with stillness. It is simply impossible to pin down the Houdini of Dutch Design. You must seek him somewhere between reason and emotion, between nature and culture, between freedom and limitations.
Maarten Baas graduated in 2002 from the prestigious Design Academy Eindhoven with the series Smoke, for which he burned furniture. He then treated the blackened, fragile wood with a transparent layer of epoxy, restoring the functionality of the furniture by reinforcing it. The burnt furniture inspires us to reflect on the hidden history of objects, on the relationship that people have with their furniture and on what it means to own, preserve and protect objects.
Baas redefined hand-made with Clay. The brightly coloured furniture resembles furniture that has been formed by children using Play-Doh. Instead, Baas used a very strong, synthetic clay and a supporting steel structure. A spontaneous, naïve and slightly unwieldy counterpoint to the pared down minimalist aesthetic, in which the designer’s hand is both visible and tangible as each item is hand-shaped.
The passage of time plays an important role in Baas’s work. In Real Time, he visualises time elapsing in his own unique way, making it look like someone is tracing the hands of a clock only to sweep them away immediately afterwards. The twelve-hour films make you experience time again yourself. Time becomes both quantity and quality in this work: the clocks reveal how time drags on, pushing us onwards, and how each moment is different from the one before it.
Baas is in town
In Baas is in Town, the designer emphasised his love-hate relationship with the ‘circus’ of the Salone del Mobile. His hilarious solo presentation on the outskirts of Milan resembles a circus attraction, with a cacophony of distorting mirrors, a merry-go-round, a chewing gum vending machine and flickering lights. This is Baas’s way of drawing attention to the Milan in-crowd’s approach to the value of things, to craftsmanship and the urge to be different. “There is no point in developing an object from A to Z and then presenting it in Milan, because ultimately its fate is to be nothing more than a photo that is posted to Facebook. While it is published everywhere, the product itself will probably never go on sale.”
You can also see recent work by the designer in Maarten Baas. Hide & Seek, including Close Parity. The installation May I have your attention please? was the outcome of a collaboration between Maarten Baas and Lensvelt for Milan Design Week in April 2017. Hide & Seek comprises eight videos and will be shown for the very first time in Belgium. Besides this, Maarten Baas also created a new Smoke piece for the Ghent exhibition, with an item from the collection of Design Museum Gent which was no longer considered relevant. Thanks to Maarten Baas’s transformation, it has become a collection piece once again.
Maarten Baas in Belgium
Design Museum Gent is the second venue to present Maarten Baas. Hide & Seek, after the Groninger Museum, where the exhibition attracted 125,000 visitors. The exhibition will travel from Ghent to Design Museum Holon (Israel). The museum wants to raise the profile of Maarten Baas’s work in Belgium. Dutch design continues to be an important priority for the museum, as demonstrated with this exhibition and in the museum’s collection, which includes various key examples of Dutch design.
Hide & Seek: the book
The first major monograph on the work of Maarten Baas was published in conjunction with the exhibition. The book contains contributions from Lidewij Edelkoort, Marcus Fairs, Wim Pijbes, Sue-an van der Zijpp, Mark Wilson and Ingmar Heytze among others, as well as photos by Anton Corbijn and Erwin Olaf.
Price: € 39.95. ISBN: 978-94-6226-219-5 Publisher: Lecturis
Maarten Baas. Hide & Seek
18.05.2018 – 30.09.2018
Admission: € 10 / € 8 / € 2
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