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Marcel Wanders' art

Andrew Meredith


As much as we may feel somehow connected to the design geniuses who craft the objects we sit on, eat off, walk over and lie under, it’s very rare that we get an actual glimpse of who they are as people and what fears and hopes lurk in their psyches.

The first-ever solo gallery show by Dutch designer and art director Marcel Wanders, the man behind the iconic 1996 Knotted Chair and countless other revolutionary products, gives us this sort of insight. Held at New York’s Friedman Benda gallery and titled Portraits, the exhibition features a very personal collection of work that does as its name suggests and offers a portrayal of the artist’s personality that few have seen before.

‘My design work has always been about positivity, respect, love and trust. However, this output doesn’t fully represent me as a person. For me, it is also important to produce work that explores a different sensitivity and addresses other aspects of my life and character; otherwise it would feel incomplete,’ Marcel is quoted as saying on the gallery’s website.

The result is a show that is evocative, intense, intimate and ominous, one that seems to walk the line between reality and nightmare. The collection of work includes large ghostly mirrors in abstract shapes, a giant bronze rocking unicorn with chain stirrups, a dark digital video featuring sinister-looking characters, an embroidered monster-like seating pod and two monumental ceramic vases to name a few.

Each piece is a captivating work of art and the whole show is beautiful, albeit in an eerie way, in its execution. It seems to have a strange ability to hook your gaze even though most of you wants to look away.

Marcel Wanders’ exhibition is on until 9 April 2016, so if you’re in the area before then, we recommend you pop in. Otherwise, definitely do take a look at various photographs of the show over at the Friedman Benda gallery website.

Main image credit: bit.ly/1fLqYUG