Insights on Experiments (I)

One of my great pleasures is to experiment with materials and techniques. Usually I’m wrestling with the realization of a work, wondering about what materials I should use, like what texture, feel and expressiveness would it have. I then regularly set out with something I’ve never used or tried before and end up with something totally useless for the initial purpose but highly interesting for some future project. I really would like to spend a year just experimenting and see where it would lead me.

Steel bars

I’d started working in the metal workplace and was falling in love with steel. Exploring dynamic open and closed forms while learning to weld led me to the two different results shown hereunder.

No title, experiment, 2009, steel and two component super glue
No title, experiment, 2009, steel and two component super glue

A closed form of steel bars with the size I envisioned would be too heavy so I wanted to make two smaller “plugs” of  steel bars to be encircled with just one or two layers of longer iron bars. The plugs I made with a very strong two component glue which, when hardened, looks like soft yoghurt. It’s stone hard to the touch. I love the resulting coolness of the “plugs” and imagine building a strange landscape with this combination. It will be forbiddingly heavy and expensive to realize, but because it’s modular I can make it in small steps.



No title, experiment, 2009, steel
No title, experiment, 2009, steel

The open object consists of the same steel bars as the closed object but here I’ve placed a distance between the bars with the melting welding electrode. I tried to create an open “organic” spiraling organization of the bars loosely inspired by the tower of Vladimir Tatlin. I believe this work process can yield a really esthetically beautiful sculpture.



Layers, “cool” wool & steel

No title, experiment, 2009. Felt, steel
No title, experiment, 2009. Felt, steel

I was exploring layers as a concept and felted wool is wonderful for this. But felt is felt is felt, if you feel what I mean! Felt imposes it’s cosy, warm, soft, fluffy, handy-crafty expression on anything it’s part of. I look to explore and expand the limits of the expressiveness of materials, so I set out to change the felt feeling of felt.

No title, experiment, 2009. Felt, steel
No title, experiment, 2009. Felt, steel

I created a sturdy frame of steel profiles and spanned my felt on this, allowing for the frame to show through whilst imposing a strict form on the wool. The exposure of the layering was important as this was the “origin” of the work. Visibly, I haven’t entirely succeeded in the “cooling” down of the wool. I would love to one day surprise the public with non-felt felt works. It’s not the material I’m missing, I’ve got plenty of wool in my garage obtained for free from friendly sheep farmers.

The “Coat Rack”

"Bubbles", experiment, 2008, two component resin, balloons, stockings
“Bubbles”, experiment, 2008, two component resin, balloons, stockings

One assignment in the Fine Art Academy was a coat rack. Obviously not the ordinary run of the mill coat rack but a totally rethought concept. I have a background in the European Space Agency and a fascination for space exploration. André Kuipers was often in the news and I wondered what would be a handy storage for clothes and other, small items. Everything floats, and I wanted to take advantage of that. My clothes rack would be floating too. It would have to resist the occasional bumping into, so a round form would be ideal. Thus the idea of transparent space “bubbles”. I needed a “mold” and a forming material strong enough to hold the bubble form. The molds were balloons of various sizes, the forming material a transparent two component resin and stockings were used as reinforcement. I ended up with a series of really crazy, interesting objects, which I’d love to put to use in a work of art. I have several ideas to explore in the future.

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