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Dutch designer Maarten Baas’s latest collection “Carapace” is currently on view at Carpenters Workshop Gallery in New York through April 30.
“Carapace” is a scientific term for a protective, decorative, or camouflaging shell found on the back of creatures such as beetles or turtles. This notion of “hard skin” designed to protect the soft body is a key inspiration to Maarten Baas’s newest series. This fascination started off with an admiration for 1950s refrigerators (of all things), which led him to the study of curved, organic forms found in nature.
The series is made up of furniture encompassed by a patchwork of bronze plating, dot-welded, piece-by-piece, to form skin acting as a protective shield. “I feel it’s important to have a hard layer under which something good and fruitful can bloom up. The works explore the feeling of vulnerability up against the desire for development in the environment,” Baas said.
The exhibition also includes a new piece from his well-known “Real Time” series: Self Portrait Clock, where he films an actual person drawing the hands of the clock on a transparent panel then erasing and rewriting the minute hand every minute for 12 hours. In the new work, Baas said, “For the first time I’ve been the ‘actor’ myself, for a continuous 12 hours of filming. I wanted to inject my own activities, my own personality and manner, different than the previous clocks. So, I’m eating, drinking, wearing a hat, taking it off… I fill a full day of hard work captured inside the clock.” The two original clocks that make up this fascinating series, Grandfather and Grandmother, were created in 2009 and every new iteration of the clock has had a different theme, character, and design.
Maarten Baas has displayed his works all over the world including Moss Gallery, New York, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and Milan Salone del Mobile, as well as being commissioned to design at the Gramercy Park Hotel, New York and the Groninger Museum Restaurant Mendini.