Lights & Masks
Patrick Parrish Gallery
Patrick Parrish Gallery is pleased to present Lights & Masks, the first American solo exhibition featuring the work of Dutch artist and designer, Bertjan Pot. Known for his fantastic lighting and mask designs, Pot’s work is driven by a fascination for structures, patterns, and colors. He allows an impulsive curiosity to drive his experiments with material and form, pushing functionality and aesthetics to their limits. Whether working alone or with a manufacturer, Pot explores possibilities of creation to the fullest; to him, the reward for each challenge is a new one.
Although seemingly these masks tell stories, they started out as a material experiment. I wanted to find out if by stitching a rope together I could make a large flat carpet. Instead of flat, the samples got curvy. When I was about to give up on the carpet, we came up with the idea of shaping the rope into masks. The possibilities are endless. Slowly the rope masks have evolved over the past 11 years, from decorative face-covering wall hangings to full head covering wacky characters. The latest versions feel a bit like masks wearing masks. Psychoanalyze that! ;-)
After making masks out of synthetic rope and yarn for years, I thought it was time to give some more organic materials a go. Grass seemed an obvious material, because I could harvest it myself. I really enjoy a good, precisely made hand coiled basket, but when I have to make it myself I know I get very impatient if the process is too slow and repetitive. So I allowed myself to be very sloppy and fast which resulted in these characters. There are only a few of them yet, because I am restricted by the harvesting season (winter) and they also take a lot longer to make than their synthetic rope cousins.
I like making prototypes. Especially the first idea of a rough and ready mock-up has a charm that is hard to find in most industrially produced products. I am not the most precise and crafty model maker but I do know how to get away with my sloppiness and flaws. To not let this talent go to waste, I love making the Crafty lights using simple techniques and ready-made materials with the limited amount of tools I have here at the studio. Working this way I encounter lots of new ideas very quickly. Some may eventually make it into a mass-produced product, but each unique crafty light will hopefully find a special place in someone’s home. This year I made quite a few crafty lights. It is such a joy to start a design project and finish it in the same week, without meetings and intensive product development. Cok the Rooy from the Frozen Fountain described them best by saying they are not made to impress, but to surprise.