Academy exhibition 1996
Academy exhibition and graduation of my study interior architecture and furniture design at CHK Constantijn Huygens (art academy) in Kampen, 1996. A line of furniture based on my interpretation of the lyrics to a song by Nina Simone.
She does not know her beauty
She thinks her brown body has no glory
If she could dance naked under palm trees
And see her image in the river
She would know
Yes, she would know
But there are no palm trees in the street
No palm trees in the street
And dishwater gives back no images
(1964) Nina Simone, Waring Cuney
I roughly interpreted the lyrics like this: Beauty only becomes apparent if the context is right. I applied this principle to found objects and materials that have no apparent beauty in their daily context, by using them in their most original form to construct furniture, thus changing only the context. The challenge was to emphasise the beauty already present in these objects and materials, without altering their specific characteristics.
I made a new floor for my exhibition to visually divide the space into smaller compartments to achieve a better presentation of the different furniture pieces. In the center of the exhibition was a small elevated platform with a speaker hanging right above it, continuously playing the song that inspired the work.
In this period I also came up with a (Dutch) term to describe my activities that balance or break the fine line between design and art: ‘beeldend meubelaar’. It roughly translates like ‘visual furniturist’. The terms ‘visual artist’ and ‘furniture designer’ both didn’t seem to apply here. However, time has caught up with me. Art and design have grown closer together over the years, blurring boundaries that wouldn’t be touched before.