Steel and Stone Strike a Balance in New Work by Belgian Designer Gerard Kuijpers

Mar 25, 2016 1:10AM

Working in his cavernous studio in Belgium, Gerard Kuijpers creates furniture and sculptural objects using stone and steel. The work is restrained and masculine, yet an earthy undertone comes through in the deep, black mazy marble and pearly white Carrera. For “Consoles et Autres Mobiliers” in Paris, Galerie Yves Gastou offers a collection of Kuijpers’ new work, some of which can also be seen in this year’s PAD Paris.

This new series was inspired by the stones’ natural colors, like the unique marbling in Saint Anne from Belgium or the orange-coral swirls in Portoro marble from Italy, which adds a dash of color to the otherwise black and white palette.

Kuijpers tends to work with the remains of larger chunks of stone, so the cut pieces often reflect slight flaws or uneven surfaces. He lets the stone’s imperfections and natural beauty speak for itself. It’s not uncommon, for instance, to see white veining in the black mazy stone or machine imprints from the cutting and separating process.

Though the stones take center stage, their uniquely designed steel supports perfectly balance their uneven weight and form. Kuijpers is interested in evoking a sense of lightness in his work, and at times, the large slabs seem to float over their dark gray or blackened steel armatures.

This weightlessness is most evident in a series of work called “Dancing Stones,” first presented in 2014 at Yves Gastou. Pieces of stone are placed on single, vertical steel rods with the stones set so they can effortlessly rotate with the breeze or a human touch. That series and Kuijper’s new work prove to be studies in trust between the strength of steel and the heft of stone.

—Blaire Dessent

Gerard Kuijpers: Consoles et Autres Mobiliers” is on view at Galerie Yves Gastou, Paris, Mar. 29–Apr. 30; PAD Paris runs Mar. 31–Apr. 3.

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