Since the late 1980’s Aldo Bakker (NL, 1971) has gradually developed an impressive body of work. The exhibition Aldo Bakker. PAUSE at the CID - centre d’innovation et de design au Grand-Hornu presents the first comprehensive overview of his oeuvre. Curated by Aldo Bakker himself, the exhibition stages the public encounter between the intriguing outcomes of his unique and laborious work process.
All of Bakker’s objects seem strangely familiar at first sight; they remind us of things we have seen or used before, almost as if they are the archetypes of the sophisticated material culture that surrounds us.But immediately after this initial sense of recognition the questioning starts. What force created these shapes? Could any other colour have done justice to this single object? Why do some shapes suggest a functional purpose (pouring, drinking, sitting down) when the essence of the objects clearly lies beyond their practical qualities? Does it make sense to ask whether these objects should be seen as art or design?
They all appear to be animated and autonomous, like individuals. Their skins and materiality characterise their specific nature.
To get to know them we will have to stand still. Invest time. Pause. To engage in a conversation with these works we will have to let go
of our preconceptions and listen to the stories they tell us, search for relevant questions, and put our personal aesthetic preferences to the test.
Although Aldo Bakker has been producing a wide range of objects – one-offs and limited editions next to working for renowned companies like Karakter, Georg Jensen (DN), Puiforcat and Sèvres (FR) – the actual impact of his oeuvre is not related to numbers. The quality of the works he has drawn and crafted, re-drawn and re-crafted over and over again should first be understood for the way they change our perception of the ordinary. Aldo Bakker. PAUSE demonstrates his subtle mastery of the extra-ordinary. Not by being outrageous but through subtlety and absolute precision of execution.
Ever since the age of sixteen, when he made his first attempts at drawing, Bakker has chosen an independent position. He averted the path shown to him by his parents (well-known Dutch designers Emmy van Leersum and Gijs Bakker), he didn’t finish art school and instead created his own working practice, literally starting form scratch. It became the trademark of his creative approach: finding out the hard way, digging deeper when the results did not match the essential form he wanted to capture. This process involves close collaborations with craftsmen (carpenters, silver smiths, urushi masters and others), who add their expertise and sensibility to Aldo Baker’s distinct creative signature.
Aldo Bakker. PAUSE not only invites the visitor to slow down and see, the exhibition also creates a unique setting for Aldo Bakker to evaluate, compare and combine objects that often took years to mature before they left the studio. No wonder that Bakker and his team grabbed the opportunity to design the scenography of the exhibition themselves, leaving not the slightest detail to chance.