Often when critics write about art, they tend to speak of the artist’s use of contrasts, the blurring of boundaries, the dichotomy between this and that. Well, there’s no getting around such platitudes when describing Jeroen Verhoeven’s work, which exploits 21st-century technology to produce pieces of highly crafted beauty. The latest example is Lectori Salutem, a stunning desk of highly polished steel that looks like the creative lovechild of Matthew Barney and Zaha Hadid.
Verhoeven included the facial profiles of his two studio partners.
The Dutch designer won attention in 2004 for using high-tech machinery on the Cinderella, an undulating birch table now in the permanent collections of MoMA and the V&A. “The high tech machines are our” hidden Cinderella’s,? Verhoeven writes on his Web site. “We make them work in robot lines, while they can be so much more.” For Lectori Salutem, he plugged the hand-drawn sketches of 19th-century French cabinetmaker Francois Linke into a computer and distorted them into a thoroughly modern form: One end falls to the floor with an upturned lip; the other is propped up on hind legs. And while one side displays smooth curves, the other side — sorry, more contrasts! — exposes the literal nuts and bolts that hold it together. (The designer won’t reveal his techniques for fear of ruining “the magic of the work.”)
On a personal note, Verhoeven included the facial profiles of his two studio partners: his twin brother, Joep Verhoeven, and Judith de Graauw. (The three studied at Eindhoven before establishing their Rotterdam-based practice Demakersvan.)
Lectori Salutem is on view, along with Virtue of Blue, Verhoeven’s solar-panel chandelier, at London’s Blain|Southern gallery until July 16.