The Exhibition DRIFT: About Nature, Technology, and Humankind
Studio DRIFT has a multimedia exhibition opening up at Carpenters Workshop Gallery | San Francisco in the former Saint Joseph’s Churchon January 17th. The exhibition explores the intersection of nature and technology and its cross-disciplinary impact on modern life. DRIFT: About Nature, Technology and Humankind seeks to identify and learn from the underlying mechanisms of the natural world in an effort to reconnect humanity to the environment it inhabits. In an era when environmental concerns are top of mind, this exhibition brings together artists who, in the words of historian William Meyers, “make an effort to understand and materialize the nature of nature” as its first show of 2020.
Anchored by seminal works by Studio DRIFT, About Nature, Technology and Humankind will showcase how cutting-edge technology is utilized by artists to mimic existing natural phenomena. One example of this is Studio DRIFT’s site-specific installation, Flylight (2009), which simulates the behavior of a flock of starlings – soaring through the air as a self-organized unit– through software responsive to external stimuli. A second installation, Fragile Future III (2007) depicts a floating field of light-emitting dandelion sculptures, with real dandelion seeds attached one by one to LED lights held together by a delicate copper structure, as a meditation on the rapid evolution of technology and on the possibilities to combine natural and technological elements.
Carpenters Workshop Gallery’s presentation of Studio DRIFT’s Flylight, comprised of 15 panels and 300 birds, and Fragile Future III, featuring 400 modules and 1,200 dandelions, marks the largest installations to date of these two works in the United States, following the West Coast debut of Fragile Future III at UTA Artist Space in 2019. Both installations encourage reflection on societal structure and the sustainability of human progress.
A third work by Studio DRIFT, a video installation of their immersive aerial artwork Franchise Freedom, which premiered at Art Basel in Miami Beach in 2017, will also be on view. This performative sculpture translates the majestic flight patterns of birds, both as singular animals and as a flock, into sweeping movements of a fleet of autonomous drones, inviting viewers to experience the natural phenomena of birds in motion through a 21st-century lens.
About Studio Drift
Dutch artists Lonneke Gordijn (1980) and Ralph Nauta (1978) founded Studio DRIFT in 2007. With a multi-disciplinary team of 64, they work on experiential sculptures, installations and performances. Studio DRIFT manifests the phenomena and hidden properties of nature with the use of technology, in order to learn from the Earth’s underlying mechanisms and to re-establish our connection to it.
With both depth and simplicity, Studio DRIFT’s works of art illuminate parallels between manmade and natural structures through deconstructive, interactive, and innovative processes. The artists raise fundamental questions about what life is and explore a positive scenario for the future.
All individual artworks have the ability to transform spaces. The confined parameters of a museum or a gallery does not always do justice to a body of work, rather it often comes to its potential in the public sphere or through architecture. Studio DRIFT brings people, space and nature on to the same frequency, uniting audiences with experiences that inspire a reconnection to our planet.
Other Dutch Artists Featured in the Exhibition
About Maarten Baas
Maarten Baas is a Dutch designer. Born in 1978, he grew up largely in Burgh-Haamstede and Hemmen in the Netherlands. After graduating from high school, he enrolled at the Design Academy Eindhoven. Baas is at the forefront of the design community and is considered one of the most influential Dutch designers of the early twenty-first century. Since 2005, Baas has collaborated with production partner Bas den Herder. Most of his designs are handmade in the Den Herder Production House studio in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands. His works straddle boundaries between art and design, and he is known for his rebellious, playful, intellectual, theatrical, and artistic style. He occupies a unique position in the design field in that he participates in such a wide variety of areas, including conceptual design, installations, public spaces, theater design,
and performance. Baas is best known for his works Real Time, Schiphol Clock, Smoke, Clay Furniture, and Carapace. His work can be found in major museum collections, such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Victoria & Albert Museum in London, Les Arts Décoratifs in Paris, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
About Aldo Bakker
Every convention – whether it concerns artistic legacy, beauty or plain purpose – needs to be challenged. And every creation is an exploration of the senses. From early on in his career Aldo Bakker (NL, 1971)has produced works in which his exquisite use of shape, material, and color is balanced with an almost disturbing tenacity in the way these pitchers, bowls, spoons, stools, and tables defy everyday perceptions about the relationship between man and object. Or more precisely: the relationship between object and man. Because despite their tranquil appearance and the modesty of their monochrome skins, Bakker’sobjects are anything but submissive. They determine the rules of the interaction. Those who handle merely observe them should come to terms with the inherent independence of these creatures. Their sensuous presence makes them highly seductive, but also hard to get. A bowl, a bench, a flask: all these ‘objects fatales’ could be (mis)taken for just being dead gorgeous and desirable, where in fact they undermine fixed notions about the object as a commodity. Aldo Bakker rejected a formal arts training. As an autodidact, he carefully studied the oeuvres of some of the most idiosyncratic artists of the modern age, ranging from composer Luigi Nono and painter Giorgio Morandi to writer J.M. Coetzee and architect Carlo Scarpa. With these masters, Bakker shares a fundamental interest for the language of their favored medium. In fact, the introverted nature of his works, their elegant curves, and facets, the depth of their surfaces and their flawless execution all contribute to the sensation that these artifacts tell their own stories in their own language. When they leave the studio –often after years of careful deliberation – the objects no longer bear witness to their maker but exclusively to their own existence. To the questions, they raise about the integrity of their being. By positioning his works as individual characters, Aldo Bakker forces his audience to shift its perception. We are no longer looking at an inanimate object on which we project our knowledge of style, shape or material value. Instead, these creatures invite us to engage in a conversation about their behavior, their uncertainties, their beliefs, their native tongue. We do not approach them as buyers or even as art historians, we become their fellow travelers, questioning ourselves as much as they question us.
About Sebastian Brajkovic
Sebastian Brajkovic is fascinated by the notions of perspective and distortion of form. He investigates these notions through his sculptural furniture pieces, resulting in the creation of the Lathe series of tables and chairs. His designs have been identified as modern classics and reside in permanent collections of institutions such as the Victoria and Albert Museum (London) and the Museum of Arts and Design (New York).
About the Verhoeven Twins
“We respect the old but want the new. We want to challenge, confront the normal, the accepted, the expected. We believe in fusing talented writers, filmmakers, artists, and scientists into a movement that
will go beyond ego; that will create a super story teller. As designers we feel not limited to only one category. We work with museums, architecture, furniture and fashion companies, to commercial brands and self-initiated projects. But wherever the starting point is, challenging and beautiful products are always our aim. Dutch Design is mostly famous for its conceptual, almost art-like status. We are very much Dutch, but apart from that, we also strongly believe that in the end our work should also find a larger audience. That is why we work in a similar way as the Haute Couture fashion world works.
Our studio will take the largest amount of artistic freedom to express valuable concepts, fantastic stories in projects that know no limitations. We use them ourselves as an inspiration and show them as a way to tell our story. On the other hand that same drive can lead to products that find their way in the production line. For the Lace Fence design we set up a social oriented production in India in 2006. We are now able
to provide 75 Indian families with health care insurance, pension and a healthy working environment, with the production of Lace Fence. We love to cross boundaries: between dream and reality, what is today and is about to come. The possibilities to shape the future with the tools of today are endless, we try to use them in their best way. Industrial production is as beautiful and inspiring as craft. We design serial products with the same attention as one-off’s. We are storytellers, from fantasy to factory, from statement to product.”
About Carpenters Workshop Gallery
From Functional Art to Collectible Design, Carpenters Workshop Gallery produces and exhibits functional sculptures by international rising and established artists or designers going outside their traditional territories of expression. Actively involved in the research and production of limited edition works, the gallery’s choices are guided by seeking an emotional, artistic and historical relevance and breaking boundaries between art and design.
The gallery relies on the partnership of childhood friends, Julien Lombrail and Loic le Gaillard. They first opened a space in London’s Chelsea in 2006 in a former carpenter’s workshop; they now operate four galleries globally in London, Paris, New York, and more recently in San Francisco. In 2015, the gallery opened The Workshop in Roissy, a unique 8,000 square meters space dedicated to artistic research bringing together the elite of artisans. Today, Carpenters Workshop Gallery is recognized as a leading gallery for contemporary collectible design.