The Carpenters Workshop Gallery in New York will present “Vanitas of Life,” a show of work by Dutch designers The Verhoeven Twins, formerly of the design collective Demakersvan. The exhibition which is their first US solo show with the gallery, will be on view at Carpenters Workshop Gallery’s New York location from November 7th through December 22nd.
“Vanitas of Life” foregrounds the pair’s borosilicate glass “Bubble” works and also features two iterations of their “Lectori Salutem Desk” in addition to their iconic “Cinderella table.” Jeroen and Joep Verhoeven’s “Shape of Water” collection fuses time-honored symbolism and cutting-edge technology to create a sculpture of startling beauty. The bubble appears throughout art history as an image of transience, most famously in “Chardin’s Soap Bubbles” (c. 1733-34), which depicts a boy blowing a bubble while another watches.
A similarly playful spirit infuses Verhoeven’s “Vanitas of Life” collection, with its billowing, prismatic glass bubbles that look like they might pop at any moment. The method to make the bubbles emerged only after years of research by the duo. The borosilicate glass is the most stable and clear glass made by man. Craftsmen in Italy that are used to work on jewelry precision cut the glass to a complex structure that results in an exceptionally strong substance.The Verhoeven Twins have created a unique cultural artefact by transforming a symbol image of brevity into an enduring object. In addition to its more formal aspects – symbolic nature of the bubble looms large over the Verhoeven Twins’ practice.
The twins refer to their working environment as living within a bubble of their own experience — as the two share an apartment and a studio. The pair also attempt to capture a youthful like innocence or naiveté through their work; for the artists bubbles come to represent the fragility of life – something of aesthetic beauty but also very temporary. A vanitas is a symbolic work of art showing the transience of life, the futility of pleasure, and the certainty of death, often contrasting symbols of wealth and symbols of ephemerality and death. “The Vanitas of Life” works are intended to exist at the intersection of art object and functional sculpture. The twins aim to collapse the abstract into the functional, creating a story that blends elements that society usually separates. The pieces – while whimsical and beautiful also delve deeper to ask existential questions about life, death, and all the possibility bound up within a single moment.
From Functional Art to Collectible Design, today 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; a relevance that must appear evident. 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, an homage to the French heritage of ‘Arts Décoratifs’. 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. Carpenters Workshop Gallery is established today as the leading gallery and in the international territory of contemporary collectible design.