About This Art Object
On the one hand, Dutch designer Ineke Hans’s work often displays the crude outlines of those enchanted but ordinary objects that populate the childhood fairytale. On the other hand, her work has the carefully crafted construction and clever material choices that have nothing at all to do with childhood. Hans earned degrees from Arnhem’s Hogeschool voor de Kunsten in 1991 and London’s Royal College of Art in 1995 before going on to design furniture and productfor Habitat UK. She then returned to the Netherlands to establish her eponymous studio, Ineke Hans/Arnhem, where her staff produce events, interiors, furniture and products. Hans, who often wears braids and has wallpapered her website with decorative gingham patterns, combines the impulses of an artist with those of the most exacting industrial designer. With the sensibility of an anthropologist, she draws on the profound influence of the object on the psyche of its user and investigates the folkloric qualities of ‘things’ as communicated through color, form and construction, often combining traditional techniques with new materials and industrial production processes. Hans’ Black Gold collection is a reflection of her interest in pictograms and archetypes as universal images (and meaning) gathered by every human in the ‘prehistory’ of childhood. Produced in matte-black porcelain, Black Gold is a modular tea and coffee set consisting of pipe-like cylinders, which, arranged and re-arranged (as sets are when in use) offers a shifting landscape of 3D pictograms. The aesthetic and graphic uniqueness of the series, however, is supplemented by Hans’ innovations in material. With ceramics, it is typical to ‘glue’ a handle to a cup with slip clay before firing the piece. With this method as her starting point, Hans generated a modular system that would reduce the number of moulds required to produce a maximum of forms. By creating only five shapes – three tubes of varying dimensions, a ‘corner’ and a ‘plunger’ – she was able to cast tulip vases, coffee pots, a fivearmed candleholder, a chandelier, and so forth. As Hans puts it: ‘A kind of ceramic Lego results, connected by trimming.’ Furthermore, because she casts the pieces in black porcelain, which contains a pigment that weakens the already malleable porcelain, the possibilities are increased again, especially because the dark surfaces underscore the graphic quality of each object.