Geert Lap – Specific Objects
Geert Lap – Specific Objects offers a visually captivating survey of the peerless work of one of the world’s most important post-war ceramic artists. The many works from the museum’s own collection have been supplemented by dozens of judiciously selected loans from leading museums and collections. The exhibition was designed by Aldo Bakker, who engages in a dialogue with Lap’s work at Design Museum Den Bosch that explores the pursuit of the perfect form.
What comes after perfection?
The ceramic work of the sublime maker Geert Lap (1951–2017) belongs to a modernist tradition that rejected decoration and historical references. In terms of its intent and eloquence, his oeuvre stands comparison with the minimalism of artists like Carl Andre, Donald Judd and André Volten. Lap’s striving for perfection formed the heart of his artistic practice and his unsurpassed craft. Objects that failed to live up to his stringent requirements were summarily smashed. But how was he able to keep on raising his standards? What was the flip side to this almost monomaniacal attitude? Where do you go once you have created the perfect form?
Together for the first time
The exhibition offers a survey of every phase in Geert Lap’s artistic career. Key works like Colour Triangle and 99 Variations can be viewed in the context of his other work, making this a unique experience. What’s more, the 99 Variations series is being shown in its entirety for the first time since it was completed 25 years ago. In this way, the exhibition gives an impression of an oeuvre that achieved steadily greater heights of sublimity. Design Museum Den Bosch is able here to highlight a minimalism that is rare in the applied arts, while simultaneously addressing the pitfalls of unflagging perfectionism. Thanks to this show, ‘ceramics’ greatest minimalist’, as the gallery owner and author Garth Clark has described Geert Lap, will receive the tribute he deserves.
New standard work
The exhibition is accompanied by the publication by NAI010 of a new standard work on Geert Lap’s life and art. The book centres on the photography of Erik and Petra Hesmerg, who have spent years travelling the world to record Geert Lap’s work, gaining them exclusive access along the way to the interiors of private collectors. Geert Lap – Specific Objects also explores how Lap’s work has been incorporated in major Dutch museum collections, using full-page photographs and an exceptional eye for detail. A biographical essay by Professor Titus M. Eliëns, who has been granted access to the artist’s private archives, offers an incisive view of the life and work of a thoroughgoing perfectionist, who devoted himself to achieving the ideal ceramic form. Geert Lap – Specific Objects takes its title from the essay by Professor Ernst J. van Alpen, in which he uses the term ‘specific object’ to situate Lap’s work in the tradition of great minimalist art.
Exhibition ‘Geert Lap – Specific Objects’
Design Museum Den Bosch
De Mortel 4, Den Bosch
Until 18 August 2019
Boek ‘Geert Lap – Specific Objects’
Photografy: Erik and Petra Hesmerg
Design: Beukers Scholma