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Het Nieuwe Ambacht – Iris van Herpen (The New Craft. Iris van Herpen and her Inspiration)

Start Date 29 June 2011
End Date 9 October 2011
Venue Centraal Museum
Location Utrecht, The Netherlands

From 29 June to 9 October 2011, the Centraal Museum presents an exhibition about one of the most talented Dutch fashion designers of the moment: Iris van Herpen (1984). The New Craft is an exhibition about the experimental work of Iris van Herpen and her sources of inspiration. Work by artists such as Kris Kuksi, Nanine Linning, Stephen Jones, Bart Hess and Irene Bussemaker will be on display. These works are presented with a selection from the Central Museum’s Applied Art collection. Iris van Herpen is making a new design especially for the exhibition.

Inspirations and collaborations
The new craft shows designs by Iris van Herpen alongside applied art from the 16th to 19th centuries. There is also work by various (inter) national contemporary artists who inspire Van Herpen or with whom she has collaborated. This makes it a very personal exhibition. Van Herpen: “It is a dream for me to work with artists who inspire me. Together with others, to bring fashion back to a valuable product by looking for new forms, materials and techniques.” In 2010, the Centraal Museum was the first museum in the Netherlands to add a number of masterpieces by Van Herpen to its collection.

Innovative technologies
Iris van Herpen stands for an interaction between craftsmanship and innovation with technique and materials, she combines craftsmanship with experimentation and is always looking for new techniques and materials. She uses metal, plastic and other materials that are unusual for a fashion designer. Despite their often futuristic appearance, her collections are mainly made by hand. In addition to the classic manual work, Van Herpen applies innovative technologies such as the 3D printer. A 3D printer will be available in the Centraal Museum. Visitors can see how this new process works in the exhibition.

Designs by Iris van Herpen
The exhibition shows approximately 25 designs by Van Herpen: not only haute couture, but also several spectacular costumes for dance performances. The theatrical appearance of these designs is enhanced by light effects and a (more than) life-size projection of the performance and sound. The recent acquisitions of her work by the Centraal Museum are also on display, as well as the new design that was made especially for the exhibition.

Inspiration from the past
Van Herpen’s innovative working method and craftsmanship are in keeping with the tradition of applied art. The Centraal Museum’s collection of old applied art contains pieces of exceptional quality. The exhibition shows an avant-garde, 3D-printed dress by Van Herpen alongside the 17th century goldsmithing art of Adam and Paulus van Vianen. Another dress by Van Herpen, which is made of strips of leather, is placed next to gold leather wallpaper from the 18th century. Other masterpieces from this collection, such as a bookcase by CA Lion Cachet and a silk room covering, form the background for Van Herpen’s work.

Inspiration from the present
Van Herpen often works with artists from different disciplines and is also inspired by various contemporary (inter) national artists, such as Nanine Linning, Daniel Widrig, Bart Hess, Kris Kuksi and Stephen Jones. These artworks are strongly multidisciplinary. Iris van Herpen’s designs form the common thread through the exhibition.

Fashion in the Centraal Museum
Fashion is an important spearhead of the museum that strives to collect the work of authentic design talent at an early stage. Iris van Herpen’s work fits well within the lines of the Centraal Museum’s collection policy, with an emphasis on craftsmanship, concept and interdisciplinarity. Her autonomous designs are of high quality and are an important addition to the museum’s fashion collection.