Marcel Wanders’ First Solo Art Exhibition

Marcel Wanders:Portraits

“Marcel Wanders: Portraits” opened February 25th at the Friedman Benda Gallery in New York City.
Based out of the Netherlands, Wanders is co-founder and art director of Moooi.

Wanders' premieres a variety of new work at Portraits

Although Wanders’ fine art and design work is housed in several permanent museum collections, including MoMA NY and The Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, “Portraits” represents two firsts for the artist. Friedman Benda is the first gallery to host Wanders for a solo gallery exhibition and this presentation of his work will offer an unsceen glimpse at Wanders’ darker side in a variety of fine art works that are less utilitarian and more ornamental.

Wanders explains, “My design work has always been about positivity, respect, love and trust. However, this output doesn’t fully represent me as a person. For me, it is also important to produce work that explores a different sensitivity and addresses other aspects of my life and character, otherwise it would feel incomplete.”

Wanders' Digital video compilation Athanasius 1 to 3.

As the name suggests, one aspect of “Portraits” depicts beautifully rendered creatures coming to life in the three part digital video installation “Athanasius,” which Wanders has composed from rose petals. The images appear as if they sprout to life and are very remeniscent of the 16th century painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo.

 Wanders' one minute sculpture out of ceramic.

Other works shown in “Portraits” include a line up of quick sculptures that are composed similar to Lucio Fontana’s ceramics of the mid 20th century. Wanders describes these sculptures in the show as “free-form 3-D sketches of lost pets.” Some are gilded in gold and others are glazed.

Marcel Wanders - "Virtual Interiors - Cottonwood Spa, Cottonwood, USA"

Wanders’ has also included a digital video collage named “Virtual Interiors” which touches on the wondrous and futuristic interiors that he envisions. In an article on 1stdibs about the show, Wanders explains “I started to make interiors that traded reality for eternity,” and he continues, “[These interior spaces] will be good forever, because they will never be built.”

Wanders' Shiqule Nuhai Ceramic Vases, 2016.

Wanders has also expanded on his well known ceramic collection, Delft Blue, with new pieces like Shiqule Nuhai. Standing 63 inches high and 25 inches wide, the two massive ceramic urns play towards the show’s overall arching theme of darkness, and makes the spectator wonder whether the flowers are living on water or actually drawing nutrients from the ashes within.

Tempter, bronze and rubber, 2016

And lastly is Tempter, “an over-sized adult rocking unicorn cast in bronze with metal chain stirrups.” This piece perfectly completes the show as fans of Wanders will recognize this as an interpretation from his solid wood rocking chair, Arion. Once again showing that Wanders is not just about “positivity, respect, love and trust” but instead is a true visionary and artist not afraid of going deep within his own personal emotions and connecting to a side that is not as mainstream as the work we normally associate with him.

“Marcel Wanders: Portraits” runs until April 9, 2016 at Friedman Benda.

Marcel Wanders headshot

Marcel Wanders is a product and interior designer who drew international recognition for his Knotted Chair produced by Droog Design in 1996. His work is ubiquitous; designing for leading international companies such as Flos, Alessi, Puma, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, MAC Cosmetics, Cappellini, B&B Italia, Moroso and Target. Wanders also designs for architectural projects, such as the Kameha Grand hotel in Bonn, the Mondrian South Beach hotel in Miami and the Villa Moda store in Bahrain. In addition to running his studio, Wanders is cofounder and Artistic Director of the successful design label Moooi (2001).

He exhibits widely and his work is included in such significant museum collections as MoMA New York, The Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, and the V&A Museum, London. Wanders has further published numerous books and is extensively profiled in the global media, appearing in such publications as the New York Times, Domus, The Financial Times and Wallpaper Magazine.

Find more details on the show at:

And on 1stdibs at: