WOWdesign:

Marloes ten Bhömer

Exhibition Fact Sheet

Checklist (click for images)

We live in an environment that is hyper-conscious of design. Target stores bring major fashion labels to the masses, IKEA-brand furniture makes the designer dream kitchen a reality for anyone, cable television abounds with design how-to shows, and newsstands spill over with specialty design periodicals and DIY tracts. While this atmosphere is certainly exciting, the crowded marketplace makes the work of truly inspired and innovative designers even more difficult to recognize. As consumers and viewers, we are too rarely WOWed.

This series of exhibitions seeks out that WOW factor. Each featured designer creates remarkable products through a transparent design process inspired by everyday visual icons, and pushes the quintessential into uncharted territory. The first exhibition in the series highlights London-based Dutch designer Marloes ten Bhömer and her bold re-imagining of the shoe. In her work, a functional object becomes wearable sculpture, altering our understanding and challenging our assumptions about a ubiquitous accessory that fills so many closets.

This exhibition grants the viewer access to Marloes ten Bhömer's studio practice in an "after hours" format, as if she had left various projects at her workplace at the end of the day. The glimpse reveals her ideas and methods, the intense thought and customization that goes into every object. By featuring the process behind her rotationalmoldedshoe, specifically, visitors to the exhibition are able to follow the original inspiration through every step of development, to the finished product, including the necessary experimentation and inevitable missteps along the way. Ten Bhömer designed the exhibition as an installation and the exhibition furniture will travel with the show.

What most vividly sets apart her designs is her uncanny ability to merge the latest technologies with haute couture fabrication, resulting in objects that are entirely handmade without bearing a trace of conventional shoemaking elements. To illustrate this unique working method, a rotational molding machine, developed in collaboration with a mechanical engineer, is featured in the show. This pioneering method of shoemaking begins with a liquid rubber material that is slowly rotated within a mold until the resulting form emerges as a hollow shoe. This incorporation of technology in such an unexpected way stands in stark contrast to the purely handmade process behind the beigefoldedshoe. Photographs of each stage in the development of this design are on display. This transparent design process as exhibition is both a perfect tool for design students and a fascinating experience for everyone.


Organizer: 

Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Curators:

c2, a curatorial collaboration between Ginger Gregg Duggan and Judith Hoos Fox develops exhibitions of international, cross media contemporary art that explore current issues in culture and design. Together they have organized OVER + OVER: A Passion for Process, Branded and On Display; FACADES; and BLOWN AWAY. (Catalogs available upon request.)

Contents:

Prototypes, rotational mold machine, works in process, photographs, exhibition furniture

Space requirements:

1,500 square feet variable

Brochure:

Statements by the curators and design critics and theorists Ed van Hinte, Lightness Studios, The Hague; David Ian Weightman, Professor of Industrial Design, University of Illinois; and Linda Scott, Professor of Marketing, Said Business School, Oxford University

Accompanying materials:

Wall text and extended labels will be provided electronically.

Costs:

Loan fee of $7,000 for a 10-week booking, or two exhibitions in the series for $12,000, plus pro-rated shipping.

Schedule:

Krannert Art Museum and Kinkead Pavilion
January 30 to May 31, 2009

Available for travel thereafter

Contact:  
Kathleen Harleman, Director
217.244.6481, harleman(at)illinois.edu

Click Checklist for images online.