Carpenters Workshop Gallery are exhibiting Maarten Baas’ Play Time, Maarten Baas’s first solo exhibition in Los Angeles. Play Time will be held at the gallery’s Los Angeles location, opening during Frieze LA on February 14th, 2023.
In the manner of a retrospective, Play Time combines artworks from several of Maarten Baas’ acclaimed collections, including Real Time, Clay, and Close Parity. Across these many series, Baas has consistently sought to reverse the natural flow of time and rekindle the wonder of childhood within an adult environment. This magical element is expressed through artworks centered around playfulness and purposely naïve shapes, resulting in a childlike signature style that has made his art instantly
recognizable and iconic.
It is clear, however, that the childlike innocence and honesty that his artworks express does not hide their technical complexities. Baas displays a masterful use of metal, ceramic, and videography throughout his work, and is able to convey concepts with singular clarity.
It comes naturally to the artist to assume performative characters throughout his work. In Play Time the artist becomes Peter Pan, signifying his life-long balancing act between growing up and remaining a child. Grandfather Clock – The Son is a rudimentary take on the classic grandfather clock design, constructed from planks of wood in the manner of a treehouse. The digital clock face shows Baas as a child inside the clock, updating the hands minute by minute in bright paints to maintain the artwork as a
In contrast, in The Artist we see Baas as an adult, his full body visible behind a much larger, modern, and mature clock face. With a bare upper body and some paint, he seems to play a role as a typical artist in his atelier. The question remains as to whether he is in control of time itself, or if Time is controlling him.
Baas’ 720 Minutes Clock takes his childlike instincts a step further, as for this series he asked children to draw the hands of a clock. During an intense project involving 720 children, this extraordinary work was created. In total, 720 unique drawings are used to indicate the time across 720 minutes (12 hours), the summation of months of preparation, filming and editing. The housing of these latest additions to Baas’ Real Time series is made as a continuation of the artist’s iconic Clay collection, in a limited edition of 100
pieces, each in a unique color. Throughout his Real Time series, we see Baas simultaneously keeping time moving relentlessly forward, minute by minute, while at the same time regressing his characters through earlier and earlier stages of his life.
Also included in Play Time, are several large bronze pieces from Baas’ Close Parity collection, which are a monumental ode to childlike illogical shapes. According to Baas, nothing is more fun than drawing the impossible, especially as in a 2-dimensional world he can operate without constraints such as gravity.
The artist used spontaneous sketches to inform the final shape of the Close Parity artworks; top-heavy, asymmetrical, cabinets that do not tip over but instead seem to effortlessly defy gravity. The apparently uncomplicated pieces of furniture are in reality a kind of balancing act of different extremes, executed with humorous simplicity and characteristic flatness.
Maarten Baas, Play Time, February 14th – May 26th, Los Angeles | 7070 Santa Monica Blvd, CA 90038, Carpenters Workshop Gallery
About the artist
Maarten Baas (1978) is a Dutch designer, who graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven in 2002. His studio is based in ‘s-Hertogenbosch (NL).
Baas is considered one of the most influential artist designers of the early twenty-first century. His works straddle boundaries between art and design. He occupies a unique position in the field, embodying conceptual art, craftsmanship, installation, public space and performance into his oeuvre. He’s known for his rebellious, intellectual, theatrical and artistic style. Baas’ most renowned works are Smoke, Clay and Real Time, that gave him instant worldwide recognition. In 2009, he was named ‘Designer of the Year’ at Design Basel/ Miami. In 2012, the New York Times listed both Smoke and Clay in its ‘Top 25 Design Classics of the Future’. In 2016, Baas won the Artprize for his Real Time Sweeper’s clock.
His work is found in numerous private and major museum collections, such as MOMA New York, Victoria & Albert Museum London, Les Arts Décoratifs Paris, San Francisco MOMA and Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. Furthermore, he has worked for exclusive brands like Louis Vuitton, Swarovski, Dior, Dom Ruinart and Berluti.
In 2017, his first major museum show was opened at the Groninger Museum (NL), coinciding with the publication of his monograph, both titled ‘Hide & Seek’.