Gerrit van Bakel

"Technology evolves so quickly that no harmony, no adaptation to new facts, may take place" Gerrit van Bakel said in 1980. In many of his constructions he refers to this view on 'harmony'. Sometimes a work of art is a satire to consumerism, and sometimes it reflects his view that man himself must come to grips with his world. Van Bakel (1943 - 1984) studies at the academy of arts at Den Bosch, but leaves this school prematurely in order to make a real contribution to 'reformulating the world'.  


Van Bakel is convinced of the influence of daily utensils on human beings. In the 1960s he reshapes his living environment based on the needs of the user. He builds dozens of furniture items and mural objects. This includes a system of blinds: at high temperatures the panels in cool colours (blue) turn toward the residents, al low temperatures the panels in warm colours (red and yellow) do so. The panels turn automatically. Pipes contain oil that expands or contracts as temperatures vary from day to night, which Van Bakel calls the 'day and night rhythm'. This rhythm sets the mechanism in motion.

Van Bakel applies this principle to countless works of art from the 1970s onwards, also to two works acquired by TU/e: the 'Tarim Machine' (1979 - 1982) and the 'Voorlopige Regenboogmachine' ('Provisional Rainbow Machine', 1981).

Even though Van Bakel's creations do not actually produce anything, they are indeed machines. Van Bakel: "They don't bring forth products. They bring forth consciousness. In that sense my objects certainly are machines."

See also:
Provisional Rainbow Machine (1981)
Tarim Machine (1979-1982)

Links about Gerrit Van Bakel

The historical image bank TU/e in the Picture includes a documentary film about life and work of Gerrit van Bakel. In the search bar of the image bank enter the terms Bakel and Film.