Benno Premsela Present at Gallery Binnen, Amsterdam (1998)

R. J. Preece
artdesigncafé - design | 15 September 2009
This review first appeared in World Sculpture News, 4(3), page 48 in 1998.

Benno Premsela Present at Gallery Binnen

Timed to coincide with the 1998 Gay Games this exhibition, which featured work by some 40 designers, used the work of Benno Premsela as a point of reference. Premsela, who dies last year at 76, was one of the leading figures in 20th century Dutch design, and an active member of the gay and lesbian society who actively and publicly campaigned for emancipation and tolerance.

The diverse work included lamps, chairs, glassware, jewelry, objects, fashion and other product. Christophe Seyferth offered an innovative vertical book display in aluminum, encouraging the positioning of books as hanging prints and a new format for appreciating book design—its reproductions, layouts, and typography. It also allows consumers to experiment with their book selection, unlike standard prints or artwork.

Ceramicist Babs Haenen who fondly recalls her close friendship with Premsela, made a sculptural porcelain piece entitled Expanding Space (1998), seen as a kind of special memorial. Blue and white referred to Dutch and to water, pink to Premsela’s favorite color and the design makes reference to fabrics by Premsela.

Offering jewelry, Dick van Hoff’s two aluminum rings (1998) recall the shape of a diamond ring and a signet ring. Made by the process of extrusion, van Hoff refers to Premsela’s call for simplicity and low production costs, and that its sculptural presence plays embryonic against finished form.

For vases, Beppe Kesler showed part-functional, part-sculptural objects, with her reference to whiskey bottles and interest in texture. Eduard Herman’s vase Zoen (1998) was sculptural beauty turned playfully surrealistic with the addition of flowers.

In the context of the Gay Games, the exhibition refers to Benno Premsela’s sexual orientation as a step to focus on the ideas surrounding his work. Gallery Binnen, begun in 1983, specializes in design and has presented Dutch and international designers such as Philippe Starck and Ettore Sottsass, “who are selected for the singularity of their design mentality.”