Synergia: Iris van Herpen joined forces with Photographer Carla van de Puttelaar

3 April - 23 May 2021



Three women, Iris van Herpen, Carla van de Puttelaar and Pien Rademakers join forces resulting in an exciting exhibition Synergia at Rademakers Gallery that splendidly combines various disciplines in art.


Lisa Small, Senior Curator, European Art at the Brooklyn Museum in New York, poignantly states in her introduction in the catalogue accompanying the exhibition: ‘This project, aptly named Synergia, brings together the evocative photographs of artist Carla van de Puttelaar and the innovative garments of fashion designer Iris van Herpen. It is a collaboration grounded in their shared fascination with the expressive possibilities of the clothed human body and the shapes, textures, and hues of the natural world. Van de Puttelaar’s photographs of van Herpen’s garments, and the designs themselves, also reveal a Baroque sensibility: intimations of movement and metamorphosis; spatial dynamism; and the spectacular use of light and saturated color on skin and fabric.’


Small continues emphasizing the connection of van de Puttelaar’s work with the compositions and techniques of historical European art, and the direct references to painters such as Rembrandt and Caravaggio, using natural light to create a bold contrast between light and shadow to increase the dramatic and sculptural feel of her images. Building up compositions by using fabrics and — as Small elaborates — to ‘complement and enclose the body, to activate and create rhythm across the visual field’. Iris van Herpen, as a fashion designer, is inevitably concerned with fabrics. Lisa Small aptly states that: ‘Her collections, which have been inspired by magnetic forces, sound waves, cosmology, different states of matter, cellular structures, and the infinite patterns of the natural world, conjure the invisible organic processes that shape the world. ’Van Herpen’s designs reflect the dynamism of Baroque art and ‘the experience of her immersive runway presentations is akin to that of a grand cathedral, where architecture, painting, sculpture, music, and light are brought together to intense spiritual effect. In van de Puttelaar’s Synergia photographs, a diverse cast of models enwrapped in van Herpen’s designs appear to materialize from a black void. They glisten like celestial bodies in a dark galaxy, or mysterious creatures from the ocean depths made momentarily luminous.’


Small concludes: ‘As image and object makers, Carla van de Puttelaar and Iris van Herpen are both attracted to the beauty, complexity, and symbolic potency of nature and the human body.’ By bringing these two brilliant artists together Pien Rademakers intuitively catches the zeitgeist. In these uncertain times, there is a great need for imagination and beauty, and in this exhibition everything comes together in a true synergy of creative forces.

The exhibition will run from 3 April until 15 May 2021, and shows photographs by Carla van de Puttelaar, which include designs by Iris van Herpen, supplemented by a selection of couture dresses by van Herpen.