1967 - 2017 | 516 - 518

Rejuvenation is in the air, the lethargic, bourgeois and slightly stuffy years since Liberation in 1945 are giving way to youthful élan. The Sixties. The yoke of the past is being shaken off; socially, politically, artistically and educationally. The universe is being explored, the race to the moon is launched. A young, post-war generation is reaching adulthood, the establishment is being challenged, the barricades are being breached. Paris experiences turbulent student riots and in Amsterdam the Maagdenhuis university building is occupied. ZERO, NUL and Minimalism supplant traditional painting.

 It is in 1967 - fifty years ago now - that the young pair of designers Gijs Bakker (1942) and Emmy van Leersum (1930-1984) put on their sensational fashion show at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. To the accompaniment of electronic music the audience is introduced to avant-garde designs, made of plastic, aluminium and other decidedly unconventional and anything but traditional materials. The - now iconic - stovepipe necklace (now in the Rijksmuseum collection) is sensational and provocative and thereby completely satisfies the artists' intentions. (The 2014 exhibition “De Show van Gijs en Emmy” in the Stedelijk Museum was based on this historic fashion show).
Today, in 2017, Gijs Bakker's progressive, sometimes provocative creativity remains vibrant and relevant to our times.
This is the Gijs Bakker we know, our neighbour. We live beside each other on the Keizersgracht. Where Cora de Vries ran her Collection d’Art for many years at 516, the legendary Benno Premsela lived and worked next door at 518.

So it is logical and natural, but at the same time special and delightful that for his 75th birthday Gijs Bakker is to show a number of his recent works at BorzoGallery.

Paul van Rosmalen
Amsterdam, January 2017


article on Digeno: https://www.disegnodaily.com/article/created-equal-gijs-bakker-s-black-to-white