BREEZE; The Force of Water

By Thessa Verwolf


By Ralph Waldo Emerson

The water understands

Civilization well;

It wets my foot, but prettily,

It chills my life, but wittily,

It is not disconcerted,

It is not broken-hearted:

Well used, it decketh joy,

Adorneth, doubleth joy:

Ill used, it will destroy,

In perfect time and measure

With a face of golden pleasure

Elegantly destroy.

Water is a neccessity, beautiful and plentiful and even poetic in its abundance, but disastrous in its absence. World Water Day on the 22nd of March is about actively tackling the water crisis. There are still over 663 million people living without having acces to a water supply close to home.

What this poem highlights as well is the inspirational force of water, its fluidity and its poetic power. Clearly, water has inspired many. Look at Guillermo del Toro’s film the Shape of Water and the current Harris Museum and Art Gallery exhibition Making Waves; Art inspired by the Sea, that focus on the destructiveness and beauty of water. The focus of this article is Jólan van der Wiel’s project with ISSEY MIYAKE. Van der Wiel’s is from the land of water, and dams. The Netherlands, a country below the sea levels has proven a enormous inspiration for him, as the force of water is something he deals with everyday, whether it is cycling over a dam or having a drink by the canal in Amsterdam.


Jólan van der Wiel

Van der Wiel is an upcoming artist that has alread worked with fashion designer Iris van Herpen and has won the Contest for Young Designers in Cologne with his Gravity Stool. This year ISSEY MIYAKE in Milan has invited van der Wiel to present Journey of a Raindrop: The strange attraction of water for the Salone del Mobile. He incorporates  natural processes in his design, for example, he makes furniture by using magnetism. This project consists of various installations showing the journey a raindrop makes, travelling through cities and battered by wind and cold.

Van der Wiel discusses the idea behind his art; “Rain brings fertility and abundance, but can just as well be a powerful force of destruction. Therefore mankind has had an ambivalent relationship with rain throughout its history. I let you travel along on the journey of a raindrop. In my innovative installations, science and uncanny beauty meet to create an experience of the many forms rain takes, to see the world through a drop of water”.

Other projects that include water are his watertower and waterbench. He asked himself, what would a tropic Amsterdam look like? He spent a lof of time at the Hortus Botanicus, which he found a calming experience, surrounded by bright colours and oppressive heat, raindrops trickling down. He pictured the thick layers of vegetation in a jungle streaming down buildings and objects. He is trying to incorporate nature into architectural design, “like the Maya’s used to build piramides while considering the angle of the sun”. His Water Vases are another example of how the fluidity of water can be used to make rather simple objects look alive and flowing with force.

Van der Wiel’s installations can be admired from April 9 until April 14 in Milan.

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