Marcel Wanders

Marcel Wanders was born in Boxtel, Netherlands in 1963. He graduated in 1988 from the Institute of the Arts Arnhem and started producing soon after. Major part of his career he has been focusing on interior and industrial projects. One of his signature works include the Knotted Chair, produced by the Dutch design brand Droog, in 1996.

He has a studio in Westerhuis, Amsterdam. He has been working with brand names across the world, including B&B Italia, Bisazza, Cappellini, Droog and Mooi. He is also the art director and co-owner of the latter. Some of his later projects include Lute Suites, the first ‘all over city suites’, hotel situated in the vicinity of Amsterdam. His interior design projects also involve restaurant interiors. His talent and works have been recognised in a variety of ways. The knotted Chair has been acquired as part of the permanent collection of MoMA. Parts of his collections are exhibited in V&A Museum in London, Museum of Decorative Arts in Copenhagen. His works have been covered by many international editions and he has been used as a juror for various design prizes, such as the Rotterdam Design Prize. In 2008 he was also named ‘Master of Design’ by Fast Company, magazine dedicated to successful entrepreneurs.

Wolfgang Tillmans

Initially known for his sometimes random and sometimes staged portraits of friends and young people, specifically in club scene, Tilmans has gone on to expand his oeuvre of work and became the first  non-English artist to be awarded the Turner Prize (2000). Tilman’s body of work is highly varied, both in terms of the experimental aspect of photography practice and presentation and in the variety of media he has worked with. His work is often highly abstracted and uses techniques such as photocopying, combining with other media and chemical manipulation in the darkroom to create his works, which are often shown as parts of larger installations. His significant body of work includes the Concorde Grid, multiple series of abstractions, the installation Truth Study Centre and series involving photocopiers, such as the Approachi series.

Oscar Niemeyer

Oscar Ribeiro de Almeida Niemeyer Soares Filho was born in 1907 in Rio de Janeiro. The base of his work is revolving around exploring reinforced concrete for its aesthetic impact. His buildings are spacious, relying on empty space and volumes. With his volume of work and immense international recognition, he is considered one of the fathers of modern architecture.

He studied in the Escola de Belas Artes from which he graduated as an engineer architect in 1934. His first commissioned work came in 1936 when he worked on the new headquarters of the Ministry of Education and Public Health. It was the first state-sponsored modernist sky-scraper in the world, a symbol of Brazilian modernism. Other significant projects on which he worked include the Pampulha project, headquarters of the UN in New York, Sao Paolo’s Ibirapuera Park and many others. He later on moved to Europe, Paris where he began designing furniture produced by Mobilier International. His talent as an architect has been recognized with numerous awards including the Pritzker Architecture Prize, the most prestigious award in architecture which he received in 1988. In 2010 he opened a museum of his work and he has also established a foundation outside Rio de Janeiro. 

Sally Mann

Sally Mann is an American photographer best known for her portraits of her children and for landscapes that reference death and decay. Born in Lexington, Virginia Mann began taking photographs using her father’s 5×7 camera when she was attending the Putney School in 1969. In her early career she took photographs for Washington and Lee University, which led to a first solo exhibition 1977 at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. A second series, At Twelve: Portraits of Young Women attracted controversy and interest, but it was her third series Immediate Family, which has garnered the most critical attention for this artist. This series is comprised of 65 black and white images of her children, all under the age of 10, and touch of themes of typical childhood activity, as well as broader and darker themes such as insecurity and death. Mann has been criticized both in the US and abroad for a perceived pornographic element of her work, as it includes nude images of the young children. Mann argued that the images were seen through the eyes of a mother, a response that critics agreed with. In her later career Mann has continued to use her original 8×10 camera, as well as a wet plate collodion 8×10 glass negatives technique. Subjects of her later series have included landscape, decomposition and her husband’s muscular dystrophy. 

Erwin Olaf

A widely exhibited photographer, Olaf studied journalism before pursuing a career in photography, first in black and white images and then using colour and computer manipulation. His other series are widely varied in subject and include Mature, images of elderly woman in supermodel poses, Royal Blood, white-on-white portraits to rulers who met violent ends, and Separation, a series depicting a cold and disconnected family in a sterile setting. His work is often provocative and his series that frank nude portraiture and staged violence have garnered controversy, but led to highly successful commercial opportunities. He is best known commercially for his work in advertising campaigns for companies such as, Nokia, Levi’s, Lavazza and Microsoft. Olaf has also worked in film, with works being included in and awarded prizes at international film festivals.

Joep Van Lieshout

Atelier Van Lieshout (AVL) operates internationally in the field of design, architecture and contemporary art. It was founded in 1995 by Joep Van Lieshout (born in 1963 in the Netherlands), but it is a creative space where a number of artists work together.

The style of the atelier is described as practical, uncomplicated and the scope of its work ranges from sculpture to complete architectural refurbishment solutions. It often uses large polyester constructions in bright colours which are proclaimed to be the signature design solution for the atelier. Recently the designers do not focus so much on ready-to-go solutions but rather on unique works of art, characterising an independent and self-fulfilling lifestyle. The design and architecture studio is also involved in the production of many independent art projects.

Robert Polidori

Robert Polidori began his career as an avant-garde filmmaker, but moved to still photography after having completed his M.A. from the State University of New York. There is an emphasis on architectural studies in his works and these highly detailed and evocative images are often shot from an aerial perspective, reminiscent of the Renaissance use of perspective. He is a regular staff photographer with the New Yorker magazine and his work has also appeared in other publications, such as Vanity Fair. Polidori has received international awards for his photography. A recent series of images taken in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina generated controversy first for an image depicting a victim in their bed, and also when images from the series appeared in an online advertising campaign in Brazil.

Humberto and Fernando Campana

Humberto and Fernando Campana are famous Brazilian designers born in the 1953 and 1961 respectively. Neither brother intended to be a designer. Humberto initially studied law, and only started to design furniture 30 years later, after his brother, Fernando, has already completed his architectural degree.

They started creating around 1983, and their style is characterized by the use of ordinary and neglected materials such as cardboard, fabric, rope, wood scraps and sometimes aluminium wire in combination with advanced technologies. They draw inspiration from the street life and carnival culture so significant for Brazil. They gained acclaim also through the controversy their work conveys. Transforming something poor into something rather decadent and luxurious is the main goal of their work. Critics believe that this process of transformation has given a new perspective to contemporary design which previously was thought to be dominated by rationalist European ideas. Their new aesthetic, heavily based on experimentation and technology gives them the ability to exploit the spirit of their inherited tradition. Evidence of the global recognition came in the late 90s, when MoMA exhibited their art, making them the first Brazilian artists to have this honour.

Jeroen Verhoeven

Jeroen Verhoeven was born in 1976 in the Netherlands. He graduated from Eindhoven design academy in 2004 along with his twin brother and a fellow colleague, with whom they cofounded Demakersvan design house in 2005.

His work is said to combine function and form in a mystical way. He manages to turn functional mundane objects into beauty pieces. He is famous for using contemporary software to create his works of art. His most famous piece, the Cinderella table, he created by translating a sketch of an 18th century commode and a console, to create two digital drawings and from where on he created a third representation and eventually a unique piece of furniture. The name of the table is derived from the way it was produced: something old is transformed into something entirely new that is just breathtaking. His works have been exhibited internationally. Most recent exhibitions include Victoria and Albert museum in London (2009). A Cinderella example is in MoMA’s permanent collection. The acclaimed design house has also representation in Centre Pompidou. On the commercial side, it has also signed contracts with giants such as Swarovski and Nike.

Philip-Lorca Dicorcia

Born in 1951 in Hartford, Connecticut, DiCorcia studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and completed an M.A. in Photography from Yale University, where he currently teaches. DiCorcia is well known for both his snapshots and highly staged portraits, which attempt to subvert the banality of the image and inspire the viewer to consider the emotions captured in the image. His staged images reference documentary photography, but also include elements of theatricality and advertising. In his early staged images, he would photograph family and friends so as to make the viewer think the images were spontaneous. The subjects of his later works were often random people, but elements of the setting, such as hidden lights, would be carefully planned and would often lead to an emphasis on a particular expression or unintentional action taking place in the image. Dicorcia’s work has been recognized by several awards and fellowships.