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Christophe Coppens opened at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

On 9 March an exhibition of new work by Christophe Coppens opened at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen.

Christophe Coppens (Belgium, 1969) was active for twenty-one years as a designer of accessories, both for his own label and for other designers. On 5 May 2012 he decided to close his business and cease all activities in the fashion world in order to focus on making art. The new work that Coppens is showing here was commissioned by ‘Han Nefkens Fashion on the Edge’. This is their second collaboration; in 2008 Coppens received the ‘Han Nefkens Fashion Award’. This prize is awarded every two years to designers who work on the border between fashion and art. A border that Christophe Coppens has now overstepped. He lives and works in Los Angeles.

Flashback 1 - March 2012
Coppens: “At the flea market close to my former studio, I found a strange Italian mirror edged with small tarot cards. It was as if you could see the future deep in that mirror.”

Flashback 2 - May 2012
Coppens: “I have always wanted to make ceramics. Not the way I used to work: giving my drawings to a specialist and waiting for the result. No truly making things, with my own hands. But I also thought: the day I enrol for some course or other, it will detract from my ‘real’ work: making collections. A kind of superstitious belief: ‘if you begin on a second scenario, the first will fade away.’ By mid-April the desire had become too great and I went in search of a master ceramicist. Mister Hugo Meert was willing to supervise me once a week. I had my first lesson on the last Monday of April. Intuitively I made a mountain. It was my first mountain. The following weekend I decided to close my business and file for bankruptcy. On Friday 4 May the bankruptcy was confirmed and on the Saturday the news was in all the Belgian papers. On Monday 7 May I made my second mountain with Mr Meert. The rest of the week I lay on the sofa staring into space. Until I made my next mountain the following week. I felt safe behind that mountain and everyone left me in peace, including Mr Meert. In the meantime I began to cut up my clothes. Nothing suited me. It was all part of who I used to be. Then I got rid of my household effects and eventually my entire archive. Everything had to go. No memory was important now.”

Flashback 3 - August 2012
Coppens: “After making mountains for thee months, I saw Los Angeles for the first time. I had never imagined there were so many mountains here and that the sunlight had so many colours. In December I made my last mountain and left.”

Han Nefkens Fashion on the Edge
Han Nefkens Fashion on the Edge, an initiative of Han Nefkens and José Teunissen in partnership with Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, focuses on the boundary between fashion and art. Since its establishment in 2006, Han Nefkens Fashion on the Edge has invested in the development of dresses and installations by Viktor & Rolf, Hussein Chalayan and many others. As part of the Han Nefkens Collection, these pieces are on long-term loan to Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen.

Design in Boijmans
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is foremost among Dutch museums in offering a podium to international design talent. Special exhibitions are organised as part of the programme ‘Design in Boijmans’. In the spring of 2013 the museum is focusing on handcrafted objects with the major exhibition Hand Made: Long Live Crafts. Design Columns is a series of exhibitions about current issues in the world of design. The museum has also recently unveiled its new displays of the permanent collection of design and decorative arts. In 2014 the museum will present the follow-up to the successful 2009 exhibition ‘The Art of Fashion’, organised in partnership with Han Nefkens Fashion on the Edge.