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Jean-Baptiste Van den Heede

Jean-Baptiste Van den Heede is a minimalist sculptor, furniture designer, and painter who has exhibited extensively in Spain, particularly Madrid, and has had work in a couple of shows in Brussels, Belgium. He has participated in notable art fairs such as ARTIST 360 Contemporary Art Fair and the Madrid Design Festival. His work has been featured on collections on Saatchi Art where he maintains a well-kept and organized profile of his studio practice. For the purposes of the article, we will be focusing on Jean’s sculptures and contemporary furniture. 

Jean’s sculptures and furniture designs reflect direct or indirect influence by wabi-sabi, the minimalist Japanese philosophy of imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete qualities. The art often portrays angular yet symmetrical compositions. Sometimes containing crude marks or raw elements while other times encasing unbounded refinement and balance, Jean’s three-dimensional works represent a sense of visual and compositional maturity which respects form as an essential element of image-making. 

VOL (top of article) represents a bench made out of kilned wood with a natural patterned finish with a flat sheet of stainless steel strapped onto the surface with a tightened center band of rough twine. The sheer unfamiliarity of a stainless steel bench, let alone a sheet of steel which could potentially cut a person’s legs if sat upon incorrectly, remains conceptual in a sense for which the bench remains more for aesthetic pleasure rather than functional purpose. As a minimalist work of art VOL encapsulates both contemporary and ancient design elements with a hands-free finish and containing just three aspects from the carefully assembled wood, the sheet of steel, and the aesthetically pleasing folds of twine holding the structure together. Speaking of structure, VOL represents angular form as a preference for balance and veneer. 

TORI (pictured above) represents two pieces of furniture each carved out from a single piece of wood. Coming across as between a bathroom rest area and cabinetry, the top piece portrays what appears to be a wooden frame with draped finish as if almost like a minimalistic medicine cabinet. More aesthetically pleasing than functional, the wall table leaves little space to hold objects and almost serves as a barely practical work of sculpture. With Jean’s signature angular presence, TORI presents an advanced take on minimalist approaches to interior design.

With a sense of grit yet containing clear elegance of pure form and break down of structure, Jean-Baptiste Van den Heede gives three-dimensional art a deeper purpose. He creates furniture which defies the label of simple craft and crosses over into the realm of fine art and creates sculptures which apply purity and a stimulating sense of angularity reminiscent of an attractive Mercedes. Jean bends the rules of contemporary design helping to forge new meanings towards interpretations and relationships of form and negative space.


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