Museum Jan van der Togt 2013

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Exhibition 5th September 2013 “Tomas Hillebrand in Japan”, Museum Jan van der Togt, Amstelveen

Each year the Van Vlissingen Art Foundation supports a talented contemporary artist deserving of more attention. The foundation was established by John and Marine Fentener van Vlissingen, who are also the founders of BCD Holdings, one of the world’s largest travel companies.

Part of the support being provided for 2013 has been granted to Tomas Hillebrand (born 1977) who makes autonomous sculptures in glass. Not in glass alone however, as Hillebrand’s bulbous glass figures, which are reminiscent of snowballs, are often placed on bases made from other materials. The works constitute imaginary worlds, miniature biotopes, water-filled spheres whose bottoms are reflected and in which the viewer can observe the contours of a landscape.

Tomas Hillebrand strives in his work for a contemporary interpretation of 19th century Romantic art. The relationship between the inconsequential individual and nature holds a persistent fascination for the artist.


While travelling in Japan in September 2012, Hillebrand recorded the awesome forces of nature, in collaboration with Japanese photographer Atsushi Okuyama.Another of the trip’s objectives was to study how Japanese lacquer work (urushi) is produced. Urushi is a traditional craftsmanship considered as the most difficult in the world. Hillebrand gained knowledge of production methods by experiencing the extractingproces of raw materials from the urushi tree and meeting lacquer work master Mr. Tetsuo Gido who executed laquerwork for several sculptures.

A book about Tomas Hillebrand’s experiences in Japan, written by Marcel Brouwer at the commission of the Van Vlissingen Art Foundation, is also being published. This publication, which includes plates of Hillebrand’s work, images from the creative process and a photographic travelogue by Atsushi Okuyama, will appear as part of the Inspiration series.

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Photography by: Erik & Petra Hesmerg

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