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Erik Kessels

Erik Kessels is a Dutch artist, designer, curator and lecturer with great interest in photography. Since 1996 he is creative partner of KesselsKramer, a communications agency in Amsterdam and works for national and international clients such as Nike, Diesel, J&B Whisky, Oxfam, Vitra and Citizen M. 

As an artist and curator Kessels has published over 70 books of his ‘re-appropriated’ images.

Glue Amsterdam

For the 2022 edition of GLUE, visitors are welcome to step into artist Erik Kessels’ mysterious mind; he created a total experience, a one-off live performance and a (simplistic) conceptual whole to be admired. Inspired by Kessels’ book A Pictorial History of the Empty Chair, Hans Lensvelt embraced the idea and brought it to life by producing and developing the chair and offering it as a package: Buy the book get the chair.

"EMPTY CHAIR is a work that deals with the subject of absence. Looking at an empty chair makes us wonder who could sit or who might be sitting there. Not knowing or seeing this makes us more curious and makes it more exciting. Will the empty chair be able to carry the weight and who will be its new companion? Will we ever know?” - Erik Kessels

The book EMPTY CHAIR is made by Erik Kessels in collaboration with Karel De Mulder.


 

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The collaboration

One wintry evening, Hans Lensvelt's good friend Erik Kessels dropped by at the Lensvelt HQ carrying a mock-up of a new book. Kessels had assembled a selection of photos with a random empty chair from his immense collection of photos, collected at markets around the world.

Because all the chairs in the pictures are on the right side of the photo, it gives a kind of comic and reinforcing effect to the visual story. The photos are placed in chronological order so that it also becomes a journey through time where the reader is taken into the ambience and furniture design starting from the early 20th century to the present. This collection of 160 photos presents a unique and rich history of furniture design through the years.

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 Erik Kessels & Hans Lensvelt

Erik Kessels & Hans Lensvelt

Empty Chair_ produced by Lensvelt

Empty Chair_ produced by Lensvelt

 Empty Chair book

Empty Chair book

 Lensvelt booklet

Lensvelt booklet

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The Empty Chair

CEO Hans Lensvelt was instantly charmed by the original booklet and decided to publish it. At the same time he thought it would be very fitting to produce a real Empty Chair. He immediately contacted his R&D manager Rick Minkes who was working on location with one of the manufacturers at the time and promptly had a prototype made.

Lensvelt presents the Empty Chair during design route Glue Amsterdam, at the Lensvelt Gallery. The chair is offered as a package with the original book A Pictorial History of the Empty Chair. 'Buy the book and get the chair'.

Kessels produced a brochure for Lensvelt with several unique photos of the Empty Chair photographed by Bert Teunissen.

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  A spread from the Empty Chair booklet which Kessels produced with photographer Bert Teunissen

A spread from the Empty Chair booklet which Kessels produced with photographer Bert Teunissen

 Unpublished images for the Empty Chair booklet by Kessels and photographer Bert Teunissen

Unpublished images for the Empty Chair booklet by Kessels and photographer Bert Teunissen

 Image of the Empty Chair which appears on the cover of the Lensvelt brochure

Image of the Empty Chair which appears on the cover of the Lensvelt brochure

 A picture for the Lensvelt booklet, by  photographer Bert Teunissen

A picture for the Lensvelt booklet, by photographer Bert Teunissen