Alternative Perspectives: The Math-Inspired Sculpture Of Anton Bakker

opus 951465 photo by gail worley
Opus 951465 (2021): Painted Steel, Knotted Polylinear Cubic Lattice Path (All Photos By Gail)

The National Museum of Mathematics (aka MoMath) might not be a venue where one would expect to also find an art gallery, but they have one: and in the case of sculptor Anton Bakker, the venue is ideally suited.

opus 951465 photo by gail worley
Opus 951465 Digital Rendering

Bakker is a contemporary artist specializing in sculpture and its digital possibilities. He has been influenced by his life experiences in the Netherlands, France and now the US, where his artist practice has been based for more than ten years. Mo Math’s Composite Gallery is currently hosting Alternative Perspectives, an exciting exhibit of Bakker’s work — including several monumental pieces — that is complemented by the inclusion of nine rare works by the artist’s biggest influence, the legendary MC Escher.

opus 951465 detail photo by gail worley
Opus 951465 Detail

When I was in College, I had  a close friend who was sort of a “Boy Genius” physics major. Knowing my love of contemporary art,  he would take me to the lab and work out complex math problems on the computer so that the solution would create what my non-math brain would describe as a Spirograph design on the screen — which never failed to bring me great delight.  It was his way of flirting with me.  While looking at Bakker’s sculptures during the exhibit’s opening reception, I was reminded very fondly of this particular friend, and how he showed me that Math is Art.

opus 185131 photo by gail worley
Opus 185131: Patinated Bronze, Knotted Spirals in Cubic Lattice

In Alternative Perspectives, Bakker takes the viewer on a journey into a world of mathematical beauty with an added twist: a change in perspective seems to alter the very reality of the object before you.

opus 125707 photo by gail worley
Opus 125707: Patinated Bronze, Polylinear Optical Illusion in Cubic Lattice

Anton’s sculptures — executed in steel, bronze, or as digital interactives — fix points in space that, as the eye connects with them, reveal harmonious alignments as three-dimensional paths. Lines, curves, knots, spirals, Möbius strips, optical illusions, and fractals — all are explored in this highly engaging show.

mc escher cubic space division with bakker sculpture detail photo by gail worley
MC Escher’s Cubic Space Division (Wall) with Bakker Sculpture Detail (Foreground)

Here’s where the Escher connection comes in. While growing up in the Netherlands, Bakker met mathematician and artist Dr. Jacobus “Koos” Verhoeff. The two found that they shared an interest in computer technology, which lead to a 40-year artistic collaboration. Verhoeff was a professional acquaintance and mathematical advisor to MC Escher, who, in gratitude, gifted him with one of his prints. It was through this introduction to Escher’s work by Koos that Bakker was turned on to Escher’s unprecedented approach to perspective.

opus 98001 photo by gail worley
Opus 98001: Patinated Bronze, Curved Path in Cubic Lattice

Anton Bakker’s Alternative Perspectives is an art exhibit whose works are not only beautiful to the eye, but also engaging to the brain. It does not get much better than that.

MoMath is Located as 11 East 26th Street, Between Madison and Broadway, in Manhattan, and is Open 7 days a week 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM. Phone 212-542-0566 or email info@momath.org For More Information.

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