The creative endeavours of the multi-dexterous designer Marcel Wanders have long been heralded since he debuted his iconic 1996 'Knotted Chair' – a cunning twist of whimsy. In celebration of his radical style, Friedman Benda is hosting ‘Portraits’, Wanders’ first ever solo gallery show in New York.

‘Over the past ten years, Marcel has built a personal body of work parallel to his industrial design and architectural work,’ says Marc Benda, who has supported the Dutch designer’s career for a decade. ‘"Portraits" is unexpectedly personal, intimate and immersive,’ he continues. 

‘What I've done is try to create the ultimate combination of traditional crafts and technology, but with the goal of expressing a more intimate and fragile side of myself,’ says Wanders. ‘My personal duality is on display as I want both to shine, but also to reflect what is real as to darkness and brokenness. At times, I express vulnerability, disappointment, disillusion and shame.’

‘Shiqule Nuhai’, two monumental vases, reference Wander’s extensive collection of Delft jewellery. Only, rather than glazing them in traditional blue, Wanders hand-painted the pattern in black to reflect his darker sensibilities. Also on view are three mirrors dubbed ‘Dysmorphophobia 1, 2 and 3’, each edged in craggy stainless steel. ‘Mirrors do to truth what bias does to knowledge,’ he notes.

As one might expect, Wanders’ sculptural works also venture into the quixotic. ‘Tempter’ is a solid bronze rocking unicorn, complete with metal chain stirrups at close to six feet high. The result is as fantastical – and evocative – as ever.