Anton Bakker is a contemporary artist specializing in sculpture and its digital possibilities. He has been influenced by the people and experiences of his life in the Netherlands, France, and in the United States, where his artistic practice has been based for more than 30 years.
While growing up in the Netherlands, Bakker met mathematician and artist Dr. Jacobus “Koos” Verhoeff at the suggestion of his sister’s classmate. What began as a simple introduction over a shared interest in computer technology turned into a 40-year artistic collaboration. Koos was a professional acquaintance and informal advisor on mathematical matters to the famed M.C. Escher. As an expression of his gratitude, Escher gifted Koos one of his prints. It was through Koos that Bakker became influenced by Escher’s unprecedented approach to perspective.
As their relationship developed, Koos and Bakker began to explore computer-based methods to find intriguing and beautiful paths within cubic lattice structures and polyhedra. Cubic lattices form the basis of the most stable molecular forms of many elements.
In the 1980s, Bakker moved to the United States, and he and Koos had their first joint sculpture exhibition in Albany, New York. Subsequently, Bakker leveraged his growing knowledge of computer science to pursue a career in technology, landing a position that required relocating to Paris for much of the 1990s. While in Paris, Bakker resumed regular face-to-face work sessions with Koos. Together, they created multiple lattice-derived sculptures that were exhibited throughout Europe.
Meanwhile, Bakker was at the forefront of a new tech field, working with innovators in Belgium to explore the possibilities of 3D printing. Upon returning to the U.S. in 1997, he started a business centered on data analysis all the while maintaining his artistic practice. His solutions for practical design and construction problems opened new possibilities for connecting lattice points with curved and polylinear paths. By applying these techniques at both small and large scales in steel, bronze, and in virtual reality, Bakker has created unique sculptures that have been collected privately and publicly throughout the United States and Europe.
Bakker sold his tech business in 2018, shortly after the death of Koos, to devote himself to art full time. Today, he uses technology to compose paths in order to find those with a unique beauty that transforms as the viewer shifts their point of view. With the aid of a computer interface, Bakker searches vast lattice expanses to identify points that generate intriguing paths in a quest to challenge the limits of perception and perspective.
As a sculptor creating digital and physical forms, I strive to take the viewer on a journey of truth-discovery by asking them to engage with various perspectives. Using custom-built technology, I create paths by connecting points in space. The curved and polyline paths that I compose are not arbitrary, rather, they are patterns derived from nature’s archetypes.
The human attraction to symmetry extends deep into the unconscious realms of our minds.
Natural patterns and symmetries also play a key role in present-day technology. For 40 years, I have used technology both in my artistic explorations with my mentor, Koos, and in my business to analyze patterns. I now use technology solely to discover the beauty that hides in the minuscule yet vast world of atomic lattices.
One way that I explore perspectives is by constructing objects at vastly different scales and in multiple dimensions. The viewer’s relationship with my work changes whether they walk around a sculpture in a home, as part of an outdoor installation, or in a virtual landscape. My sculptures reveal dynamic symmetries that ask the viewer to reflect on the beauty and multiplicity of perspectives inherent in all things.