Maria Blaisse: The Emergence of Form

Parallels Between Design and Mathematics
Maria Blaisse
Born and lives in Amsterdam
For the past 30 years Maria Blaisse has been at the forefront of research and education in textiles and flexible design.
Using contemporary materials and processes, such as neoprene rubber, foam polyamides, vacuum moulding and lamination, Blaisse creates non-woven forms for the body that are poetic and deceptively simple. Her collaborations with designers such as Issey Miyake and costume designs for theatre and dance companies have resulted in the creation of objects which not only change the appearance of the wearer, but adapt to the movements of the human body, while retaining a sculptural life of their own.
Blaisse’s interests lay in the intersections between art and fashion, incorporating video, performance and photography, in an exploration of sculptural performance with the body as a critical element in the animation of material form.
In preparation for Inner Tube, Maria Blaisse spoke with the mathematical logician Henk Barendregt. What happens if you turn an inner tube inside out through its valve? How do you change its round shape to a seaweed-like structure? What makes an inner tube different from a sphere?
The inner tube’s shape is an object of research for mathematics, too.
“Mathematics is about the infinite possibilities of human thought,” Barendregt says, “and that infinity only takes on meaning when you limit yourself. Creativity requires dogmas – basic assumptions we can examine, intuitively and systematically. The way Maria Blaisse has been working with inner tubes for twenty years is an example of this.”


“Form forms forms.
Embedded in the material, the form reveals itself.
To experience the freedom of not giving a name to things.
To see what emerges from one form.

Inciting the flow of continuous creation.
No waste, no loss of energy, alert and alive.”

Maria Blaisse.


Maria Blaisse (1944) studied textile design at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie. She has participated in large exhibitions and shown her work in galleries and museums in the Netherlands and abroad. She has worked with designers including Issey Miyake and Jan Jansen. She was awarded the Emmy van Leersum Prijs (2000) for her work.
Henk Barendregt (1947) holds the chair in Foundations of Mathematics and Computer Science at Radboud University Nijmegen and is an adjunct professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 2002 he received the Spinozapremie, a prestigious Dutch prize for scientific researchers.

Dingeman Kuilman (1961), director of Platform 21 and the Premsela Foundation, curated Inner Tube.