The work of Alexander van Bakel caught our eye at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie graduation show. He makes beautiful images that have an architectural feel to it, a bit like future cities. He made his graduation work in Minecraft, a computer game where you can create your own worlds.
His images have a totalitarian feel to it, similar to, in his words, the prisons of Piranesi. He is inspired by monumental architecture, often used in history for power and control. Van Bakel embraces this in his Paradise Found series. On the other hand, by using Minecraft as a platform he deconstructs the meaning of the architecture. ‘The buildings or worlds made in Minecraft do not have a function and only have the shape of a building. A city build in the game is only the shape of a city. Nothing more.’ This way he devalues power structures as an entity.
Taking a look at his older work you see that the Internet is a great inspiration of Van Bakel. He wants to be part of this digital world, but also reflect on it. By submerging into it he wants to question today’s society and everything that comes from it.