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The sister you always wanted (but made into a crystal chandelier)


This emotive and exuberant performance explores the complexity of family relations.

Lucas Maassen always wanted to have a sister. And after 36 years he finally procured one, except, as strange as it may sound, in the shape of a chandelier.

Maassen, a Dutch designer, asked the Switzerland-based biomedical firm Hoffmann-La Roche to crystalize synthetic fragments of the DNA of his parents to then create large-scale representations cut by hand by Lobmeyr, a celebrated Austrian crystal manufacturer.

Clemens and Miep (the designer’s father and mother respectively) brought together the pieces to form the chandelier, a process that, we assume, was cathartic for a couple that divorced 20 years ago.

The birth of Valerie, my crystal sister (the name of the performance-object) took place in 2012 in the Vitra Design Museum in Germany, as part of an exhibition of Dutch contemporary design. During the assembly of the piece, a video was shot in which Lucas’ parents talk of their relationship, their days in love and their family plans, as well as their inevitable split.

Maassen set up an emotive performance with those ingredients. A singular jigsaw puzzle made of glass and memory that condenses the complex sentimental reality of family relations within its twinkling lights.

Valerie, My Crystal Sister from Lucas Maassen & Sons on Vimeo.

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