The Powerful Art of André Lassen
Sculptor of Fears
by Javier Mz. de Pisón
The Dutch sculptor André Lassen has created his own
unique universe, populated by mysterious figures based on
Viking myths and allegorical tales. His 1970’s line
of jewelry, inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The
Lord of the Rings,” brought him early international
At the 1981 Basel Art Fair, Lassen met H.R. Giger, whose painting
and sculptures were a great influence, and pushed him to further
develop his own artistic vision. Three of Lassen’s works
are in Giger’s private art collection, on display at
the H.R. Giger Museum, in Gruyères, Switzerland Lassen’s
works now include bronze sculptures, swords, daggers, and
intricately carved furniture.
Lassen’s multifaceted talent was later confirmed when
he branched out into sculpture, furniture design, and in the
1990’s when he created his series of highly original,
unique, knives and daggers. He is also an accomplished blacksmith,
who forges his own Damascus steel blades and creates one-of-a-kind,
sculptural silver handles, cast utilizing the lost-wax method,
inlaid with precious stones and scabbards sheathed in exotic
Particularly impressive is a life-size, hand-carved wood cabinet
titled “Angel” of a winged warrior in helmet and
full armor, with his pet dragon. This complex, functional
work of art, designed by Lassen and carved in wood by artisans
in Indonesia, swings open at the touch of a hidden latch to
reveal an interior of shelves and drawers.
Lassen’s interest in Gothic architecture and art
predates current trends and fashions. By the time he was 10
years old, Lassen was forging swords, daggers, and designing
guillotines while apprenticing with his uncle, a Danish blacksmith.
An important influence on his art comes from the traditional
Japanese swordsmiths he had studied with, masters of ancient
techniques that Lassen learned and uses in his hand-forged
Damascus steel weapons. In fact, his knowledge of Japanese
armory landed him a consultant and appraiser’s position
with the prestigious auction house of Sothebys in Amsterdam.
Lassen’s most surprising pieces are the ones in which
he mixes traditional Gothic imagery of skulls and skeletons
with his own whimsical imagination, to create works of extreme
subtlety and humor.
Lassen’s latest works can always be found looking menacingly
out the windows of Tribe Gallery, his studio gallery in the
center of Amsterdam.
Inquiries regarding Lassen’s daggers, sculptures and
furniture may be directed to his agent, Les Barany