Following the great success of the Telling Tales exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Carpenters Workshop Gallery presents the Industry series by Studio Job.
Job Smeets and his partner Nynke Tynagel seem to delight in the physical potential and malleability of the various materials they incorporate into their designs. Beautifully crafted and finely finished, they create highly ornamented pieces, which often contain dark and satirical content through their brave confrontation with the current attitudes and condition of the modern world.
Each work in the Industry series uses traditional and contemporary iconography and has been stripped down to its elements. The silhouettes stand bold with the white bird’s eye maple inlaid within the Indian rosewood setting. Animals and insects mingle with industrial buildings, warfare weaponry and other such products of capital. Featuring hummingbirds, seahorses, dragonflies, skeletal figures, and butterflies alongside tanks, helicopters, pylons, smoke, grenades, fighter planes and gasmasks, the viewer is forced to recognise the dichotomy between the natural or organic, and the manmade or destructive. Presented as if fossilised, there is an overwhelming sense that both will have their downfall and eventually become imbedded within history.
Perhaps the irony comes not simply from their opposition but also from the fact that the natural and the artificial are very much cohabitants in the twenty first century. The Industry series offers a poignant commentary on such an environment, each piece being highly evocative in its own right.
The finish of each Industry piece references the seventeenth-century marquetry methods of André-Charles Boulle (1642-1732), and whilst Studio Job cut the veneers using contemporary laser technology, the positioning of each piece of the veneer is undoubtedly still an intensely handcrafted process. The strict symmetry in each piece, and most notably the Dressoir, maintains the integrity of the aesthetic, and given the simple, clean lines of the furniture, produces a powerfully balanced work, whilst also encouraging a contemplation of the notion of repetition; the phenomenon of cloning in the natural world and of mass production in the industrial sector. Each design piece in the series has been employed by Studio Job as a ‘canvas’ on which to construct a modern memento mori; a plethora of visual metaphors that act as signifiers either of bucolic nature or of mass-destruction as associated with industrialism.
To compliment the five Industry pieces, Carpenters Workshop Gallery has specially commissioned Studio Job to create two new spectacular light-works entitled Wrecking Ball Lamp and Crane Lamp, with which they have further developed the dialogue that began with the original works.
Living and working together, Studio Job suggests: “Maybe sometimes we are designers and maybe sometimes we are architects. Sometimes man and wife, sometimes just artists.”
Founded in 2000 by Job Smeets and Nynke Tynagel, both graduates of the Design Academy Eindhoven now based in Antwerp and in the Netherlands, their work is highly expressive, usually one-off or limited-edition artesian works, often cast in bronze or finely constructed laser-cut marquetry. The works project a strong narrative, depicting good and evil fantastical stories and more recently fascist inspired stories.
Their work has been added to several major collections and exhibitions worldwide, including solo exhibitions in New York, Tokyo, Los Angeles, Paris, London, Milan, Geneva, Miami and Basel. Although, by definition, their work has primarily been geared towards collector and museums, Studio Job has collaborated successfully with various like minded publishers, including Bulgari, Swarovski, Bisazza, Venini, Royal Tichelaar Makkum and Moooi.
Studio Job’s work has been shown internationally in numerous museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Victoria & Albert Museum London, FIAC, Cooper-Hewitt, Guggenheim, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Wallraf-Richartz Museum, NRW Forum and several major Dutch museums including the Groninger Museum and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. They contributed heavily to the Telling Tales exhibition at the V&A and have recently opened their own curatorial exhibition space for contemporary art and design based in Antwerp. Here their own work and also that of other designers and artists is shown.