exhibition

spotting, recent acquisitions: objects of craft and design
17 Feb - 21 May 2006

Participating artists:
Tord Boontje, Karl Fritsch, Andi Gut, Bernard Heesen, Hella Jongerius, Claudy Jongstra, René Knip, Manon van Kouswijk, Xavier Lust, Wiebke Meurer, Vika Mitrichenka, Ted Noten, Studio Job and Frank Tjepkema.  

Work by some of the fourteen artists and designers represented has already been seen in 2004 and 2005 in the exhibitions ‘Metallic Yellow’ and ‘Nest’ – for instance, Tjepkema Studio, Studio Job and Wiebke Meurer. That the exhibition ‘Spotting’ once again takes a look at their work fits with the Museum’s policy of following several trend-setting innovators. In this way every acquisition becomes a link in the overview of an oeuvre. In addition each item takes its own peculiar place in a network of collection components, perspectives, mentalities and relationships.

For example, the Museum holds an unusual series of dinner services, dating from the end of the 19th century to the present. In addition to functional, ‘well designed’ services there are also artworks in which the dinner service is used as a metaphor. Other aspects than utility are primary to these works, for instance the luxury and refinement of porcelain, memories of previous use, the invariable position of the components, or fantasies about stereotypical forms or rich decors. The acquisitions from Manon van Kouswijk, Hella Jongerius, Wiebke Meurer and Vika Mitrichenka show that in our day too the dinner service can be an impetus for various interpretations.

The work of four designers has been chosen from the jewellery acquisitions. They share a mindset in which light irony and humour play a large role. A ring by Karl Fritsch is to be seen, which is entirely over the top for its enormous lump of stones. Ted Noten also provides his commentary on the cliché of the ring with costly precious stones (or maybe cheap paste?). A complete set of medals by Frank Tjepkema is included, which he designed for his family on the occasion of the birth of his first child. Andi Gut provides a whole new vocabulary, likewise with a wink toward serious jewellery, but also with a contemporary reference to today’s micro-electronics.
Three recently acquired glass sculptures by Bernard Heesen are also included in the presentation.

Graphic designer René Knip combines a craftsman’s use of materials with an extremely personal concept of design in which he regularly works together with authors and poets. For a light installation which he designed together with his brother under the name Knip Brothers, he asked the poet K. Schippers to write a poem. The installation, which the Stedelijk acquired in 2004, is comprised a large number of Typo Lamps, which can form a text with the aid of a type system which accompanies the installation.

The different ways of dealing with materials and themes also returns in this exhibition in the field of industrial design. For instance, the refined aluminium benches and tables of the Belgian designer Xavier Lust are bent so that they attain a high degree of rigidity and therefore can undergo great strain (Le Banc up to 220 cm, his tables as much as 440 cm). Such technical innovation is characteristic of his designs.

Tord Boontje on the contrary is more concerned with the meaning of the decorative element in design, for instance in the extensive series of interior fabrics that he designed for Kvadrat. In them he combines traditional motifs and craftsman-like draughtsmanship with advanced materials and production techniques (for instance, Tyvek and laser cutting).

This decorative element also comes to the fore in designs by Studio Job (Job Smits and Nynke Tijnagel). Their oeuvre moves between autonomous and applied art, which clearly emerges from the works selected for this exhibition. Among them there is bronze furniture which works as objects, and wall tiles with insect patterns.

A large felt installation by the winner of the 2005 Amsterdam Art Prize, Claudy Jongstra, the result of a commission which arose from the exhibition ‘Nest: Designs for the Interior’, is also to be seen.

In a number of cases selected loans have been added to accompany the works chosen. In video portraits produced especially for this occasion, the makers talk about their work. The curators responsible, Marjan Boot, Marten Jongema and Ingeborg de Roode, explain their choices and place the various acquisitions in the context of the existing collection.

The Stedelijk Museum Bulletin 1, 2006, turns the spotlight on various designs from ‘Spotting’. This bulletin will appear in early March, and can be bought in the Museum Shop for € 5,00 (NL/ENG).