Studio Job celebrates 25th anniversary with unique show ‘Never’
Job Smeets presented the new exhibition ‘Never’ at Jaski Gallery with his jubilant Studio Job. The last time he exhibited in an Amsterdam gallery was ten years ago. It was the first time he cooperated with Jaski and combined that with the celebration of the 25th anniversary of his famous studio. It was possible to visit the show from Saturday, February 25, until Sunday, March 19.
Some of the rare, surrealistic and therefore very personal works in this show were previously shown in the acclaimed retrospective ‘Forever Endeavor’ at Museum W in Weert. They were a good representation of what Job Smeets (Weert, 1969), a pioneer in the field of conceptual and sculptural art and design, has had in mind since 1998, when he founded Studio Job. Other work was shown to the public for the first time. “This Jaski show is off-beat”, Smeets himself stated.
All the mostly bronze work was unique and handmade in Studio Job. The small-scale pieces were among the personal favorites of the Belgian/Dutch artist and are sometimes part of famous collections. Highlights were the rare complete ‘Still Life Gold Collection’ (Groningen Museum) and the life-size bronze sculpture ‘Wolf’ (Museum W). Also presente was a new Studio Job adaptation of the classic ‘Allen’ Frank Lloyd Wright table, made exclusively for this exhibition. Ten drawings were also on offer that were not previously for sale.
Jaski owner Robbert van Ham said that ‘Never’ radiates the same atmosphere as ‘Forever Endeavor’: “After seeing the exhibition in Museum W, I was sure that Studio Job and Jaski would be a good match. Job Smeets is an asset to our gallery.”
“I wanted to recreate that feeling of ‘Forever Endeavor’ in a more contemporary gallery setting, where the craft and details of each work could be shown up close,” adds Smeets. Some early pieces were ‘Sickle, Craft’ (2001) and ‘Farm Furniture’ (2008), first exhibited in Milan and then in the Groninger Museum. Also on display were some unique framed drawings from the past two decades and never-before-exhibited pieces such as ‘Sandbag’ (2019), ‘Ming’ (a hand-painted vase from 2019) and ‘Stewpan’, an oversized pressure cooker from 2020. There were also museum works such as the ‘Amsterdam Chair’ (2016) from the Maxxi museum in Rome, the rare gold version of the sought-after ‘Still Life’ ceramics collection (2006) and ‘Street lamp’ from 2018, a bronze lantern that reflects the surrealist style of Smeets types and defies gravity.
The year 2023 marks the 25th anniversary of Studio Job, which has grown into a studio of more than 25 people in that period. The studio, based in the Netherlands and Belgium, has so far been involved in more than 400 shows, has since become one of the largest one-artist studios in Europe and is regarded as a leader in contemporary art and sculpture.
Traditional artisans such as sculptors and specialists in bronze casting, stained glass making and hand painting work in the studio alongside experts skilled in the use of lasers and 3D printing. In Smeets’ work, technology, science, design and art come together as examples of what can be described as Gesamtkunstwerk – a total work of art or an all-encompassing art form.
Job Smeets uses humor as a means of addressing serious topics such as capitalism, taste and the legacy of art and design. He created a genre he calls “non-modernism.” His idiosyncratic, high-profile works are characterized by pop-cultural, cartoonish allusions and lavish embellishments.
Often described as “Gothic Gothic,” Studio Job’s pieces are imaginative while remaining on the right side of kitschy. Job sees his oeuvre as a continuation of a European tradition. The results vary from works of art in the Metropolitan Museum in New York to the national stamp of the Netherlands featuring the Dutch king (forty million pieces produced).
The show ‘Never’ at Jaski Gallery followed a series of large-scale Amsterdam projects. The public bronze four-meter-high sculpture ‘Hers’, by his partner, was unveiled in 2022 in Amsterdam South. ‘The Rose House’, a brick and pink bronze facade in PC Hooftstraat, was completed in 2020. There were also the globally acclaimed maximalist interior for fashion icon Rolf Snoeren and the theatrical sculpture ‘B*llsh*t Circus’ on Museumplein for Moco.