Piece for Peace - Cabinet of Curiosities from Belgium
The Cabinet of Curiosities from Belgium for Europe project focuses on the presentation of Belgian art in the international context of the Office of the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy.
It was the ambition of curator Jan Boelen to present an apposite interdisciplinary sample of contemporary art in Belgium, assembled in the physical surroundings of the new Office of the 'President of Europe'. With the 16th and 17th century Wunderkammer/Kunstkabinet/Cabinet of Curiosities in mind, the project in a way transforms the Office's various rooms into a setting for heterogeneous compilations of works of art from a variety of Belgian museums and collections.
A number of leading museums and collections in Belgium (Flanders, Brussels and Wallonia) were asked to loan one or more works by a Belgian artist for the duration of the exhibition. Furthermore, three leading Belgian artists produced a work for a specific location in the Office and have given it on loan temporarily . The President's lounge or reception room for the various international delegations was given a delicate Stockmansblauw background and a text sculpture by Fred Eerdekens.
The centrepiece of the Office is a Belgian joint effort by Studio Job and the Val Saint Lambert crystal manufacturer titled Piece for Peace. You clearly see the Studio Job stamp on the object. Their work is known for crossing boundaries between design and autonomous art: their sculptures which draw on the icons of northern European art history with a contemporary twist.
They love to return to the pre-industrial era, that's why they experiment with lost techniques and materials. No wonder they worked together with Val Saint Lambert, a crystal glassware manufacturer founded in 1826 and well known for its Art Nouveau and Art Deco pieces currently working on a strong comeback together with newly appointed creative director Charles Kaisin (who also signed for the Pixel bar in Brussels).
Design aficionado will immediately spot that Studio Job reinterpreted elements of their former work such as the peace sign from the Cake of Peace center piece they did for Makkum or 'golden' crystals from the Jewel Safe from Robber Baron Collection commissioned by Murray Moss.
The historical aspect of their work is only one component. the duo also seeks to communicate the present - here and now - by using culture as a humus, cultivating it with irony or putting things into perspective by means of extravagance. The icons and archetypes which they create, provide new, contemporary interpretations of familiar pieces. Their designs become meta-objects: artefacts whereby the object prevails over its function, and that through metaphors and symbols, give the viewer, a story depicting the future of the present, by means of the past. With this symbolic, no wonder it is the centrepiece of the Cabinet of Curiosities from Belgium.