Studio Job, Eldorado, 2022, Illuminated sculpture. Hand painted bronze with silver and gold leaf. Courtesy of R & Company and Studio Job
The American Job, a new exhibition by Studio Job at R & Company, captures the sights and symbols of the America that Job Smeets was introduced to growing up in Europe, and re-encountered as he traversed the expanse of the country in 2019, from the Statue of Liberty to Graceland to the Hollywood Hills. Featuring nine monumental bronze designs meticulously painted in a trompe-l’oeil style, Smeets brings his sophisticated yet provocative aesthetic and conceptual approach to the complicated subject of America.
The exhibition is at once a revelation of Smeets’ mastery of material and form, a love letter to his road trip throughout the USA, and an outsider’s reflection on a country divided and at the center of international attention.
Studio Job was founded in 1998 by Job Smeets in the Renaissance spirit, combining traditional and modern techniques with everyday icons and archetypes of high and low culture to produce sophisticated yet provocative works.
For more than two decades, Smeets’s groundbreaking career has redefined contemporary art and design. At once highly specific and entirely universal, personally expressive and canonically experimental, Studio Job has created a body of work that draws upon classical, popular, and contemporary design, and highly visual and sculptural art. His idiosyncratic work is characterized by its unique library of iconography, pop-cultural allusions, and baroque ornamentation. Often described as “neo-gothic,” Studio Job’s pieces are fanciful while remaining firmly on the right side of kitsch.
Smeets’s limited-edition and unique works, handcrafted in his Netherlands atelier, are linked by their precious, sculptural nature. It features an extreme level of ornamentation, detail, and skill executed in his studio through traditional techniques rooted in the models of the European Renaissance workshops. He employs techniques such as bronze casting, hand painting, and blacksmithing before any modern technologies, such as 3D or laser printers, are utilized. In both the atelier and Smeets’s creative studio, technique, science, design, and art come together in iconic, heraldic sculptures that can only be described as Gesamtkunstwerk, or a “total work of art,” a synthesis of different art forms into one all-embracing, unique genre.
Job Smeets is consistently ranked as one of the world’s most influential people within art and design. He continues to create decorative arts for a contemporary age, producing distinctive objects, immersive interiors, and monumental commissions that exist in the often-contested space between sculptural and functional art. His highly collectible work merges functionality with conceptual themes that produce distinctly unique and radical pieces.