The Embrace for Dutch art institute KunstKerk | Studio Job

A public monument for the people and town of Weert, Netherlands Weert / Netherlands / 2022

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Studio Job, the renowned international studio led by artist Job Smeets unveil their latest artwork, a spectacular thirteen- metre-high bronze and glass sculpture for Foundation KunstKerk (Art Church) in historic Dordrecht. » The Embrace « took five years to create, with over two years being handcrafted in Studio Job's atelier in the Netherlands. Enveloping the façade of the new art institute, Studio Job has created a modern surrealist take on classical church windows, that dramatically curve towards each other creating a physical ‘embrace’. The striking imagery is set into in a casted bronze frame structure atop bronze turtles with a two-metre screaming polished bronze cockerel on the pinnacle. The unveiling event took place on 9th September.


Dutch Foundation Kunstkerk asked Job Smeets to create a monumental artwork for the newly launched creative space ‘KunstKerk’ in the historic town of Dordrecht in the Netherlands. Along with architect Andries Lugten, Foundation Kunstkerk turned the unused church building into a walkthrough to link two new creative spaces, commissioning Studio Job to create a landmark sculpture for the back of the building. Job’s idea was to create the ‘back’ as the front giving it equal or more importance thus changing the whole use of the building. “from Job’s idea, we worked together for an intense moment from which the current concept emerged” explains architect Andries Lugten “a free-standing work of art in form of a façade.”


The work is a surrealist sculpture based within the outline of the typical Dutch architecture, creating a landmark in the unused back side of the building. “My initial sketches started off as interpretation of the shapes of front facade, but over time it evolved into a composition that is about storytelling, our everyday life, about holding on to one another whilst the cockerel above freaks out. I wanted to portray shelter and togetherness with the form. Our decision to have glass drawings facing outwards instead of inwards was important to make it visible to everyone passing” explains Job Smeets, “It’s where art meets craft, and religion meets architecture.”


The casted bronze structure, hand crafted in Studio Job’s Tilburg atelier over the course of two years, echoes 19th century industrial architecture. It holds three giant glass windows containing the hand drawings of Studio Job that curve into the centre of the sculpture to create an ‘embrace’ at over seven metres high. In complete contrast, the complex and highly contemporary glass baking technique was used in combination with the oldest way of producing, bronze casting. The building is adorned with casted bronze animals, a cockerel sits on the building’s pinnacle shrieks as if aware of his fragile position atop the structure, whilst the four bronze turtles nobly bear the weight of the structure above.


“The genius of the tortoises lies in the fact they carry the façade and have covered the distance from recessed glass façade to the building line. Movement and time have become visible; a metaphysical experience. This is what art is.” claims the building’s architect Andries Lugten regarding Job’s work.


Job Smeets continues, “the work is meant to play with the line between architecture and sculpture, the façade becomes a canvas for the expressive artwork. It could also be a huge piece of jewelry, a brooch. The strong structure firmly holds the
‘embrace’ together. It’s impactful as you first notice the unconventional shape of the windows from a distance. It's created to bring spirit to the KunstKerk, to be an identity, an object for interpretation, and a place to stop and have coffee.”


 

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    Studio Job, the renowned international studio led by artist Job Smeets unveil their latest artwork, a spectacular thirteen- metre-high bronze and glass sculpture for Foundation KunstKerk (Art Church) in historic Dordrecht. » The Embrace « took five years to create, with over two years being handcrafted in Studio Job's atelier in the Netherlands. Enveloping the façade of the new art institute, Studio Job has created a modern surrealist take on classical...

    Project details
    • Year 2022
    • Work finished in 2022
    • Status Completed works
    • Type Colleges & Universities
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    Lovers 19 users