01 October 2022
On The Shoulders of Giants
A public monument honouring the industrial pastand town of Weert, Netherlands
Photography Jeroen Musch
Studio Job unveils one of their largest artworks to date, a historical monument for the city of Weert, Netherlands. The 7-metre high sculpture has been handmade in bronze in their Dutch atelier, and is an homage to the industrial history of the town. International artist Smeets, who grew up in Weert, uses a crane cabin as the centre point of his sculpture, referring to the so-called ‘Wertha Crane’, a landmark structure that stood in this position along the canal. The revived cabin is being carried on the shoulders of four bronze sculpted figures, who are historical and recognisable figures in the area; Philips de Montmorency, Count of Horne who famously lost his head; a cloaked female figure, a symbol of life and the representative of women; the worker; and the Prince carnival, a figure of important local tradition. Thorny roses grow over the cabin that f lickers with light inside the hazy windows f rom the ‘eternal f lame’, whilst a beautiful bronze clock sits on top of the monument running both backwards and forwards.
The proposed sculpture was chosen by the Weert council back in 2019 for the public square of a newly regenerated area beside the canal, where once industrial buildings stood. This monumental work is also part of a trio of projects Job Smeet’s has created f or his hometown of Weert in 2022; an exhibition of his life and work at the newly opened Museum W; and the regeneration of the Boostenzalen modernist building in Weert. Since having his f irst child in 2019 Smeets has discovered a renewed meaning in his roots, and says he feels honoured to do something for his hometown.
“I wanted to make a sculpture that is for everyone, yet could also be a personal experience. Creating it in a position and scale (at 7 metres high) that seen from the city bridge that is connected to the canal, as you would have viewed the old crane which was a recognisable icon of Weert’s industrial landscape. Also it’s an opportunity to create a new public square in Weert for both residents and visitors to enjoy the sculpture up-close, and see the intricate detailing of the work” explains artist Job Smeets. “I wanted to create a monument for all people and ages, something to be discovered on a Sunday walk, maybe a place to visit with your family. At the centre of it I wanted to combine both the history and the art form.”
The work took three years for Studio Job to produce by hand and is one of a group of large scale bronze public sculptures that have been completed in the Netherlands this year by the studio. Although bronze sculptures have been the main focus of the studio for nearly 25 years, with public works in Miami, Amsterdam, Milan and many more, this marks a new phase in their work of much larger scale sculptures, with the artists signature meaningful humour and elegant impact.