04 November 2019
Long-time Studio Job art collector, global asset managers Creutz & Partners commissioned Studio Job over three years ago, to convert a vintage VW Samba van into a highly sculptural, yet functional masterpiece »The Carwash«.
After three years in the making, this incredible crafted large scale object has reached its completion and is now permanently installed in the brand-new headquarters of Creutz & Partners in Beiler, Luxembourg, as the centre piece of their atrium. The piece will also serve as a fully functional espresso bar.
Artist and Studio Job founder, Job Smeets explains “It’s not the first time we have created a sculptural vehicle, as I find the essence of a vehicle fascinating, it’s not only a moving living space it can also be a moving object. The idea of embellishing cars is of course a very masculine American way of personalizing, and this lends itself to hyper customisation from functional form into sculpture. I took the vehicle as a canvas and killed its’ original purpose to make a new one.”
As a young boy, Smeets was fascinated by the form and fantasy of motor vehicles and their endless creative possibilities, now as an established artist, elements of this passion often runs through his sculptural work, with pieces such as the ground-breaking Automobile (2014), the Bismarck (2017), the Car Crash series (2015), and the Mika Mini (2016).
“The whole piece is very surreal, Dali-esque, like a dream you wake up from where you saw a VW van with a human nose, on fire, bubbling, crawling with roses, and a live bull and bear roaring out of the sides.” The piece is stacked with ideas tumbling over itself endlessly, yet denying itself with contrasting layers, for example, the guns refer symbolically to violence and aggression in a vehicle famous for its peace-loving hippie credentials.
Building these surreal layers Job Smeets found inspiration in the van itself, ‘I see the VW Van as the icon for travelling, a piece that collects badges and souvenirs from its’ travels, like the Swarovski navigation globe on the side, the bull horns on the front and the working bronze car horn on top’ Smeets remarks, ‘It’s the hotdog kiosk in New York, owned by the same guy for decades who’s customised it as time goes by, adding and growing the elements’. Created from an authentic VW Van delivered by the client Creutz & Partners, the Studio stripped the whole entity to rebuild the piece into its current form.
‘It’s a piece of now’, continues Smeets ‘a lot of things happened of course in the last few years, what I like about it is it’s me running the kiosk, the artist is no more than someone who runs the flower stand, so it’s a kiosk for over a lifetime of the artist.’ The piece is created, not of ready-mades like the work of Rauschenberg but a collage of Smeet’s own ready-mades, scaled and sculpted especially for this piece.
Many objects refer to the Germanic origins of this working man’s vehicle, such as a porcelain tile roof, a literal interpretation of south German architecture, traditional beer mugs, and a tire with a poetry inscription from a song of Schubert referring to the lonely, only child of the ‘unique piece’; a self-referential statement from the artist Job Smeets, himself an only child. The sides of the van are clad in the three elements of earth, wind and fire; the ‘earth’ rock structure that Studio Job is historically famous for, for the first time here cast in aluminium; the bubble ‘air’ casted stricture from the over-scaled exhaust, which can be seen similarly in the Train Crash table and Sinking Ship; and the ‘fire’ element adorning the side, first seen in the Car Crash series. These flames also refer to the hot-rod car idea from Smeet’s youth, but here in realistic sculptural form.
Other elements of note are; the Swarovski encrusted globe protruding from the side like an ancient ship’s navigation; the flag of Luxembourg and ‘bull and bear’ sculptures created for the client Creutz & Partners; the ‘Sex cake’ and pan lid hubcaps referencing historic Studio Job works; the real Goodyear Formula 1 tyre; and hand-blown glass elements referencing the Pumpkin Lamp (2014).
The piece was a labour of love for the whole Studio Job team, working with the talents of the craftspeople in their Netherlands based atelier including the graphic designs of Nynke Tynagel, master sculptors, blacksmiths, welders and painters to create the masterpiece. The Studio Job Chief d’Atelier Wesley Didden describes the process, “Everything has been hand-made in our atelier, it goes through many stages from it’s sculptural form, the wax models, hand-blown glass, casting, polishing, finishing, hand painting, the fabrics woven, upholstery and finally the painstaking assembly of the sculpture. We have created over a hundred sculptural pieces for this van, it is a true Gesamtkunstwerk.”
Studio Job, 2019