Good and evil
During the project’s design phase, Smeets declared that they wished to portray the feelings of confusion about our day and age, where the boundary between good and evil is increasingly difficult to draw. The objects conjure up an atmosphere of decadence, decay and suffocation. The deer on the top of the Centrepiece is being besieged by the salamanders and has nowhere to flee. The mustachioed figure reeks more of the dictator than of trustworthy authority. Is the castle a safe haven indeed? Who is capable of drawing the sword from the rock in order to save us from the looming disaster? These are questions raised by the work, ones connected with feelings of fear, hope, unease, and happiness or the semblance of it.
The irony of the work lies in the remedy Studio Job seems to offer the public. In addition to the green, bronze objects which are all one-offs, the series also consists of a number of limited-edition, smaller, polished bronze objects, including an elegantly decorated dagger, a diamond, an arrow, a ring and a coin. The public can purchase these objects to “arm” themselves against the harsh surroundings, against the demands of modern life, either literally with a weapon, or with a bronze ornament lending status. Because that, too, is a function of design: providing purchasers with a means of distinguishing themselves from others. Driven by greed, vanity and the need to stand out, one of the most basic mechanisms of materialism is the purchase of material goods, in order to be able to lay claim to immaterial values such as class and good taste. By beguiling the public to purchase these goods, Studio Job transforms them into consumers, or − better yet − into design victims, and as such participants in the narrative that they have created, a story that appears to be both an analysis and an example of consumer society.
Sue-an van der Zijpp