Gothic Revival

Studio Job at Kasteel Van Gaasbeek by Vincent Fournier

Studio Job is the design partnership of Antwerp’s Job Smeets and Nynke Tynagel, known for their playful, post-modern designs that mix the sumptuous with the whimsical. In the world of Studio Job, ceramic plates come detailed with poodles and ice-skate prints, chandeliers are fabricated from cardboard, and wardrobes are covered in theatrical gold leaf. As much art objects as products for the home, these designs are frequently exhibited in what Job Smeets refers to as “white-box” galleries. But the duo's latest showcase is installed in Kasteel van Gaasbeek, a 700-year old castle in Lennik, Belgium. A one-time home to the Flemish aristocracy, the castle has been hosting contemporary art exhibitions since 2005, an initiative launched by director Luc Vanackere with the aim of challenging preconceived notions of heritage tourism. After seeing Studio Job’s work at their recently opened gallery in Antwerp, Vanackere immediately envisaged them storming the castle; the outcome is the site-specific exhibit Alter Ego, open through June 1. Given the fairy-tale nature of some the works on display—from oxidized models of castles to gold, Pinocchio-nosed milk stools—the gothic environment of the castle brings out Studio Job’s fantastical qualities. As Vanackere says: “You immediately link the pieces with historical knights' stories, axes and swords. It seems to be made for these surroundings.” These magnificently surreal images of the exhibition were shot for NOWNESS by artist Vincent Fournier, better known for his dreamy depictions of futuristic locations the world over, from astronaut training camps in the salt deserts of Utah to the subterranean caverns of Tokyo’s subway system.
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