Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam 2004 – Metallic Yellow


5 NOV 2004 – 30 JAN 2005

The exhibition is occasioned by the award of the Françoise van de Bosch Prize to the Amsterdam artist Robert Smit. The prize will be presented on November 4, and is accompanied by a lecture organised by the Françoise van de Bosch Foundation.

The title refers to the colour of gold, the subject of this show.

Smit (b. Delft, 1941) is one of the few Dutch artists who always works in gold. For years he has been among the top figures in international jewellery art; his work is well represented in the Museum’s collection, and in the past has been shown in diverse exhibitions at the Stedelijk.

In 1985 his entry for the exhibition Wat Amsterdam betreft (As far as Amsterdam goes) caused a fierce controversy about gold (or the taboo on its use) and, in broader terms, about the significance of contemporary jewellery. His opponent was the famous designer Gijs Bakker. This controversy on the use of gold was a turning point in the history of modern Dutch jewellery, and opened the way for many younger designers to again begin to work with precious metals. Smit’s argument for a more spacious conception of jewellery was also influential with regard to the collection policy at the Stedelijk Museum.

Robert Smit en het taboe op goud is the subject of a video documentary which has been produced for this exhibition, the first in a series of four which are intended to document the history of the collection.

The exhibition will show about 15 new works that reach back to a period in which Smit was not making jewellery, but drawings and photographs. The point of departure for the works are notes in colour and text that he made of rambles in Wales, going toward the village of Cwrt.
In addition, a selection of his older work will be seen, from the 1960s to the present.

Along with the work by Robert Smit, work from various artists and designers will be shown that has been selected around the theme of ‘gold’. This is developed in various sub-themes such as the magic of gold, the notions of celebration and decoration that are connected with gold, reuse, and the glamorous side of gold. Among the participating artists are Manfred Nisslmüller, Frank Tjepkema and Truike Verdegaal.

Student competition
A design competition in which four art academies (the Rietveld Academy/ Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam, the Design Academy in Eindhoven, the Akademie der Bildende Künste in Munich and the Hiko Mizuno College of Jewellery in Tokyo) are participating is also connected with the exhibition. There are no conditions imposed on the execution: everything is welcome, from maquettes to jewellery, from paper chains to plasterboard, from songs to stories, as long as the subject is gold. In addition to the main prize there will be a public award. The winners will be announced during the Museum Night on November 6.

Educational activities
To accompany the exhibition Metallic Yellow, in cooperation with the weekend school the Museum will be organising a workshop for children in the final year of primary school during four Sundays in November and December. The leadership is in the hands of Janneke Hooymans and Frank Tjepkema.