Dezeen Magazine

Alter Ego by Studio Job

Artists Studio Job of Belgium have installed pieces from their iconic collections in the rooms of a Belgian stately home.

Called Alter Ego, the exhibition juxtaposes pieces from the artists' collections with the opulent interiors of Gaasbeek Castle.

The installed pieces will remain in place until 13 June.

See all our stories about Studio Job in our special category.

Photographs are by Robert Kot.

Here's some more information from the designers, written by Luc Vanackere:


Studio Job is an internationally acclaimed Belgian/Dutch designer duo. Their fascinating work plays ironically with traditional classifying methods, which tend to divide the art scene in unfitting and suffocating pigeon-holes. Job (°1970) and Nynke (°1977) have caused considerable uproar in the slick world of contemporary design.

They quote art history in a playful and often cartoon-like manner, combining well known icons from western culture with objects from everyday life. This stylistic confusion very often creates a tremendous tension, turning observers into accomplices. Although Studio Job’s work seems to flirt with naïve fairytale elements and childhood memories – Alice in Wonderland somehow always seems to be around – it is far from innocent or harmless. There’s something alarming about it too.

Smeets’ and Tynagel’s craftsmanship is impressive. But it is never used to create dazzling showpieces. Some of their works seem to exhale a rather ominous atmosphere, combining aggression and a darkish fascination for ‘gothic’ castles and cathedrals. This aspect of the oeuvre suits Gaasbeek Castle wonderfully. The building itself being an eccentric mixture of medieval parts and romantic revival elements, presents visitors with the perfect décor for this ambiguous couple: the princess and her jester – they’re also each other’s alter ego, of course - seem to be perfectly at home in these surrounding.

Taking a closer look at the objects, one cannot help feeling carried away into a restless, alarming world in which the difference between good and evil (a very Protestant topic!), between genuine and fake, becomes increasingly blurred. A typical post-modern comment on the decay of values? Perhaps… But Job and Nynke definitely don’t proceed as moral crusaders. They generously scatter around symbols and over-the-top ornaments. Functionality is systematically questioned, even in works that seem to serve a ‘useful’ purpose (cabinet, safe, bench, coal shuttle, …). Moreover, some of their creations can be considered as almost ostentatious ‘lies’ – Pinocchio for example. The castle plays the same games with its visitors: almost every room has a few ‘tricks’ in petto, from hidden staircase to mock-renaissance throne.

Visitors to the Alter Ego exhibition are invited to consider Studio Job’s interventions as a contemporary continuation of our castle’s multi-layered history and identity. Each work is positioned in order to create situations of both clash and dialogue between Gaasbeek Castle’s sometimes heavily laden interiors and the ‘intruding’ objects.

This can lead to surprising, grotesque imbroglios or surrealistic still lifes. Be welcome in our slightly deranged world!

Exhibition at Gaasbeek Castle
25.04.10 – 13.06.10

See also:


The Campana brothers
at Waddesdon Manor
Industry Series by
Studio Job
All our stories about
Studio Job