Ted Noten: a thesis on sentimentality and design

…even though schools been out forever since 007
pradaLady K bag nr.4
Prada bag and heavily goldplated gun and bullet, acrylic.

i saw this (functional?) bag designed by Ted Noten for Prada and had to find out more…and theres so much more…

some background: Noten was born in the Netherlands in 1956 and studied Silversmithing and design at the Academy for Applied Arts on Maastricht. currently, his atelier works on jewelery, (interior) design, installations and assignments for both private collectors, cultural organizations and art institutions…”For sentimental needs and design solutions”


mouse, pearls, steel wire chain and acrylic.

“Princess”, one of Noten’s first conceptual pieces of jewelry work, was created after he was asked to design a pearl necklace for a contemporary art event. stating that a pearl necklace was “the most frigid jewelery piece in the world”, Noten instead designed a necklace within a necklace. this piece is meant to confront the viewer with the question, “Who is wearing the best piece of jewelery? The lady who puts on the necklace [a piece of modern art], or the mouse adorned with pearls?”
“Princess” succeeds in being silly, engaging, and beautiful all at once. like many of Noten’s pieces, this necklace causes the viewer to question her view of acceptable and desirable adornmant. Noten admits that he adores “bling” culture as a way to paint one’s identity, but he contests the idea that “Jewelery has only to do with status,” a huge pity particularly since “status at this time is connected with diamonds”, an industry that notoriously panders to the wealthy.

Ageeth‘s Dowry
gold and silver rings, pearl handle and acrylic.

“What is jewelery? Why do we keep it?…..You know, we used to make jewelery for each other.”

the sentimentality of jewelry and other prized objects is a recurrent theme in Noten’s work. in the acrylic piece “Ageeth’s Dowry”, Noten presents the story of a bride receiving a bag on her wedding day which contains a ring from each of her relatives. by framing the rings in acrylic, Noten has rendered the gold and silver rings inaccessable as wearable symbols of status. their sentimental and ascribed value now take center stage. we see this theme again in Noten’s Mercedes Benz Brooches which he created for the Dutch Fashion Awards. nominees, winners and VIPS were presented with brooches or pendants cut from the hood of a Mercedes Benz. the car, literally cut to ribbons, has been reduced to mementos of status and taste…
Mercedes Benz Pendant

ive always been drawn to acrylic as a medium, more specifically, the “objects floating in a clear medium” genre (see: Damien Hirst), and i believe it is founded on this idea of romantic sentimentality; of preserved history. even more interesting to me is that idea of personally ascribed sentimentality and history….”i’ve decided that this is important TO ME and so therefore it is sentimental and historic”. its not diamonds or a piece of the Berlin Wall, its a marble you found in a ditch or a bow in your hair when he kissed you. this is me and my history and i’m going to frame it in a block of acrylic so that i can keep it forever and just think about why its important to me; i can never use it again or even touch it because the object has lost any need for physicality. the object is an idea.
in Noten’s recent Limited Edition series, he renders weighty, controversial objects useless by encasing them in acrylic. icepicks, cocaine, and guns (as seen at the top of the post) lose their potential for danger and harm and become mere symbols, icons, brand names.
Icepick Bag
icepick, gold ring, synthetic diamonds, cocaine, textile, and cultivated pearls.

“Jewelery is our first art expression – humans didn’t start decorating their houses, they decorated themselves. Why hasn’t jewelery grown at the same speed that design has?”

Noten’s latest body of work, Haunted by 36 Women, is a collection of Rauschenberg-esque assemblages which are then translated into numerous scales and materials including a limited but “affordable” edition of jewelry.
Avondvlinder, on the left, as a full size assemblage.
Avondvlinder re-envisioned as a bangle in sintered nylon, and rings in sintered nylon and gold

with Haunted by 36 Women, Noten attempts to represent common pereceptions of women as physical collages of accessories, construction material and stuffed animals. the archetypes referenced include the femme fatale, the girl-next-door, the suffragette, and the fashionista.
Suffragette the assemblage, and Suffragette the ring version made of nylon and car lacquer.

bonus fact about me: love love love car lacquer as a jewelry medium. it looks sooooo lush and syrupy.
bonus anti-plagiarism: i got my quotes from iconeye


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