Ted Noten - Non Zone

Published: 20.08.2015
Hans Wessels
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Sometimes he digs a pit. Simply for the sake of digging a pit. Sometimes he moves the entire contents of his studio to a museum. In the exhibition Non Zone, Ted Noten (Swalmen 1956) examines the sense and the apparent pointlessness of the artistic process.
New replication technologies such as scanning, 3D printing and digitisation are changing the professional practice of the jewellery designer. What does this mean for our notions of ‘original’ and ‘copy’. And what is happening to traditional artistry? Noten explores this phenomenon in three of the museum’s galleries. He has cleared out his studio in Amsterdam. In the empty space over the next few months he will return to the origins of his work. Each day he will send a message from the empty studio.
In this video, Ted Noten talks about the background of the exhibition and his fascination with the painting 'The Tower of Babel' by Pieter Bruegel. For Noten ‘The Tower of Babel’ is a representation of the struggles of the artistic process. It depicts both the ambition to build the ultimate structure and the impossibility of its realisation. In addition this masterpiece is, for Noten, an example of perfection in detail.
For his retrospective exhibition Framed at the Stedelijk Museum in Den Bosch in 2013 Noten sent a loan request for ‘The Tower of Babel’ to Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. The request was written on a postcard of the painting and sent directly to the museum’s director. His request was denied, leading him to consider hanging a reproduction of the work. But would that have had the same effect? Eventually Noten decided against this plan. Now, two years later, he has brought the mountain to Muhammad. Using the materials from his studio, he has built his own tower in the vicinity of Bruegel’s masterpiece. Meanwhile, Noten reflects on the future of his artistic practice in his empty studio.

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Ted Noten