Everything is Study. Anthology from the Onno Boekhoudt archive

Exhibition  /  OnlineOnly  /  29 Mar 2020  -  28 Jun 2020
Published: 19.03.2020

© By the author. Read Copyright.

Broken branches, rusty nails, small blocks of wood, plastic bottle caps and a motley collection of other objects, arranged in bins, boxes and egg cartons. By collecting, sketching, writing and playing with forms and materials, jewellery artist Onno Boekhoudt created his own universe, in which he made discovery after discovery. The search was key, the end result much less important.
The exhibition shows how Onno Boekhoudt has inspired others and continues to do so to this day.

Artist list

Onno Boekhoudt
Onno Boekhoudt’s (1944-2002) need to arrange and rearrange the world to suit his needs formed a very important part of his artistic practice. On his daily walks, he collected objects that piqued his interest. Natural or manmade objects, he carefully crafted them into still lifes that were an important source of inspiration for his studies and jewellery. For Boekhoudt, the picking up, holding, feeling, carrying around and cherishing of things was directly related to jewellery. His studios were filled to bursting with objects, samples, finds, studies, sketches and jewellery; they were all equally valuable to him. It was not always clear where jewellery began and a study or trial ended, but that did not matter to Boekhoudt. He saw them as experiments that were part of his search for form and material, or, as he put it himself: Everything is a study looking for forms.

Not a day went by when he did not sketch. At home or on the move, he always carried a pencil or pen to record his inner world, his phantasies with. These drawings were always directly linked to the jewellery he made, and, as such, related to the body and people. His jewellery is often rough in outline and seems to have been developed from the two-dimensional plane. In some of his works, one can barely be distinguished from the other.

An important theme in Boekhoudt’s work is the hole: The hole, working on nothing, is liberating. When it came to jewellery, he saw the hole as its essence. The hole is the inside of a piece of jewellery. It is intimate and personal and touches the body. To Boekhoudt, that intimacy was more important than what the world saw. Jewellery was, after all, about creating space for the body and for man.
Boekhoudt’s approach, his work process and exploration of methods and materials has inspired many (jewellery) artists. Therefore, Alles is studie does not only show his own work, but also that of Lucy Sarneel, Jantje Fleischhut and Benedikt Fischer. They kindly made part of their personal archive and materials that inspire them available for this exhibition.

Bench Pin Museum Revisited
Like no other, Onno Boekhoudt was fascinated by the process of making. His collection of colleagues’ vijlnagels – better known as sawing boards or bench pins – is tangible proof of that fascination. In 1999, Galerie Marzee staged the exhibition Bench Pin Museum, displaying the large collection of vijlnagels that Boekhoudt collected over the course of six years. The bench pins are part of the Onno Boekhoudt archive as it is curated by CODA, and a selection of them will be shown during Alles is studie.

Onno Boekhoudt
Onno Boekhoudt (1944) died in a tragic accident in 2002. Earlier, he had expressed the wish that his archive remains intact. With the help of the Mondriaan Stichting (now called Mondriaan Fonds), CODA was able to buy this sizeable collection. In addition, CODA managed to acquire the archives of Chris Steenbergen (1920-2007) and Nicolaas Thuys (1927-1989). CODA aims to present the archives in such a manner that a wide audience will be able to gain insight into the way these artists thought and worked. The artists’ sketches, correspondence, photos, tools, and information about the used materials; the archives tell the story behind the jewellery. Onno Boekhoudt’s legacy also shows the trail of his endless searching and discovering without necessarily having to find anything.
Onno Boekhoudt. Set: A room for a finger, 1993. Painted wood. 2.7 x 1.8 x 3 cm. Onno Boekhoudt
Set: A room for a finger, 1993
Painted wood
2.7 x 1.8 x 3 cm
© By the author. Read Copyright.
Onno Boekhoudt. Ring: Room for a Finger, 1993. Painted wood.. Onno Boekhoudt
Ring: Room for a Finger, 1993
Painted wood.
© By the author. Read Copyright.