Holland Houdek

Jeweller  /  MunichJewelleryWeek2023
Published: 29.10.2021
Holland Houdek Holland Houdek


Holland has exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the United States and internationally in Austria, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Mexico, Morocco, Spain, Switzerland, and Taiwan. Her work has been published in Metalsmith Magazine, American Craft, two Lark Books’ 500 Series, On Body and Soul: Contemporary Armor to Amulets, SNAG’s A Body Adorned, Contemporary Jewelry in China, CAST, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of numerous best in show and other competitive awards, and was a finalist in the inaugural Burke Prize at the Museum of Modern Arts and Design. She is a former John Michael Kohler Arts/Industry resident, was the 2014-2015 Visiting Artist-in-Residence at the University of Iowa, and has also participated in artist residencies in Morocco and Berlin. 


My work to date has focused on medical implants, the body, and embodied experience. Working closely with the medical industry and using real donated medical implants as inspiration, I aim to glorify and complicate the highly individual and personal nature of prosthesis and surgeries. To these ends, my work evokes notions of memento mori for the modern age, and comments on the fragile nature of life in a time marked by speed, medical advancements, and deferred death. My body of work aims to re-invent and exaggerate these medical devices, centering my themes on imagined future bodies, mass production and the mechanization of the medical industry, and the strangeness of embodiment in the contemporary world.

Instrumental Series
Surgical tools of the past have long captured the public imagination as objects of intrigue and macabre fascination. Whether featured in cabinets of curiosity or medical museums, these devices evoke feelings of enticement and terror regarding their purposes and what these procedures must have felt like on a living body. This series of hand-fabricated medical instruments explore these devices as objects of art. Each piece draws out the tensions between the macabre and menacing versus the whimsical and alluring, as the playful colors contrast and help to alleviate the terrifying possibilities that you are about to die. They both exist in the future by conceptualizing a new type of anatomy and ways to mend the body, while also gesturing to the historical genre of memento mori objects and design.

Ox(ss)id(ific)ation (Implants Series V)
Medical implants are human-made devices intended to replace, support, or enhance a biological structure. As objects of art, however, they take on a life of their own. They no longer require the body to give them purpose, or to determine their shape, design or material make-up. New forms can give them new life, and yet, they can never truly escape the body, for it is always implied by their very existence. This series animates medical implants through its hybrid bone-like forms, while intimating the connections between rust and blood, and oxidation with the aging of both metal and bodies.
(Series Completed at the John Michael Kohler Arts/Industry program in Spring 2015)

Mechanization (Implant Series IV)
Medical devices were casted and mass produced using raw, foundational materials in an industrial setting. Mass production is typically associated with abundance, access, and affordability, but the power of abundance takes on new significance when the objects produced are unusable and even life-threatening if put into the body; biocompatibility dictates that only certain metals can be used for implanted medical devices, usually platinum or titanium. Thus, the work in this series illuminates the paradox of an intentionally un-usable mass produced set of medical objects. It asks viewers to think about abundance for abundance’s sake, and for considering what a precious and personal object means when mass produced in a raw material and presented in a gallery setting.
(Series Completed at the John Michael Kohler Arts/Industry program in Spring 2015)

Hyperbolic (Implant Series III)
This series focuses on medical implants, the body, and embodied experience. These hand-fabricated objects glorify the highly individual and personal nature of prosthesis and surgeries, while evoking notions of memento mori and the fragile nature of the human form. Using real medical implants as inspiration, I have re-invented and exaggerated these devices for imagined bodies. The intention is for viewers to consider their own physicality and to visualize the absent anatomies implied by the work.

Of A Particular Kind (Implants Series II)
This series comments on the highly individual and personal nature of medical surgeries and the power that medical implants have on an individual’s life. Access to such surgeries is a privilege that billions worldwide do not have.  Due to this disparity, people have traveled great distances and fought against great hardships to obtain medical devices or find medical solutions for a loved one, often to no avail. As such, medical implants become highly politicized, contested, and profound objects that have immeasurable material and personal value. Through hand-fabrication and aestheticization, this work explores these tensions by exposing and glorifying what is commonly left unseen.

Implants Series
Medical implants have the power to sustain and improve life.  However, due to strict governmental regulations in the US, many of these devices “expire” despite being perfectly usable.  Others are recalled due to adverse bodily affects.  Furthermore, the US is the largest exporter of medical implants to developing and third world countries that are in desperate need of such medical solutions. Unfortunately, the delivery of these implants is often made problematic by bureaucratic entanglements, black market interventions, high tariffs, and prolonged testing procedures.  Such complications cost countless lives every year.  This series of work glorifies these powerful medical objects and aims to raise awareness of the complex issues that result in these implants never making it into the body to serve their necessary purpose.

CV      View / hide description

Events      View / hide events

Exhibition  05 Oct 2023 - 20 Nov 2023  Missing Memories in Madrid.
Exhibition  28 Sep 2023 - 30 Sep 2023  Missing Memories in Barcelona.
Exhibition  26 Sep 2023 - 13 Oct 2023  Devotional Jewellery in Barcelona.
Exhibition  28 Jul 2023 - 28 Aug 2023  Mumbling of a Prelude.
Fair  11 May 2023 - 19 May 2023  Slovenian Jewelry Week 2023.
Exhibition  27 Apr 2023 - 29 Apr 2023  Missing Memories at the Melting Point 2023.
Exhibition  08 Mar 2023 - 11 Mar 2023  Missing Memories in Munich 2023.
Exhibition  25 Nov 2022 - 16 Feb 2023  Devotional Jewellery.
Exhibition  08 Oct 2021 - 10 Nov 2021  Painful Hope in Madrid.
Exhibition  12 Dec 2020 - 13 Feb 2021  Painful Hope.
Exhibition  05 Jun 2020 - 10 Jul 2020  Site Effects: Jewelry on both sides of the Atlantic in Baltimore.
Exhibition  17 Jan 2020 - 29 Feb 2020  Site Effects: Jewelry on both sides of the Atlantic.
Exhibition  18 Oct 2019 - 28 Oct 2019  Beijing International Jewelry Art Exhibition 2019.
Exhibition  08 Oct 2019 - 11 Oct 2019  Lié.e.s in Barcelona.
Exhibition  04 Jul 2019 - 06 Oct 2019  NOD: Wearing Change.
Exhibition  05 Jun 2019 - 29 Jun 2019  Lié.e.s.
Exhibition  16 Feb 2019 - 30 Mar 2019  Gioielli in Fermento in Paris: Bijoux en Effervescence.
Exhibition  20 Sep 2018 - 11 Nov 2018  Gioielli in Fermento in Padua.
Award  13 May 2018 - 28 May 2018  Gioielli in Fermento Award 2018 8th edition.
Exhibition  13 May 2018 - 27 May 2018  Gioielli in Fermento 2018 Exhibition.
Exhibition  26 Apr 2018 - 28 Apr 2018  Chaos in Valencia.
Exhibition  07 Mar 2018 - 10 Mar 2018  Chaos in Munich.
Exhibition  20 Feb 2018 - 12 Mar 2018  Not Only Decoration: on full volume at Cbijoux.
Exhibition  16 Dec 2017 - 24 Feb 2018  Chaos in Lille.
Exhibition  05 Oct 2016 - 26 Oct 2016  METALLOphone: Bonds.
Open call  02 Oct 2015 - 16 Oct 2015  Beijing International Jewelry Art Biennial 2015.
Exhibition  02 Oct 2014 - 26 Oct 2014  METALLOphone: personally.
Exhibition  14 Aug 2013 - 15 Sep 2013  La Frontera.

Publications      View / hide publications

Book:  Sacrés Outils !. Robin, Céline; Mazlo, RobertRobert Mazlo Endowment Fund for Art and Contemporary Jewellery:  Paris,  2023
Book:  Growth & Evolution International Jewellery Exhibition. Sun, HermanChina Modern Publishing House Limited:  Hong Kong,  2020
Magazine:  NOD: Not Only Blah Blah. Vol.2. NOD: Not Only DecorationNot Only Decoration:  Idar-Oberstein,  2019
Book:  Ausgezeichnet! most excellent!. Bruhn, InesArnoldsche Art Publishers:  Germany,  2016
Book:  CAST (forthcoming curated collection). Townsend, Jen and Zettle-Sterling, ReneéSchiffer Publishing:  Atglen,  2016
Catalogue:  Contemporary Jewelry in China. 2015
Exhibition location: Beijing, China
Book:  On Body and Soul: Contemporary Armor to Amulets. Susan RamlijakSchiffer Publishing:  Atglen,  2014
Magazine:  Urban Coco. Leeds,  2013
Issue 8, June 2013
Catalogue:  Wichita Nat’l All Media Craft Exhibition. Kansas,  2013
Venue: Wichita Center for the Arts, Wichita, KS, USA
Book:  Art Buzz. 2013
2013 Collecction
Book:  Body Adorned. a SNAG publication:  2012
Juried by Gail Brown.
Magazine:  Susanne Hammer, FAULT LINES. 2012
Schmuckmagazin online
Magazine:  Ketten. Susanne Hammer. 2011
Nevertheless, Vienna, S.124 - 131
Book:  New Rings, 500+ Designs from around the World. Estrada, NicolasThames & Hudson:  London,  2011
Book:  Collecting Butterflies. Johansson, KarinKarin Johansson:  Gothenburg,  2011
This book is published to coincide with Karin Johansson’s solo exhibition at the Röhsska Museum for Fashion, Design and Decorative Arts in Gothenburg in October 2011.
Book:  De Omkering. 2003
Numbered edition, 500 copies, 35 euro shipping included