The Dreamy Jewellery


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Ted Noten’s creations are close to the world of the subconscious and no, you are not losing your mind. Ted’s creativity is present in his jewelery, his installations and his interior design projects. His latest adventure is called “Haunted by 36 Women” and is based on the archetypical perceptions of the Woman: the Femme Fatale, the Girl-next-door, the Suffragette, the Fashionista and so on.

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The Dutch jewellery designer Ted Noten is a traveller. He roams the world looking at everyday objects owned or used by ordinary people, who sometimes tell him extraordinary tales and do extraordinary things.

Jewellery is something pretty that we like to wear. It makes us feel beautiful and sexy, or, if it is valuable, makes us feel important. In advertisements it is worn by the attractive and the untouchable. It completes our vanity. But what if jewellery could make us question why we wear it at all? What if we were made to feel uncomfortable, taken away from the decoration, away from the nostalgia?

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Design has arrived as a serious cultural artefact, in the sense that handmade contemporary objects are acquired by private collectors and museums. But there seems to be only a tiny space for work such as Noten’s in the world of art. Is this jewellery pretending to be art? These pieces certainly transcend their size and are indeed worn on a moveable gallery – the body – whose context changes according to the movements of the wearer.


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Noten’s work reinterprets the conventional attributes of jewellery and absorbs materials previously foreign to the medium. The mundane and the precious are fused into a dialogue and much of his work is concerned with mutation: gum becomes a brooch, a dead mouse becomes a necklace, and, in Sweat With Horse (1992), a chess piece becomes a ring. The chess Knight must be constantly held in place by the wearer – the ring is concerned with the tension and pressure of the game; with how the player concentrates and anticipates, through calculation and ruthless intimidation. There is horsehair attached to the side of the piece to absorb sweat from the finger it is in contact with. Chess moves are randomly placed around the head of the horse to distract your opponent.

Text via Frieze Magazine