In November 2011, 12 monumental buildings in the Belgian city of Ghent became the scene of a benign break-in. In the course of one weekend, Ted Noten entered all these houses in the so-called ‘millionaires’ district’, not to steal their valuables but, on the contrary, to install a few of his own designs there temporarily. These works were carefully selected to harmonize with the characteristics of each location and its residents and users.
But Ted Noten’s works are never intended to quietly occupy a place in the background, hardly noticed. And this project was no exception. His out-of-place objects – or ‘cuckoo eggs’, as the Dutch expression would have it – were impossible to ignore. Acting on the principle that every house is essentially a safe or vault in which to keep precious and sometimes embarrassing possessions, as mementos and remains of former lives, Noten installed his own safes: one hot pink ‘intruder’ in each building. The safes were his way of inserting his own story into the histories of the sites. Visitors received not an admission ticket but a key.
The project Koekoekschmuck 2 was organized by Villa de Bondt, a gallery in the Miljoenenkwartier. For an earlier edition, Villa de Bondt had invited a number of international jewellery designers to each make one house a temporary ‘nest’ for their work. The decision to pursue this follow-up project exclusively with Ted Noten made perfect sense considering the close working relationship that had developed between the gallery and the designer. Furthermore, Noten’s many-faceted body of work is exceptionally well suited for a project in which various locations each provide different conditions for the artist’s intervention. As a result, visitors could enjoy not only the individual qualities of the 12 houses, but also the rich variety of Noten’s work.
Photo’s by Wim Van Den Kerkhoven
Video by Head First Motion Productions