7 Necessities

Year of production: 2013

Dimensions: Various

Materials: Nylon, gold, glass

Edition: Limited edition of 3 + 1 A.P.

About: 7 Objects formally titled 7 Necessities

Seven years after the release of Ted Notens series 7 Necessities Noten takes a moment to reflect on the precarious nature of the theme, resolving that 7 Objects is a more accurate and appropriate title to shape the conversation. Articulating the motivation behind the series as a means of taking objectification away from the woman and bringing our focus to the tropes of femininity that are often objectified. As time passes things begin to slowly progress and our awareness matures, we can only move forward if we understand the past.

I ask Noten why he thought to make this work, “I am jealous of women, I see them as having so many possibilities to alter their appearance, play with personas, and adorn their bodies. Sure, I can dress more expressively and wear loud jewellery but immediately, as a dutch man, I am labeled and looked at differently.” He pauses, “when I think back on the way women have been portrayed throughout my life, especially as a boy, It is more clear why it feels they possess attributes I could never attain, women were always put on a pedestal.” To provoke his audience Noten instead puts the archetypes of a woman, infused with humor and irony, on a pedestal.

When the series is viewed we are immediately struck by the strange collection of objects, there is a purse, sunglasses, a decked out helmet, but then a gun, chastity belt, a hyper structural mask, and a chatelaine. What’s Noten on about? There is just enough familiarity to entice and when we look closer the intricate story of each work unfolds. The mask, made to the proportions of the ideal woman, has an attachment containing a syringe of botox. When injected your face will mimic the form of the mask. As we consider the strangeness of this object we recognize the absurdity of the concept of ‘perfect face’ and the influence beauty ideals have on femininity.

Text by Marley White

“…Noten keeps wrong-footing his audiences. The fact that every little detail has been executed with painstaking craftsmanship further contributes to the confusion. In the realm of feminine vanity, refinement is a highly favoured attribute. In the realm of bloodthirsty malevolence, such refinement is the very thing that serves to tone down the inevitable promise a weapon holds. Women on the warpath: they will seduce you with their deadly appeal.

With this challenging project Noten once again defies the rules of the jewel world and enters in an area where art and design meet on communal grounds. He asks many questions, for instance about status symbols, about femininity, and about contemporary life. Apart from this he asks about the status and the locus of craftsmanship. Is it the goldsmith, working on all material details of the design, or is it the designer, seated in front of his computer while drawing his images to be 3D printed with a modern device?”

Text excerpt by Louise Schouwenberg

Photo credits: Atelier Ted Noten

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