Year of production: 2008

About: Galerie Rob Koudijs, Amsterdam

A weekend-long sale! That was the proposal Ted Noten presented to this modern jewellery gallery, where he’d had his work on display a number of times and was planning a new solo exhibition. A few months later, Noten would be awarded the Françoise van den Bosch Prize. But prior to receiving that honour, he wanted to make a selection of his works – especially the one-of-a-kind pieces and prototypes that he had made over the years – and offer them to the public at sharply reduced prices up to 80 per cent off! What buyer could resist? Signs in fluorescent colours hung over the jewellery stating the discount for each work.

The concept for ‘SALES’ brings together many typical features of Noten’s work. Clearly he was banking on the greed of the public, a theme he would return to in the exhibition ‘Framed by Ted Noten’ (2013). But his aim was also to mix up codes of high art (or of the galleries that confer that status) with the commercial realities of the art industry, combining the crude with the cerebral. Noten was also motivated by a sincere desire to rid himself of the dead weight he had accumulated, the pieces that no longer served any purpose for him, like a shop that parts with its old stock during a clearance sale.

Unsurprisingly, the gallery was not immediately enthusiastic about the idea. But after seeing all the jewellery change hands in just a few days, the gallery owner had to admit that even he was sold.

Photo credits: Atelier Ted Noten

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