The Jewellery - Linking Bodies department of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie joins the ‘Constantijn Huygens year’ at Huygens' Hofwijck in Voorburg with an exhibition of ten projects.  ‘RIETVELD – HUYGENS EXCHANGE. What has Huygens ever done for us?’ takes place from 6 April to 3 July 2022.

The Voorburg museums Huygens' Hofwijck and Huygens' Swaensteyn celebrate a festive year. The year 2022 marks a milestone in the research into the life and work of Constantine Huygens: the completion of the online database with his extensive correspondence. It is also exactly four hundred years ago that Constantijn was knighted by the Scottish-English King James I. This was the start of a long diplomatic career that would take him to many European courts. Part of this ‘Constantijn Huygens year’ is the exhibition ‘RIETVELD – HUYGENS EXCHANGE. What has Huygens ever done for us?’ by students of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie. 

Ten students from the Jewellery - Linking Bodies department of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie spent three months examining the life and times of Constantijn Huygens. The students involved in this project focused their attention on Huygens’ position of social privilege that allowed him to delve into ephemeral research, travels, and the practice of alchemy. Confronted with the shadows that characterised the age in which Huygens lived, many questions and doubts started to arise. This prompted the students to critically reflect on their own, contemporary privileges. Whether consciously or intuitively, the students were drawn to, and challenged by, the shadows and the margins. In the process, they were encouraged to follow their feelings and intuitive reactions. This has led to ten artistic projects that will be exhibited in Huygens' Hofwijck in Voorburg. 

Participating students are: Yawen Fu, Jakob Hodel, Zeke Isendahl, Ada Jochimsen, Myrthe Kamoen, Ayano Koda, Stella Lydaki, Karla Nilzen, Lente Oosterhuis and Alma Teer.

The accompanying brochure was designed and illustrated by Kiki Gordon and Mila Landreau.

More info at www.hofwijck.nl

Address:

Huygens’ Hofwijck
Westeinde 2a
2275 AD Voorburg
The Netherlands

Hofwijck is open for visitors on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 12.00-17.00h.

The starting point of the Rietveld Academie's department Jewellery – Linking Bodies is the body. Jewellery is traditionally intricately connected to the human body. Linking Bodies questions what a body is and explores the body further, including sensorial experiences such as touching, seeing, and smelling.

Constantijn Huygens is mainly known for being a diplomat, secretary to two Stadtholders and Princes of Orange, poet and composer. A lesser known fact is that he was also an amateur perfumer. This exhibition sheds light on that aspect.

The initial intention of this collaboration was to focus on Huygens’ work on scent, including the various perfume recipes showcased in the exhibition. As a point of departure, the students of the Jewellery – Linking Bodies department were offered the fascinating, in-depth research paper Constantijn Huygens: amateur perfumer by Ineke Huysman, researcher at Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands.

Huysman’s extensive study investigates the often glorified life and work of Constantijn Huygens on the basis of his personal letters and reminiscences of his contemporaries. Helped on their way by means of an introduction by Huysman and after reading her study, the students involved in this project focused their attention on Huygens’ position of social privilege that allowed him to delve into ephemeral research, travels, and the practice of alchemy.

Confronted with the shadows that characterised the age in which Huygens lived, many questions and doubts started to arise. is prompted the students to critically reflect on their own, contemporary privileges.

So what would be the best response to a glorified history punctuated with shadows of injustice and privilege?

Image above: Karla Nilzen, Forks (photo by Konstantin Guz)