Biblical Proportions

Studio Job

Studio Job’s gilded new monograph, The Book of Job (Rizzoli, $150), is really two books bound together. One side is what you’d expect from the Dutch provocateurs: a greatest hits of their heroically scaled, multilayered design-art, like the bronze Robber Baron series, which invites comparison between the 19th-century quasicriminal plutocrats and the deep pockets who buy the firm’s very expensive work today. The other side is also what you’d expect from Job Smeets and Nynke Tynagel, the firm’s partners, given how unexpected it is: a complete, illuminated Book of Job (the Biblical one) set in gothic script. Tynagel’s illustrations update medieval weirdness with modern visions like barbed wire, rockets, and swastika-emblazoned tanks. Smeets empathizes with the trials of his namesake. “It’s not easy to make functionless pieces in a functional world,” he says. If that seems audacious, the two are in talks with the publisher to illustrate fairy tales, classic novels, and a series of stories from the Old Testament. “We are always looking for icons in our work,” Smeets says. “Then we came at the Bible, which is like the book of all books.”

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