Parallel Worlds

Art Medals by Tetsuji Seta

Jul 06, 2017 to Jan 28, 2018

To mark the award of the Jaap van der Veen / Teylers Museum Contemporary Art Medal to the Japanese artist Tetsuji Seta (1960), Seta’s work will be displayed in the museum. 

Harmonious Blend

Seta’s work has a unique quality. His static objects, which always fit within a hand, are based on plain geometrical shapes. Circles or squares with rounded corners are connected with the aid of small ‘found objects’ from his garden. The twigs, leaves, or buds are captured with perfect accuracy, down to the minutest detail, in bronze and silver. The inscriptions on the geometrical shapes give the name of the plant, the date, and sometimes a short poem or description of an event, such as ‘I found the goldfish in the garden dead’ or ‘I fell off the horse and struck my shoulder strongly’. Seta links moments in his personal life to one another or to the seasons.

Faithful to the Teylers Tradition

The Contemporary Art Medal is a prize founded by the collector and donor Jaap van der Veen. Jan Pelsdonk, curator of the Numismatic Collections: ‘We are deeply grateful to Jaap van der Veen for his support to a promising artist in the form of this prize and for making it possible for Teylers Museum to purchase Seta’s award-winning work. The prize is faithful to Teylers’s centuries-old tradition of engaging the artists and scientists of today in active debate, of following and presenting contemporary trends, and thus enriching the collection.’

Parallel Worlds: Publication

Simultaneously with the presentation of this award, the book Parallel Worlds, Art Medals by Tetsuji Seta will be published. It includes excerpts from the diary of the art critic and author Hans den Hartog Jager, recording his visit to Tetsuji Seta in Japan. The catalogue section contains texts by Seta that illuminate his sources of inspiration. 

Coin and Medal Collection: A Vast Range

Teylers Museum has a remarkable collection of over 16,000 coins and medals, which originated with the collection of Pieter Teyler van der Hulst (1702-1778). It extends over an enormous range in time, from the fifth century BC to the present day.