Stelling Gallery
& Stelling Projects

Stelling Gallery / Stelling Projects

From 1990 to 2002, Joyce De Gruiter was co-owner (along with Peter Willemse) of Stelling Gallery in Leiden.

In addition to exhibitions, the gallery also organised cultural projects on site. In 1993, Joyce and Peter were awarded the Cultuurprijs (Culture Prize) by the city of Leiden.

The exhibition in 1994 was high point, featuring work from the British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, photographer Inez Van Lamsweerde, and stylist Vinoodh Matadin. Vivienne Westwood made a name for herself during the sixties and seventies as a designer for the punk movement. She was best-known for her trademark unusual fusion of London street fashion with BDSM elements: rubber, leather, and torn clothing held together by safety pins. Westwood, with her spiked, platinum blonde hair, became an icon of the punk era.

From the seventies on, Vivienne Westwood became one of the premier British designers in the international fashion world. Her long list of accomplishments includes the resurgence of the hoop skirt and platform shoes, a new approach to tartan fabric and the tweed jacket, reinventing the hourglass silhouette, and, of course, the wedding gown worn by Sarah Jessica Parker on Sex and the City. (This enormously popular American television series was about the experiences of four girlfriends in Manhattan, New York and was on the air from 1998 to 2004).

Westwood makes zero pretensions to designing comfortable clothing. Her haute couture creations are characterised by unorthodox combinations of materials, patterns, and techniques, paired with extremely high heels, tight corsets, and gravity-defying headgear. In both 1990 and 1991, Westwood received the prestigious British Designer of the Year award. In 2004, an exhibition of her essential works, 34 Years of Fashion, was shown at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. According to Alexander McQueen (1969-2010), Vivienne Westwood is the undisputed queen of British fashion, a modern-day Coco Chanel.

Location Museum De Lakenhal, Fashion by Vivienne Westwood, 1994

#1 Fashion by Vivienne Westwood, paintings collection Museum De Lakenhal
#2 Fashion by Vivienne Westwood, paintings collection Museum De Lakenhal
#3 Fashion by Vivienne Westwood, paintings collection Museum De Lakenhal
#4 Vivienne Westwood at Museum De Lakenhal
#5 Fashion by Vivienne Westwood, paintings collection Museum De Lakenhal
#6 Shoes by Vivienne Westwood
#7 Fashion by Vivienne Westwood, paintings collection Museum De Lakenhal
#8 Fashion by Vivienne Westwood, paintings collection Museum De Lakenhal
#9 Vivienne Westwood at Museum De Lakenhal, photo Taco van der Eb

Joyce De Gruiter and Peter Willemse organised two exhibitions involving Westwood’s work in 1994. 15 Westwood haute couture pieces were displayed in the period rooms and painting galleries of the Museum De Lakenhal in Leiden. Stelling Gallery presented photos of Vivienne Westwood’s ‘On Liberty’ collection. These photos, by famed photographer Inez Van Lamsweerde and stylist Vinoodh Matadin, have become world famous.

Location Stelling Gallery, photoshoot for poster, 1994

#1 Ellis Faas, Vivienne Westwood, Inez van Lamsweerde
#2 Photoshoot Vivienne Westwood by Inez van Lamsweerde
#3 Pop-up Store Vivienne Westwood, location back-room Stelling Gallery
#4 Vivienne Westwood and her poster
#5 Pop-up Store Vivienne Westwood, location back-room Stelling Gallery

Inez van Lamsweerde/Vinoodh MatadinExhibition photoworks, location Stelling Gallery, 1994

A pop-up store was also created at Stelling Gallery, featuring shoes, clothing, and accessories by Westwood. The photos were assembled into a unique calendar with a limited number of prints. Additionally, a series of blue Delftware porcelain pieces, designed specially by Westwood, were produced and released by Koninklijke Porceleyne Fles (Royal Delft). To mark the occasion of the double exhibition, a poster of a portrait of Westwood, with a plastic bag on her head, was created. Since the proper hats had not yet arrived, Peter Willemse proposed that Westwood’s shopping bag would also make for an excellent headpiece. During a fashion show in Paris later in the year, all of Westwood’s mannequins had plastic bags on their heads. According to the sheer number of visitors, national and international press, and a German TV crew (from ZDF broadcasting), who all came to Leiden, the Vivienne Westwood exhibition was a huge success for Stelling Gallery.

Calender, special edition, 1995Fashion by Vivienne Westwood and photos by Inez Van Lamsweerde

Vivienne Westwood and Delft Blue. Special edition, 1994

Six images of Westwood couture have been specially produced in Delftware; the painted porcelain which has been crafted in Holland since the 17th century. Punk 1977, Pirate 1978, Buffalo 1983, Crini 1986, Portrait 1989 an On Liberty 1994 are exquisite representations of Vivienne Westwood’s unquestionable influence on fashion and culture. The Westwood Delfsblauw collection has been individually hand painted by the master painters at the Porceleyne Fles using their age old techniques to place Westwood’s signature designs on fine porcelain plates, vases and bowls. The Westwood Delftblauw collection is produced in association with Vivienne Westwood, the Koninklijke Porceleyne Fles and Stelling Projects.

Other highlights at the Stelling Gallery were expositions by American photographer Nan Goldin in 1992 and 1993 and an exposition in 1995 of photographic works by David Byrne, a visual artist and lead singer of the American new-wave band, Talking Heads. Successful, international artist exchanges from New Zealand, Germany, and Belgium have also been initiated by Stelling. In 1997, Joyce De Gruiter and Peter Willemse received the Art Amsterdam Award during the KunstRAI for their daring, exhibition presentation, faith in their own artists, promotion features, and quality. Since the year 2000, Joyce De Gruiter has been organising a number of projects, including a permanent sensory garden, historical dinners, workshops, cultural projects, and on-site exhibitions for visual artists at locations like the Kasteel Oud-Poelgeest (a 17th century castle) estate in Oegstgeest.