The Art and Design of Contemporary Jewellery
A Design Museum, London touring exhibition
at NGV (National Gallery of Victoria)
Unexpected Pleasures looks at what we mean by jewellery from a number of different perspectives. Taking as its starting point the radical experiments of the Contemporary Jewellery Movement that challenged a conventional understanding of the language of personal adornment, and looking instead at the essential meanings of jewellery, the exhibition brings together important work from around the world, and looks at it from the point of view of the wearer as well as the maker. Contemporary Jewellery in this sense is at the intersection of art and design.
Curated by Dr. Susan Cohn for the Design Museum, London with exhibition design by Ab Rogers Design and graphics by Barnbrook.
« UNEXPECTED Pleasures, an exhibition of the world’s ugliest, loveliest, most intriguing contemporary jewellery, opened at the National Gallery of Victoria International yesterday.
»Everything here is designed to be worn, » said guest curator and jewellery designer Susan Cohn.
Visitors took that as a challenge, moving through 180 dimly lit curiosities by the world’s most radical designers, trying to imagine what it would be like to wear a necklace of glass and ceramic dildos. Or a tubular »veil » collar like a pearly plastic version of Ned Kelly’s helmet. Or a cluster of rusted bolts and nails on a silver »Screw Ring ».
»After procreation and survival, our next instinct as humans is adornment, » Cohn said when asked, »Why? »
»Adornment is about attracting a mate, which in turn, is about procreation and survival. »
Some humans, however, obviously require more complex, intellectual adornments than others. »Yes, some wearers will want something that speaks that way for them, » Cohn said. Among the exhibits was a vast choice of such expression, from the minimalist exquisitry of a grey sunray-pleated yoke, to a clump of small pale »tumours », photographed bursting through a model’s frock. The latter was in a category of radical ideas.
NGV director Gerard Vaughan said the exhibition offered »a fresh view of the many meanings associated with jewellery ».
The visiting director of London’s Design Museum, Deyan Sudjic, said it was the result of a »long, drawn-out, cerebral process », and that is precisely how it felt.
Unexpected Pleasures: The Art and Design of Contemporary Jewellery, is a Design Museum, London, exhibition funded by the Joan and Peter Clemenger Trust.
It is free and runs until August 26, when it will travel to London. (Daily Life.com.au)
Art and design come together through its exploration of the radical experiments of contemporary jewelers who have pushed the boundaries. Navigate your way through the labyrinth of themes; Worn Out (celebrating the experience of wearing jewellery), Linking Links (looks at the way in which narratives are expressed through sub-themes and creative systems) and A Fine Line (offers insight into the origins of contemporary jewellery today) in an exhibition that is not to be missed.
Camilla Prasch – MEGA 2009 – red dyed snap fasteners, nylon thread, silicone discs – Photo: Dorte Krogh
Sally Marsland (AU) – Flat colour, brooches (2002) – epoxy resin mixed with powdered pigment - Photo: Jeremy Dillon
Doug Bucci, USA, Trans-Hematopoietic neckpiece (2010).
Susie Ganch, USA, Yellow dust, brooch (2010)
David Bielander, Scampi, armband/bracelet, 2007
Karl Fritsch Screw ring 2010 silver, nails, screws
Karl Fritsch, New Zealand, Steinhaufen, ring 2004
Hyewon Kim - Torn 1 (2011) – resin, twigs Photo: Myoungwook Huh
Tiffany Parbs – Extension (2008) – hand woven hair, digital print – photo Terence Bogue
Caroline Broadhead, England, Veil, necklace (1983).
Susanne Klemm, « Frozen » necklace, plastic
Blanche TILDEN – Speed, neckpiece 2000 borosilicate glass, titanium, anodised aluminium
Paul Derrez Pleated Collar 1982 Plastic, steel
Felieke van der Leest – necklace
Rose necklace by Gijs Bakker: Colour photograph in laminated plastic (1983)
Dorothea Prühl Habicht (Hawk), 2006 necklace, elm wood – H 40 cm
Noon Passama, Brooch, 2010
First on show at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 20 April – 26 August 2012, this exhibition will also tour to the Design Museum in London, 5 Dec 2012 – 3 Mar 2013. Melbourne based designer and maker Dr. Susan Cohn (interview with The Age) has curated this exhibition for the Design Museum and is also co-author of the substantial catalogue documenting this event as well contributing to the discussion about contemporary design and making.
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