“The Munich Jewellery Week, 13 -17 March 2019, is considered to be one of the most significant international meeting of contemporary jewellery design and is a meeting point for collectors, gallerists, curators and jewellery artists from around the world.” [source]
My first visit to Munich Jewellery Week was last year as a Masters student at The Birmingham School of Jewellery who was just starting on her adventure, and this year I was back in Munich to present the work I created during my time on that MA alongside my fellow students as Oscillations Exhibition. It was a fantastic experience, and you can read more about our exhibition here, but this post as all about my experiences of visiting the other shows that we were exhibiting alongside at Munich Jewellery Week 2019.
Oscillations was exhibited under the umbrella of the Polyphonous exhibitions, and it was this map that we followed first on our jewellery seeking adventures.
Our first stop was animal/vegetable/mineral by Jillian Moore. I have followed Jillian’s work for a while, so I was really excited to see it beyond the screen of Instagram. The pieces are very alien in nature, yet somehow the forms are familiar, and quite biological. I find them really beautiful, and I was so eager to touch everything. They were almost sickly sweet in appearance, with glossy surfaces, and stunning bright colours. The pieces were incredibley lightweight, being carved from a foam core, and dipped and painted with various layers of resins and paints to give them their stunning glass-like finish. I was completely enamoured, and if I had had the money would have loved to add her work into my collection… one day!
Next stop was to visit a couple of familiar faces from the School of Jewellery at Numinous by Bridie Lander and Drew Markou. The setup of this exhibition was beautiful; simple pieces of paper framed the jewellery, while tension hooked strings decorated the space above us echoing the unseen elements in the jewellery works below. After seeing the previous exhibition Subterranea at the School of Jewellery, it was interesting to see how that conversation had continued to expand the idea of creative play within works of jewellery… and they really were beautiful pieces.
Next in our tour was Echoes of an Echo. It was really crowded with people when we visited, so it was a little hard to see all of the jewellery works, but I found the means of displaying really beautiful and ingenious. Rolls of wallpaper had been hung from the ceiling, and the jewellery pieces were pinned into the paper. It was really effective.
Last stop in our Polyphonous adventure was Whispers and Cries were we visited more familiar faces: Jivan Astfalck, Rachel Darbourne, and Laura Bradshaw-Heap. It was nice being able to see work that I had heard about in person. I am a huge fan of Jivan’s piece “Theniceandthenotnice” with Wedgwood Porcelain formed into two rings, and the not nice one dripping with black silicone goop. They speak to me of the inner personalities of people, almost like looking at the two sides of the same soul. I loved this exhibition’s approach to the ideas of gender, and sexuality, as well as our little takeaway Vulva pins, that both myself, and Stuart have enjoyed wearing on our lapels!
After our Polyphonous travels, we branched out into the wider world of Munich Jewellery Week and headed out to some of exhibitions that captured my attention on the overly confusing map (seriously Current Obsession… ya’ll need to make a much better map!! It’s wayyy too confusing, and hard to find any of the exhibitions on it… I’m so glad we had GoogleMaps to hand!!).
First on my list was to visit more School of Jewellery faces at the Ferrocity exhibition. This exhibition took place in the Museum Reich der Kristalle, Mineralogical State Collection, which was a fantastic location for an exhibition all about iron. It was fascinating to see how the multitude of jewellers had each responded to this theme in a different way. Bridie Lander’s enamel pieces were beautiful, and the patterns created in the enamel by iron fillings were really compelling to see the effects of. I was also struck by Joohee Han’s delicate sculptural bubble, constructed of stainless steel wire. The words iron and delicate rarely cross paths, but it was bewitching to see this exquisite sea-creaturesque sculpture alongside the harsher iron works.
Next on our trip was Overreacting, an exhibition in which Israeli artists discussed topics of gender, femininity, sexuality, body image, and womanhood through the language of jewellery. “The name for this exhibition refers to popular opinion that women are often “too dramatic”, associated with qualities such as hysteria and overreacting. Artists of the show celebrate the stamina that comes with such emotions turning it into art, a means for them to be heard – a virtue, not a weakness.” I really enjoyed the colourful, playful works of Katia Rabey that covered themes of female masturbation, and seemed to bring it to light that actually women like to masturbate too, and it’s fun! Jewellery is quite often associated with the female body, so to see these artists using feminist messages through the medium of jewellery was perfect, and very inspirational for what is the tipping point in my own jewellery-making adventures. Perhaps you will be seeing more political works from me coming soon…
Next stop: Heart Failure. An open call exhibition for artists to approach the themes of the heart, from love, to suffering, to strong hearts, or weak hearts, all were represented in this impressive exhibition. I was exited to see Isabelle Busnel‘s work, who I have a bit of a jewellery crush on! She creates beautiful works from silicone that are reflective of contemporary jewellery, but with a modern twist. Getting to see a couple of her pieces within this exhibition was a real treat. I found the rusted resin hearts of Dania Chelminsky to be curious in their construction. Dania collects rust from various sources, and blends it with resin to create these beautiful red hues, and then inlays plant materials to echo the veins in our hearts. I like the connection between the rusted iron dye, and the iron in our blood, which, combined with her surgical cutting and mending of the hearts really captured for me the message of this exhibition.
Last but not least on our outing today was M.E.G.A – Make Earth Great Again by the Dialogue Collective, where we got to visit work by one of our own! If you checked out my Oscillations post you will have seen work by Spam Glam, and she was a big part of the reason why I had to make sure this exhibition was on my list!! I loved this exhibition. The setting was stunning, and a refreshing change from the dull white walls of most gallery spaces. Of course, Spam’s work was my favourite! her new style of embroidered sculptural jewellery is amazing in “Less is More” and the stitch capture political messages are made fun with the bright colours and attitude of the jewellery. I also got to see more of Isabelle Busnel’s work here, and delighted in seeing the methods she used to recycle her silicone material into new pieces of work… it really reminded me that I needed to try harder to minimise my waste when making my own work.
Our final day of jewellery adventures was to visit the Internationale Handwerkmesse. “The IHM is the best place for those looking for tailor-made craft services, whether private or professional. The International Craft Fair convinces with a unique variety of exhibits.” We were mainly there to visit Schmuck, Talente, and the other jewellery galleries that were exhibiting. I found it a little disappointing, not the work presented, as there was a high quality there… but it was almost the exact same as last year! The layout of everything was exactly the same, and even with the jewellery it was mostly the same names but with slightly different work. However, it was still a worthwhile visit as the calibre of work was still impressive, and there were lots of pieces that I was excited to see. Among them, I discovered Jil Koehn‘s neon coloured resin pieces that were evocative of alien gemstones, and completely appealed to my own sense of style. The combination of the natural stones, with the imaginary landscapes were just beautiful. Another jeweller’s work I was happy to see was Carina Shoshtary‘s found material works, in which she often uses pieces of layered graffiti to create magnificently detailed work that echoes scale patterns, and as akin to looking at chips of paint under a microscope. I also discovered a new affinity in Suvi Tupola‘s adorable animal-inspired enamel works. Her illustrative brooches entranced me, and finding out more about her influences drew me into her work. I love that she is so connected to the creatures she captures in her work, and her empathy for them is something I hope to achieve in my own work.
Munich Jewellery Week 2019 was another jewellery adventure I was so happy to be a part of. I discovered lots of new work to inspire me, and more importantly exhibited my own work internationally… an awesome achievement that I hadn’t really noticed had happened until it was over!! I am proud of me, and I am proud of The Artist, and her Chimeras!!!
Much arty love.