Otto Kunzli & Therese Hilbert ‘Leonids and Fumerols’ @ Gallery Funaki

22 10 2010

International contemporary jewellery heavyweights Otto Kunzli and Therese Hilbert come together in the latest exhibition at Gallery Funaki: ‘Leonids and Fumerols‘.

exhibition media (click on image for original source)

Exhibition media: ”

There you are. You stand upon the earth; formed of the same stuff, rooted to your source by the forces that wed your weight with its. Yet look up to the sky: there too, your matter is spangled and scattered. You are born of the air and of the earth and exist in one blithe, bright moment between the comets and the core.

And what propels you forward? What moves your hand and fires your brain? What impels you to create? Does it come from inside, having churned in the hot, dark depths and pushed its way up, out, cooling as it surfaces? Or does it come from outside, from the frigid, silent beyond, rushing and raining down on you in blazing streaks of fire?

You are hurtled onward at 367 miles per second and yet you stand still, on a thin, green crust, between a seething sea of magma and a circling storm of ice and rock.
Here you are.

Katie Scott
September 2010

Therese Hilbert, Brooch 2009/10, exhibition media; click on the image to go through to the original source

My first impression was the roundness of Therese’s work compared to the linearity of Otto’s pieces – the contrast wasn’t complete, in that a few of Otto’s pieces are in fact also round (‘Orbit‘) or round-ish (‘Hana-bi‘ rings, and ‘Apokalypse II (the last parade of the planets in front of the dying sun)‘), but it is fairly pronounced to my way of seeing.

I feel though that they both share a fastidious attention to detail and precision … while a few edges are not strictly controlled (again, such as ‘Apokalypse II…‘ and some of Therese’s obsidian pieces), many are.

I didn’t take any photographs of this exhibition … to be truthful I felt a little intimidated to ask! I know, I know, there’s a first time for everything! The Gallery Funaki website has many lovely images though – so do pop along there to see.

Otto Kunzli, Fukidashi; exhibition media, click on image to go through to the original source

Aside from some flashes of bright colour in Theresa’s work (citrus yellow and orange), as well as the gold and a shot of white / red in Otto’s pieces, the dominant colouring is black and grey. Therese has used lava and obsidian.

Some of the materials Otto used were new and interesting to me. First: binchotan, used in his ‘Hana-bi‘ ring collection, is a densely black special kind of charcoal produced in Japan at very intense high heat and it’s kind of like porcelain in that it would fracture if you dropped it. Second: gatan (I’m pretty sure that’s what it was called), a kind of jet, which is a fossilised wood.

Here I admit that I didn’t know what the two words of the exhibition title meant before starting to write this post … so after researching it’s certainly worth sharing.
The Leonids “are a prolific meteor shower associated with the comet Tempel-Tuttle. The Leonids get their name from the location of their radiant constellation Leo: the meteors appear to radiate from that point in the sky” [the next shower is expected on 10th – 21st November 2010].
And Fumeroles “may occur along tiny cracks or long fissures, in chaotic clusters or fields, and on the surfaces of lava flows and thick deposits of pyroclastic flows.

Without even looking at the titles of the works or knowing the materials, I would have associated the Leonids with Otto’s work, and the Fumeroles with Therese’s work; of course the titles and lava/obsidian/materials certainly confirm the grouping! And even though Katie’s exhibition media was beautiful reading before I knew what the words meant, it is even more beautiful after knowing a little more.

Leonids and Fumaroles‘ is at Gallery Funaki until 30th October 2010.

My work in ‘re:production’

20 10 2010

I have only just realised that I didn’t write about my participation in ‘re:production‘, a group exhibition at the Keeper Gallery at Gaffa earlier in the year (3 – 15th June 2010).

Zoe wrote to me while I was in Spain (ah, memories!) and I was really interested in the concept: “Adorning almost every surface of a room, re:production is an exhibition of roughly 500 images that document the practices of a diverse range of contemporary jewellery makers. By removing the ‘end product’ of a work and displaying only the documentation in the form of a series of images, the viewer is given a different perspective from which to understand further the workings of contemporary jewellery practice.

My four images are below:

image 1 for re:production; amended copyright notice: not to be reproduced without permission

image 2 for re:production; amended copyright notice: not to be reproduced without permission

image 3 for re:production; amended copyright notice: not to be reproduced without permission

image 4 for re:production; amended copyright notice: not to be reproduced without permission

Mari Funaki ‘Objects’ @ NGV

18 10 2010

With only a week left before it closes, I finally found the right time to visit the Mari Funaki Objects‘ exhibition at the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia. The danger of long-running exhibitions is that I seem to always think there’s enough time to visit, and so it doesn’t become something urgent until I suddenly realise I’m quickly running out of time!


installation; photograph taken with gallery permission (without flash)


Exhibition media: “Mari Funaki (1950-2010) was well known as one of Australia’s leading contemporary jewellers and metal-smiths. Working predominantly with gold and blackened mild steel, she was highly regarded for her distinctive geometric jewellery forms and sculptural objects. This exhibition encompasses a range of works dating from the late 1990s to 2010 highlighting Funaki’s brilliant inventiveness with line, mass, volume and space across various sculptural forms and her remarkable consistency of vision throughout her artistic career. Featuring a dynamic installation of blackened mild steel objects and a number of recent large scale sculptures, Mari Funaki: Objects follows the artist’s gradual shift away from wearable or functional objects towards purely sculptural forms.

The exhibition design is sympathetic with the objects – a darkened room with the objects highlighted on large exhibition platforms. The most striking aspect for me were the scale of the larger objects – the reclining one must have been up to two metres long, and the standing objects probably up to my hips.


installation; photograph taken with gallery permission (without flash)


The smithing and metalworking skills it must have taken to make these very large objects is formidable and mind-boggling for me to consider.


installation; photograph taken with gallery permission (without flash)


The centre standing piece above is particularly attractive to me – it seems forlorn and thoughtful.

The smaller works on the central platform, of which there were twenty, reminded me more of insects or crustaceans … precariously balancing on spindly black legs, not interested in their neighbours but absorbed in their own thoughts, each about to gingerly creep across the white surface.


installation; photograph taken with gallery permission (without flash)


The insect-like nature was a little alienating to me actually … I don’t much like insects and such. I felt it wasn’t easy for me to connect to the pieces. Though the two little ones below were quite gorgeous – and of the few visitors into the room while I was there, were also the pieces that most gravitated towards.

It seems obvious to me now that these little pieces are most like the larger piece that I admired, more so than any other pieces … so there is something particularly attractive to me about the quietness of the more vertical pieces that seem to have their heads down in thought… perhaps they are less predatory than those with their limbs more akimbo, ready for movement…


installation; photograph taken with gallery permission (without flash)


I missed out on a ticket to see the talk by Otto Kunzli a few weeks ago, which I am sad about – for perhaps it would have helped to see these works through the eyes of someone who knew Mari and her own feelings about the collection. I did enjoy my visit, but felt I could only connect to a few pieces and was dearly hoping to connect a little more.

Other writings about their experience of the exhibition: Markus of Art Blart shares a lovely interpretation and more images (with people, so you can see the scale of the larger pieces), and a brief mention by Regina Middleton; actually I am surprised more haven’t written…

Mari Funaki ‘Objects‘ is at Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia from 6th August – 24th October 2010.

A few more photographs below:

Read the rest of this entry »

New page…

16 10 2010

Just a little administrative update … I’ve added a new page to the blog: CALENDAR.

I’m thinking the name is pretty self-explanatory! The information on the page will be drawn from each calendar post, and hopefully as I go forward will include all exhibitions I end up reviewing – it may be likely though that the older months may not have all listings, so best to also check the ARCHIVE LISTING if you’re after a particular exhibition (or use the search facility).

Happy reading!