What’s not to love about Karl Fritsch I ask you?
Karl’s latest exhibition, ‘yodel‘ at Gallery Funaki, delivers what you’d expect, and hope for, from this modern master – subversiveness, cheekiness, playfulness, unusual handling of materials, challenge, uncertainty, remarkable individuality, smirks, and absolute delight.
Exhibition media: “His rings, both precious and anti-precious, beautiful and proudly anti-beautiful, bear the weight and scars of centuries of embedded cultural belief about jewellery’s manifestation of status. Using precious materials as well as rough hewn aluminium, stones and glass, Fritsch’s work has the look of something buried for a thousand years while remaining utterly contemporary.”
“Selected works are also shown from a recent collaboration between Fritsch and Auckland based photographer Gavin Hipkins”
There are some truly monumental pieces in this exhibition, including those in the exhibition image (above). These are made of aluminium and set with brightly coloured stones. I admit to being both amused and uncomfortable with them.
They’re cheerful and hilarious in their chunkiness, scale and gaudy colour combinations … and in reflecting on them I realised that for some reason I do prefer my jewellery to be serious [which is entirely my burden to bear and not the responsibility of any artist to relieve me of it!]. I wondered if I may have found them more satisfying if the finish were more textured and bashed-about and a smidge less shiny-shiny [again, totally my perception]? I’d like to think more about these…
There were some rings that I genuinely fell in love with, much to my delight. Most especially a yellow gold ring set with orange garnets (above). The gold rectangular strip, perhaps 10mm by 2mm (or so), has been simply curved into a ring with a satisfying overlap; with five little pillows set with varying colours of tiny garnets. Completely delightful in my view. I tried it on, though sadly my skin tone doesn’t do it justice – it needs someone with more olive or tanned skin than I to bring it to life. Sigh.
The others that particularly appealed to me where the yellow gold ones, set with little stones. I suspect I’m in a matt gold kind of phase… how ridiculously gorgeous is the one in the image below?!
There is so much to look at and think about: 67 rings (with creations years varying from 2014 back to 2004), 2 bracelets, and 7 collaborative images and objects.
The photographic collaborations with Gavin Hipkins are moody and interesting; though I did find myself somewhat distracted by the glory of Karl’s rings. The above is particularly amazing – the scale in the image is misleading, as I originally thought it may be about postcard size, but in fact it’s about A4 and so the scratches are forceful and have great presence.
It’s a surprise to me that my understanding of Karl’s work continues to deepen, and I’m glad for it. Go forth and see what you see too.
Karl Fritsch’s ‘yodel‘ is at Gallery Funaki until 9th August 2014.
Other posts about Karl Fritsch:
20th December 2010: ‘Returning to the jewel is a return from exile’ @ Tarrawarra Museum of Art
9th June 2010: Karl Fritsch ‘freeling‘ @ Gallery Funaki
Update (12th July): after a little more thought, I wondered about the title of the exhibition … why ‘yodel‘?
A little bit of research later … consider these descriptions of yodeling: “repeated changes of pitch during a single note” or “oscillates on neighbor tones” or “an ornament or trill in phrases which have long syllables” and “the basic yodel requires sudden alterations of vocal register from a low-pitched chest voice to high falsetto tones” and of course its use as a means of village-to-village communication.
While I cannot speak for why the title was chosen, I do like very much the connections these little snippets create in my mind.
Update (8th August): a review in The Age has also reviewed this exhibition