Most important exhibition

14 10 2014

With thanks to a heads-up from the inimitable Zoe Brand of Personal Space Project fame, I’m now aware of a Kickstarter project ‘Shows & Tales‘: the AJF (Art Jewelry Forum) raising funds for a publication focusing on exhibitions.

Naturally I want to be a supporter … not the least because jewellery is my thing, but I’m very interested in reading and thinking about the content. I’m deciding between the various supporter levels, and one of them includes the publication on the AJF website of a brief paragraph about your most important exhibition.

I liked this idea so much I thought I’d write it here anyway. Perhaps there will be more than one when I give the idea a bit more time to sink in … but the first that came to mind was: ‘Ad Astra per Aspera‘ in 2003. I wrote the below a few years ago and I’m not sure I can put it any better.

When I moved to Melbourne (to study goldsmithing) the first exhibition I visited was the 2003 RMIT Gold & Silversmithing Graduate exhibition ‘Ad Astra per Aspera‘, which translates to ‘to the stars with difficulty’, at the Melbourne Gold Treasury Museum.

This was a key moment for me – I wandered around the exhibits and felt like I was in the right place; that this was something I not only wanted to do, but felt I was able to do, and it made sense to me and almost felt like home.


Past exhibition: ‘The Jewels of JAR’

24 02 2014

A recent post by Marcus Banyan (ArtBlart) pointed me to a current exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York – Jewels by JAR.

The photographs on his post, and the museum website, reminded me of the exhibition JAR pieces I saw in London many moons ago; apparently the only previous one of his work.

photograph of catalogue

photograph of catalogue

From memory there was no lighting in the rooms, or perhaps only the barest to be able to navigate oneself safely about. My memory is of visitors being furnished with their own little flashlight to illuminate each piece in the wall-recessed display cabinets. Looking at photographs of the current show, it seems that the lighting is within the vitrines and no-one has flashlights – I wonder if I imagined that part?

photograph of catalogue

photograph of catalogue

I especially liked this text from one of the catalogue essays: “Every piece, once it is ready to be sold, comes with the ghost of the person who will eventually wear it.” (‘Solace’ by Frederick Seidel, 2002, included text); while I’m not convinced I can see souls haunting these particular objects, I do like the idea in general.

However I do remember at the time realising that I would never make pieces like this – not the least because of the incredible technique I’d need to master, but due to my aversion to all things representative.

photograph of catalogue

photograph of catalogue

If you do happen to go to the current JAR exhibition, prepare to be dazzled, metaphorically and physically (just do a simple google image search and you’ll know what I’m saying). It could almost be too much of a good thing with over 400 pieces. For interest, there was a rather brutal review of the show in the NY Times.

The Jewels of JAR‘ was held in the Gilbert Collection at Somerset House, London from 2nd November 2002 – 26 January 2003.

RMIT Year 1 exhibition

8 04 2011

Before I move on to Year 2, I thought it worth mentioning to exhibition that was part of the end-of-year of Year 1. At RMIT, second and first year students are required to take part in a year-end exhibition.

Most times, the second year students take on organising duties, as most first-year students are a little uncertain about how it all works! Also, the second-year therefore has naming rights.

Our exhibition was called ‘Selected Works: Gold and Silver‘ and was at the RMIT Faculty of Arts Gallery. There was no book or catalogue made for the show, but below is the invitation.

exhibition invitation; my doodle is the third from the left on the bottom row

As I had won the first-year Koodak Award, I also had a piece in the graduate exhibition ‘Look‘ that year too. The piece in that exhibition was the neckpiece in this post.

exhibition invitation for graduation show, Look

However I cannot quite recall which pieces were in the first/second year exhibition though…perhaps the tea strainer, though I really cannot remember what else!

Past exhibition: ‘Sting of Passion’

19 02 2010

In searching for an image of a particular necklace last week [for this previous post], I literally stumbled across the below startling image on Klimt02. I immediately saw a connection between this neckpiece and the one I was searching for, and in fact the one Paloma wears in the image that kicked off this web of threads in the first place.

image used with permission from Klimt02; click on image to go through to original source; image not to be reproduced without permission from Klimt02

The above piece is ‘Neckpiece for Ophelia‘, 2009, of concrete and glass, by Kepa Karmona. It’s not exactly wearable, but my goodness it’s striking, yes?!

This was exhibited in Manchester Art Gallery, Jul-Oct2009, as part of the ‘Sting of Passion‘ exhibition.

The curator writes on Klimt02 [here] that this is: “An exhibition of jewellery made in response to Manchester Art Gallery’s collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings. The title of this exhibition, The Sting of Passion, is taken from a line in a poem, which the Greek poet, Sappho wrote as a hymn to Aphrodite.

The page on Klimt02 [here] shows a few more pieces alongside the artwork that inspired them – with permission, I have used a few of the images here. The one below is especially gorgeous – it’s a bracelet of sterling silver, fine gold and garnets, and is by Jivan Astfalck. Looking at it initially without knowing the scale, I thought it was a tiara, and thought that was just wonderful.

image used with permission from Klimt02; click on image to go through to original source; image not to be reproduced without permission from Klimt02

No, I didn’t see this exhibition personally. Aside from the connection to the other neckpieces I’ve been thinking of lately, another reason I write about it (and want to remember it for posterity) is that I sincerely love the idea of jewellery, or in fact any artwork, made ‘in response’ to other art. I’ve done a little of this myself, with some of my pieces in third year referencing portraits of Henry VIII and others of a similar era … I’ll share these another time.

Also, if it didn’t seem so daunting (and probably take years to develop and organise!), I have often thought about a project and exhibition where a handful of jewellers select an art work to ‘respond to’ (within a broad, as yet unspecified, concept/theme) and after the initial pieces are made, receive another jeweller’s piece to respond to; so two layers of response and two pieces from each jeweller … maybe some time in the future.

Update (25th February): it dawned on me that the last ‘past exhibition’ I wrote about was also a body of work responding to other art work, in that case ‘The Presence of Things’ exhibitors responded to pieces in the collection of the Embroiderers Guild of Victoria.

Update (28th February): I have been in contact with the curator of the project, Jo Bloxham, and her site has some wonderful images and information about this project – here.