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Mirrors are invisible by Peter Skubic

Exhibition  /  15 Sep 2016  -  30 Oct 2016
Published: 17.10.2016
Museum of Estonian Architecture
Curator:
Tanel Veenre
Peter Skubic. Brooch: A. Sch., 2009. Mixed media. 8.5 x 4 x 2.5 cm. Photo by: Petra Zimmermann. © VBK Wien 2010. Peter Skubic
Brooch: A. Sch., 2009
Mixed media
8.5 x 4 x 2.5 cm
Photo by: Petra Zimmermann
© VBK Wien 2010
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.

Intro
Peter Skubic (b 1935) is an Austrian artist with Serbian roots. Since graduating from the University of Applied Arts Vienna, he has exercised a strong voice in the fields of both jewellery and fine arts. With his characteristic provocativeness and adventurous spirit, Skubic has been a trailblazer of contemporary jewellery while also performing powerfully on the performance-art, body-art, and spatial-object arenas.

Artist list

Peter Skubic
On display in the Museum of Estonian Architecture are 15 spatial objects that comprise Skubic’s most internationally-renowned theme: polarised steel and pure colour set to interact in reflections and established proportions. Among these is also his very first reflection piece with six rugs, from the year 1990. The mirror has been an important and very central leitmotif in Skubic’s works for already 35 years. The master himself sees more to mirrors than a simple visual category: they signify the negation of reality. As a backwards simulator of reality, the mirror opens a Pandora’s box of endless interpretations.

Despite being up in his years, the old master is still brimming with creative zest - displayed in Tallinn is also a fresh series of smaller mirror pieces, as well as jewellery just unveiled at the grand Schmuck 2016 exhibition in Munich last spring, which are part of a series titled “Nix Dahinter” (“Nothing behind”).


Mirrors are not visible - cloudy mirrors can be seen
 
The concept of jewellery as having a function only when being worn is something I abhor. 
A car is a car also when it is parked, and I would not judge the quality of a painting by its size matching the space above the couch. There are more pieces of art stored in depots than are displayed or in use.
 
I am fascinated by the invisible, the non-existing, the envisioned, the transient, and the things behind.
I like to get to the bottom of things.
 
Since 2000 my pieces of jewellery have been made of mirroring stainless steel surfaces.  They are mostly brooches. The mirroring surfaces reflect their surroundings, confronting the viewer with changing visual appearances. The surfaces themselves are invisible – like mirrors, which have never been seen by a human, too. Not to speak of blind people. For them, everything is invisible.  Visual sense makes up only a small part of our perception abilities. A brooch I made in 2007 consists of two high gloss stainless steel surfaces and one rock crystal panel. Into the latter, the following is milled in Braille: “Blinde können das nicht lesen”. (“Blind people cannot read this.”) The milling was done on the reverse side of the rock crystal panel and it is so delicate, that it is not palpable – not perceptible, not even for those who see and when they are not proficient in Braille. That is the message behind. We see so little because we do not perceive - understand.
 
On April 1st 2000, I made a ring of mercury. Mercury is a metal which, under normal conditions on our planet Earth, is in a liquid state of aggregation. That is quite fascinating. Instead of melting metal, filling it into the casting mould and waiting for the metal to solidify, I fill mercury into the mould, cool it in carbon dioxide snow and remove the now solid metal from the mould. One can look at the ring, – that is what it is-, until it melts at normal temperature and loses its form. The form is only memory.
 
Since I started making jewellery, I have been confronted with one question: What is jewellery?  Is it the content and meaning – the theme- that is significant? More significant than form?  What are the limits for the dimensions of jewellery and its weight, so as to be still wearable? A work by Manfred Nisslmüller from 1987 is titled: “Die Garnitur” (The Set). Earrings, ring, brooch, bracelet and choker necklace are cast of lead. 2 kg for the earrings and up to 42.2 kg for the choker necklace are seriously questioning their wearability.
 
My first piece of jewellery, a pendant, was made of stainless steel. I have stuck with stainless steel as the material I use most. Choosing this material has provided me with the option of making larger pieces of work, by far surpassing the dimensions of jewellery.
Since 1973, I have been working with “tension”. Individually constructed parts I fit together and fix them with compression and tension springs or magnets. I increase the strength of the tension with levers.
A friend made me realise that tension was my inner state of mind at that time. It resulted in brooches, rings and objects of greater dimensions, culminating in a tower of 4 metres.
 
The fascination of the early Cycladic marble sculptures inspired me to deal with the topic of “idols” in terms of tension. A total of 10 pieces have resulted from this series – two brooches, two large sculptures, and six medium-sized pieces. The proportions of a piece of work are most decisive for me. So I made more than 80 sketches at first in order to get a better understanding of this series’ proportions.
Proportions are an important factor of human feeling and understanding, be it in music, literature, painting or sculpturing. Proportions decide about good or bad and they determine optical tension in visual arts.
 
The intrinsic secret as an inherent inventory of jewellery is not to be under-estimated. It might be good-luck-charms, such as photos, hair or other things enclosed in medallions. In my case, it is names of women who I like to remember, or the piece of jewellery itself represents the encoded name of its owner. In the first case, it is a series of rings, where the whole length of the ring band is engraved with the name in an anamorphic way.  “Anamorphic” means “changing the form”, in this case to lengthen the letters. One order for a custom-made chain inspired me to design the name of the owner in longer and shorter chain links, according to the Morse code. The client was a long-serving railway man. In former times, all higher ranking railway officials needed to know the Morse code.
 
By using the Fibonacci numbers as a basis for encoding, one can get more accidental proportions. For this purpose, I write the beginning of the number sequence up to 8, that is 1,1,2,3,5 and 8, then I write the alphabet in four rows below, assigning a different colour to each row. This way, a number and a colour is established for each character. This system is suitable for the brooches with mirroring surfaces. The colour design of the reverse sides of the differently sized surfaces is formulated according to this coding system.
 
The invisible also means the non-existing, such as pedestals for invisible, since non-existing, pieces of jewellery, which I have occasionally made since 1990. These pedestals are painted, thus giving a clue to the imaginary piece of jewellery on them.
 
Can one minimize NOTHINGNESS?  Does a plausible “LESS THAN NOTHING” exist?
If, on a card, I write the words LESS THAN NOTHING, and then I punch a hole in the card, cutting away part of the word NOTHING, thus the word NOTHING has become reduced – it has become less, that is, LESS THAN NOTHING.
A cosmic black hole is invisible, too. I have made an art print on paper which says: “The Black Hole Is The Inside Of The Ring Of God”. This work is from 1991.
 
The 12-piece series “The Inside of a Ring” from 1985, printed on photo paper, describes the closeness and different states of a ring, but never a specific ring. There is, for example, a black sheet titled “Ring bei Nacht ohne Licht”) (Ring by Night Without Light); or a very small black square on a white background: “Ring bei Nacht ohne Licht – weit weg” (Ring by Night Without Light – Far Away). “Das Innere eines Ringes” (The Interior of the Ring) is a small black circle on a white background. There is also “Ein gedachter Ring auf einem nicht vorhandenen Blatt” (A Ring Thought Up on a non-existing Sheet) and so on. /
Peter Skubic, March 2010


Conception: Kadri Mälk.
Curator: Tanel Veenre.
Exhibition design: Nils Hint.
Print editors: Kadri Mälk, Tanel Veenre.
Graphic design: Aadam Kaarma, Sandra Kossorotova.
Translation: Adam Cullen.
Supporters: Embassy of Austria in Tallinn, Cultural Endowment of Estonia, Estonian Academy of Arts.
Thanks: Mart Kalm, Anne Laur, Timmo Lember, Villu Plink, Helen Saluveer, Mati Sirkel, Hannes Tõnuri, Art Museum of Estonia.

Hours

Wed-Fri 11:00-18:00 h
Sat-Sun 10:00-18:00 h
Peter Skubic. Brooch: Nix dahinter (nothing behind), 2015. Stainless-steel. 8.3 x 6.8 cm. Photo by: Petra Zimmermann. Peter Skubic
Brooch: Nix dahinter (nothing behind), 2015
Stainless-steel
8.3 x 6.8 cm
Photo by: Petra Zimmermann
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.
Peter Skubic. Sculpture: Untitled, 2005. Stainless steel, lacquer.. 22 x 6 cm. Peter Skubic
Sculpture: Untitled, 2005
Stainless steel, lacquer.
22 x 6 cm
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.
Peter Skubic.
. Photo by Beate Möllering.
Peter Skubic.
Photo by Beate Möllering

© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.
Peter Skubic. Brooch: Untitled, 2001. Stainless steel, gold leaf. 6.5 x 4 cm. Photo by: Petra Zimmermann. Peter Skubic
Brooch: Untitled, 2001
Stainless steel, gold leaf
6.5 x 4 cm
Photo by: Petra Zimmermann
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.
Peter Skubic. Brooch: Barbara, 2006. Stainless steel, lacquer.. 10 x 4 cm. Photo by: Petra Zimmermann. Peter Skubic
Brooch: Barbara, 2006
Stainless steel, lacquer.
10 x 4 cm
Photo by: Petra Zimmermann
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.
Peter Skubic. Brooch: Untitled, 2001. Stainless steel, lacquer, gold leaf.. 7.5 x 5 cm. Photo by: Petra Zimmermann. Peter Skubic
Brooch: Untitled, 2001
Stainless steel, lacquer, gold leaf.
7.5 x 5 cm
Photo by: Petra Zimmermann
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.
Peter Skubic. Brooch: Jo Bloxham, 2008. Stainless steel, lacquer, gold leaf.. 11 x 4 cm. Photo by: Petra Zimmermann. Peter Skubic
Brooch: Jo Bloxham, 2008
Stainless steel, lacquer, gold leaf.
11 x 4 cm
Photo by: Petra Zimmermann
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.
Peter Skubic. Brooch: Peter Stern, 2008. Stainless steel, lacquer, gold leaf.. 11 x 3.5 cm. Photo by: Petra Zimmermann. Peter Skubic
Brooch: Peter Stern, 2008
Stainless steel, lacquer, gold leaf.
11 x 3.5 cm
Photo by: Petra Zimmermann
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.
Peter Skubic. Ring: Ring of Honor for Tone Vigeland, 2008. White gold, lacquer.. 7 x 4.5 cm. Photo by: Petra Zimmermann. Peter Skubic
Ring: Ring of Honor for Tone Vigeland, 2008
White gold, lacquer.
7 x 4.5 cm
Photo by: Petra Zimmermann
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.
Wall piece in the house of Marijke 2004.
. Stainless steel, lacquer, 115 x 55 cm.
. Photo: Peter Skubic.
Wall piece in the house of Marijke 2004.
Stainless steel, lacquer, 115 x 55 cm.
Photo: Peter Skubic

© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.
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