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A Misunderstanding or Backwardness: Why Some Galleries at SCHMUCK 2014 Lagged Behind Others

Article  /  Debates
Published: 09.04.2014
A Misunderstanding or Backwardness: Why Some Galleries at SCHMUCK 2014 Lagged Behind Others.
Author:
Agita Putāne
Edited by:
Klimt02
Edited at:
Riga

Intro
I would like to share my experience on the year’s event in the field of contemporary and conceptual jewelry – SCHMUCK-2014 in Munich. The fact that completely shocked me is the prohibition to take photos in the galleries. We, as gallery representatives, went there to get to know new designers and artists and their works, to purchase their works for our collection, to meet our friends and gain new contacts, which come in handy during discussions as well as when organizing new exhibitions.
I would like to share my experience on the year’s event in the field of contemporary and conceptual jewelry – SCHMUCK-2014 in Munich. The fact that completely shocked me is the prohibition to take photos in the galleries. We, as gallery representatives, went there to get to know new designers and artists and their works, to purchase their works for our collection, to meet our friends and gain new contacts, which come in handy during discussions as well as when organizing new exhibitions.

Honestly speaking, contemporary jewelry is still a very narrow and unexplored field, where main actors know each other or at least have heard of each other. However outside of this group, they have a relatively small fan base. A significant amount of artists in the area of contemporary and conceptual jewelry have acknowledged that this closed and narrow working field is becoming one of the leading problems in the field. In in my opinion, by organizing such large event as SCHMUCK, we emphasize the willingness to break the border and overcome the problem. What comes to my surprise, that exactly in SCHMUCK 2014 I saw that this problem of relative isolation is not being solved, but quite contrary – becoming depth.

At the moment, when social sites and communication gadgets play an important role in many of events across different fields, we were denied to take photos in several galleries, specifically at Gallery Kobeia, Galerie Isabella Hund and Galerie Spektrum; and gallery representatives are the ones who decide to deny photography at their galleries. It is quite pathetic that in the world’s current setting the importance of photography has to be explained:

1. I can note the exhibitions that I enjoyed and liked;
2. I note the artists and their works that grabbed my attention;
3. I note the works that I would like to purchase, but I need some time to gain perspective to reach my final decision (I could also do it in the gallery while enjoying a glass of wine, however they come at way too steep of a price and also in a plastic cup);
4. We can share our experience via social media and gallery web site, and introduce the artists and their works we have seen at this event

As we all know, social networks and sites are the future working fields of collectors.

In my opinion, it turned into an embarrassing situation when I have introduced myself to the exhibited works and talked to the artist, who has given me the permission to take photos of his/hers work, when suddenly the gallery representative approaches me and prohibits me to take photos. And when she/he is asked what the reason behind this policy is, an incoherent answer is mostly heard, or all the blame is put on students. This answer is the next reason behind my confusion and dissatisfaction with my latest SCHMUCK 2014 experience. Students are our future – they are the ones who in nearer of further future will join the collectors or become an artist/designer, whose works are in demand by collectors and proudly exhibited by galleries. Of course plagiarism can be a threat; however it’s what we do to avoid the threats, is not more dangerous than plagiarism itself? Twisted is also the fact that mainly for these reasons many artists choose not to work with galleries, which have strict privacy policies that also include the prohibition to take photos.

The lifespan of contemporary jewelry does not end in the windows of galleries; in most cases it is meant for admiration as well as wearing. Every single piece of jewelry is carrying a message, creating emotions and leaving an impression about the owner/wearer, as well as on the spectator. Exactly that, in our opinion, is why this artificial confinement of the audience of contemporary jewelry fans is in direct conflict with the essence of contemporary jewelry.

In general, the atmosphere at times was telling me that for some galleries the importance of the artist and his/hers work and its clientele has been left in the background, and they are more focused on making profits by selling expensive wine in plastic cups. This is also exactly why I would like to note the amazing atmosphere at the exhibition “Marry Ted Noten”, where students from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp had created a free and friendly environment that allowed enjoying the exhibition in a fantastic manner. We could not simply leave Gallery “Hell” where works by several artists from London were exhibited, and we finally left, we later came back for more. Second year in a row we also visited Tanel Veenre’s exhibition, which this time featured works by Märta Mattsson, which took place in the workroom of the artist, and the works were allowed that be taken photographs of as well as tried on. In every single of these galleries/exhibitions we purchased several works, which currently are being delivered to Latvia. There were more positive examples and we certainly do not regret coming; we got to know new artists, met up with old friends, with whom we celebrated the event in a relaxed atmosphere by going to Theresien, a restaurant, where last year one of the exhibitions could be seen.

Agita Putāne
Managing Director of Art Gallery Putti
Appreciate APPRECIATE