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Five of a kind. Positionen anwendbarer Kunst

Exhibition  /  30 Nov 2010  -  15 Jan 2011
Published: 26.11.2010
Galerie Eugen Lendl
Management:
Eugen Lendl
.

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Intro
(...) The curator and the artists have sought out suitable ‘venues’ for their jewellery statement: in Graz Galerie Eugen Lendl, in Munich under the auspices of ‘Schmuck 2011’ Galerie Elka Jordanow (incidentally in collaboration with Ass. Cult. Maurer Zilioli-Contemporary Arts, Brescia), neither of which belong to the conventional jewellery panorama yet are names to reckon with in international contemporary art. In the rooms of those galleries, jewellery allies itself synergetically, as it were, with the contemporary network, thus ensuring adequate linkage with other aesthetic statements that weigh in heavily. (...)
Coming from the far right (geographically speaking)
Graz on tour, with guests

If you have the cartography of the European jewellery landscape before your mind’s eye like a map, you might say Graz is on the far right. To the right of Graz, not much is going on or has not yet proved itself in midfield. And, as in football: a player must struggle to assert himself or simply to hold the line.
As a jewellery city, Graz may not always have played in the Premier League (nonetheless, big names in the game have emigrated to earn worldwide renown), even to the extent of being lost from view at times, and has been idiosyncratically withdrawn in an eccentric little world of its own. Hence Graz looks back in its own way on a remarkably rich past in jewellery – and present, which some may unkindly deprecate as grotesque and peculiar. However, Graz possesses a sound and unique reputation in jewellery that is assertive and – suitable for an ‘outsider position’ which can definitely turn out for the best – because it reveals utterly original characteristics. Here things run in other channels; they have built up around distinguished individuals, around the Ortwein School (once the Applied Arts Vocational School), around a small circle of exponents, around a handful of brave and rebellious galeries and notable exhibitions at the Landesmuseum. Permanence and delight in experimentation co-exist. All this is the legacy of the legendary Werner Schmeiser, or so you might think, who has achieved something comparable in parallel with the large, glitzy jewellery centres but in fact in the framework of a limited local and regional infrastructure which has only modestly furthered the expansion of the jewellery scene.
There have been radical breakthroughs here, too – towards sculpture, Performance, bold balancing acts over unploughed ground and certainly boundaries have been plumbed. After all, Austria, and Graz along with it, is hitherto the sole country (long after Padua made its historic mark in the 1960s – but that is a different chapter in the annals of the ‘arte decorative’) to have taken art jewellery all the way to the Venice Biennale. It is also typical that the term ‘auteur jewellery’ has never been able to establish itself locally; instead, importance has been persistently and with conviction attached to the venerable definition ‘art jewellery’. And all that has had fortunate consequences for Austria and Graz because there are clear boundaries between jewellery and art jewellery. Jewellerymakers in Graz have shown staying power in putting that to the proof.
Thus jewellery-making progresses, between object art (of a material, kinetic or narrative kind), theatrically poetic literary production and material art. The Viennese scene, perhaps even the propinquity to Bratislava, are palpably in the background. Affinities resonate that are difficult to grasp and need to be investigated, which, however, might indicate a specifically ‘Eastern European’ history. For a while it had grown rather quiet around early approaches but now things are moving again. Because restless spirits are abroad.
One driving force is undoubtedly Wolfgang Rahs, who exemplifies a jewellery movement peculiar to Austria and specifically represents Graz because he is head of the metal design department at the Ortwein School. Rahs beats the drums and exports the Graz idea of jewellery anywhere it is called for: ‘Graz Greets Ghent’, for instance. But not just Graz wants to get closer to the footlights on the international stage; so do the Austrian ‘auteurs’. That is why Fritz Maierhofer and Margit Hart have partnered Wolfgang Rahs for the exhibition ‘Five of a kind’ as accomplices in quest of enlarging the scope for jewellery and renewed recognition of Austrian stances. Manuela Schlossinger – herself infected with the jewellery virus and active in the profession – is curating the exhibition and contrasts that small group with two artists from outside: Stefan Heuser and Kathryn Partington – an unmistakable indication of the need for renewal and generational confrontation. Of course, there might have been others but what was at stake was not just aesthetic differences but also the working of unusual raw materials into jewellery, be they Corian®, porcelain, photography, mother’s milk, etc, so that in form consternation is also manifest in content.
The curator and the artists have sought out suitable ‘venues’ for their jewellery statement: in Graz Galerie Eugen Lendl, in Munich under the auspices of ‘Schmuck 2011’ Galerie Elka Jordanow (incidentally in collaboration with Ass. Cult. Maurer Zilioli-Contemporary Arts, Brescia), neither of which belong to the conventional jewellery panorama yet are names to reckon with in international contemporary art. In the rooms of those galleries, jewellery allies itself synergetically, as it were, with the contemporary network, thus ensuring adequate linkage with other aesthetic statements that weigh in heavily. And that will not be the end of it. More events are to follow. After all, a strong performance is an obligation. Those are indeed rosy prospects, on both sides of the Alps.

Ellen Maurer Zilioli

Remarks

Opening: Thursday 30th of November 2010 form 18:00 to 21:00h.

Fritz Maierhofer. Ring: Untitled, 2010. Silver. Fritz Maierhofer
Ring: Untitled, 2010
Silver
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Fritz Maierhofer. Ring: Untitled, 2010. Silver. Fritz Maierhofer
Ring: Untitled, 2010
Silver
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Wolfgang Rahs. Brooch: Untitled, 2010. Diverse materials. Wolfgang Rahs
Brooch: Untitled, 2010
Diverse materials
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Wolfgang Rahs. Brooch: Untitled, 2010. Paper. Wolfgang Rahs
Brooch: Untitled, 2010
Paper
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Stefan Heuser. Brooch: Braun 1, 2007. Gold, silver, steel. 6 x 6 x 4 cm. Stefan Heuser
Brooch: Braun 1, 2007
Gold, silver, steel
6 x 6 x 4 cm
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Stefan Heuser. Brooch: Flags, 2007. Steel, silver, enamel, spinels. Stefan Heuser
Brooch: Flags, 2007
Steel, silver, enamel, spinels
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Margit Hart. Brooch: Clip-on, 2010. Vinyl, digital print. Margit Hart
Brooch: Clip-on, 2010
Vinyl, digital print
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Margit Hart. Brooch: Clip-on, 2010. Vynil, digital print. Margit Hart
Brooch: Clip-on, 2010
Vynil, digital print
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Kathryn Partington. Brooch: Untitled, 2010. Porcelain, silver. Kathryn Partington
Brooch: Untitled, 2010
Porcelain, silver
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Kathryn Partington. Brooch: Untitled, 2010. Silver. Kathryn Partington
Brooch: Untitled, 2010
Silver
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