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Knell. The Gender Bell by Karen Pontoppidan

Exhibition  /  Munich Jewellery Week - Schmuck - Talente - 2017  /  23 Feb 2017  -  25 Mar 2017
Published: 02.03.2017
Maurer Zilioli Contemporary Arts

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With this installation, Karen Pontoppidan is presenting KNELL (2016-7), her latest work group. In it, she continues to adhere to the kind of principles that basically govern her jewelry and were already beginning to come to the fore in the cycles that preceded it. These include questions such as the power of jewelry in the gender debate, the function and role of such jewelry that is something between a private, intimate piece and one fit for social occasions; other topics are the aesthetic scope of such jewelry and the way it is anchored in the discourse on art in general.

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Karen Pontoppidan
Pontoppidan does demand a great deal in terms of what her chosen genre should fulfill and yet she succeeds in achieving that delicate balance between appealing solely to the intellect and manifesting certain and very specific formal characteristics. In this, she does not stick to the territory familiar to the established goldsmith’s art but instead tries out experimental design principles in the concepts for her work. These include using collage and mounting techniques, consciously and intentionally paring down her use of refinements and introducing an object-like quality to her work, one which not only complies with its purpose as jewelry but also renders the actual process tangible and reveals its artistic context, its roots in art. Pendulums of all kinds and shapes are hidden in these casings, pendulums which simulate bells, KNELLs.

They play - and allow the wearer to play - with a sound which sometimes only hints at and at times clearly and suggestively references its true origins as a warning, a call for attention, for alertness. In such cases both the item’s design and the ideas behind it evoke associations with protection, entreaty, and the wish to make one’s voice heard - a desire prompted by feminist motives. And we are allowed to wear this precious champion around our necks, thus lending expression to our attitude. In 2015, Prof. Pontoppidan succeeded Otto Künzli at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Munich. Before that she was Chair and Faculty Head at the Konstfack - University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm.

As a matter of principle, Pontoppidan takes a conceptual approach to jewelry, establishing an exciting linkage between the genre’s historical commitments and her considered commitment to an explorative process. She also repositions her work, making aesthetic adaptations to shape and integrating functions, and makes her artistic focus clear. Pontoppidan has long been one of the key advocates of contemporary studio jewelry, and she is now one of its most eminent spokespersons. 


22 February 2017, 7 p.m.
Aperol: Sunday, 5 March, 5 p.m.; Sunday, 12 March, 1 p.m.
Karen Pontoppidan. Pendant: KNELL#1, 2017. Silver, iron. Karen Pontoppidan
Pendant: KNELL#1, 2017
Silver, iron
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Karen Pontoppidan. Pendant: KNELL#6, 2017. Tin, wood, textile, iron, silver, string . Karen Pontoppidan
Pendant: KNELL#6, 2017
Tin, wood, textile, iron, silver, string 
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Karen Pontoppidan. Pendant: KNELL#12, 2017. Silver, iron, wood, string    . Karen Pontoppidan
Pendant: KNELL#12, 2017
Silver, iron, wood, string    
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Karen Pontoppidan. Pendant: KNELL#9, 2017. Silver, iron, tin, string  . Karen Pontoppidan
Pendant: KNELL#9, 2017
Silver, iron, tin, string  
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