Metrosideros Robusta

Exhibition  /  05 Aug 2008  -  15 Aug 2008
Published: 31.07.2008
RMIT School of Art and the School of Creative Media
Karl Fritsch. Ring: Untitled, 2003-2006. Silver oxidised. Karl Fritsch
Ring: Untitled, 2003-2006
Silver oxidised
© By the author. Read Copyright.

From the enfant terrible goldsmith Karl Fritsch, a retrospective showcase of over 250 pieces spanning more than a decade, including rings, brooches and necklaces. Fritsch's work is cutting edge, teasing old and new conventions in jewellery, and this is a rare opportunity to see such an extensive collection.

Artist list

Karl Fritsch

Karl Fritsch's jewellery - generally rings - often have a cheeky, humorous look to them. His frequent choice of deliberately clunky, apparently almost childish forms contradicts the common expectation that jewellery should seduce the viewer through its perfection and classic beauty. Fritsch's secret is the paradox that a degree of clumsiness actually attracts attention. His clever use of this fact means that his designs change the viewer's perception of jewellery, and still more that of the wearer, who enjoys a yet closer interaction with the piece.

At the start of his career, Fritsch concentrated on the 'restyling' and 'upgrading' (or, to use a fancy word, 'deconstruction') of conventional pieces of jewellery, modifying them while still preserving and respecting their history. Past exhibition titles have sometimes referred to this procedure - for example, his presentation at Art Amsterdam 2003 was called Refreshing Jewellery, An Affectionate Look at Old Jewellery. The same is also true of METROSIDEROS ROBUSTA. The title is the Latin name of the Northern rata, a tree which starts life as an epiphyte in the branches of another tree. As it grows the epiphyte rata sends roots down to the ground and eventually becomes independent of its host. Fritsch's early jewellery underwent a similar process. In recent years, however, his pieces have become entirely his own creation.

Fritsch manages to give a new and original twist to materials, techniques, conventions and ultimately to his own profession. His rings are made of gold, but it is dull; they are studded variously with gemstones or with glitzy pieces of glass; even finger marks serve as a form of decoration, as do what appear to be loose heaps of minuscule clay balls. Fritsch's trademark is the way he plays with clichés and breaks down stereotypes. The results can be truly spectacular.

This exhibition of work by Karl Fritsch is being held in Australia to mark the award of the biennial Françoise van den Bosch Prize 2006, accompanying this exhibition is the substantial publication Karl Fritsch - METROSIDEROS ROBUSTA.

Karl Fritsch (b. Sonthofen, 1963) lives and works in Munich. He trained in Pforzheim and Munich and is a member of a generation of goldsmiths/jewellery designers who quickly attracted international recognition through the experimental and mind-broadening nature of their work.

1- Founded in 1980, this prize is awarded every two years to a jewellery designer (generally with an international reputation) producing work of exceptional quality that is proving inspirational for a younger generation of artists. The independence of the award decision is guaranteed by the appointment of an international jury. For more information please refer to
2- Karl Fritsch - METROSIDEROS ROBUSTA, Darling Publications. Cologne & New York, 2006. ISBN: 978-3-939130-13-0. Ed. Andy Lim. The publication covers more than a decade of works by this young 'enfant terrible' German goldsmith known as 'Lord of the Rings'. This lavishly produced 2 kg monography presents 444 pgs, 21 x 24.5 cm, 6 sorts of luxurious paper with 24 chapters, 1093 photographs and 26 essays in 13 languages contributed by international experts: Robert Baines, Warwick Freeman, Helen Drutt, Graziela Folchini Grassetto, Hiko Mizuno, Paolo Tuminelli, Paul Derrez and more. Printed and bound in Germany, this book is released in a limited edition of worldwide 1000 books, making the number of books produced smaller than the amount of illustrations in a single publication. 


Gallery Funaki invites you to a special evening with the artist, when the exhibition may be viewed after hours and works may be reserved for sale.

Event date: Wednesday, 6 August 2008
Time: 5.30 – 7pm
Venue: RMIT Project Space/Spare Room
23-27 Cardigan St, Carlton

RSVP (acceptance only please) by Monday, August 4 to Mari or Katie at Gallery Funaki on 03 9662 9446 or email


karl Fritsch tour organised by Prof. Robert Baines, RmIT Gold and Siversmithing

Karl Fritsch is represented in Australia by Gallery Funaki (Melbourne, Victoria). 

Karl Fritsch. Ring: Untitled, 2006. Gold. Karl Fritsch
Ring: Untitled, 2006
© By the author. Read Copyright.
Karl Fritsch. Ring: Untitled, 2003. Silver oxidosed, rubies, sapphire, glass stone. Karl Fritsch
Ring: Untitled, 2003
Silver oxidosed, rubies, sapphire, glass stone
© By the author. Read Copyright.
Karl Fritsch. Ring: Untitled, 2006. Gold. Karl Fritsch
Ring: Untitled, 2006
© By the author. Read Copyright.
Karl Fritsch. Brooch: Untitled, 1998-2004. Silver, gold, copper, emerald, garnet, diamond, ruby, sapphire. Karl Fritsch
Brooch: Untitled, 1998-2004
Silver, gold, copper, emerald, garnet, diamond, ruby, sapphire
© By the author. Read Copyright.
Karl Fritsch. Brooch: Untitled, 1994-1997. Gold, brass, silver oxidised, steel. Karl Fritsch
Brooch: Untitled, 1994-1997
Gold, brass, silver oxidised, steel
© By the author. Read Copyright.