Paul Derrez, Maker Jewellery and Objects 1975-2015

Exhibition  /  01 Nov 2015  -  17 Jan 2016
Published: 24.11.2015
Paul Derrez, Maker Jewellery and Objects 1975-2015.
CODA Museum
Drs. Carin E.M. Reinders

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CODA Museum presents the exhibition Paul Derrez, Maker. Jewellery and Objects 1975-2015. As founder of the famous Galerie Ra in Amsterdam, he is known as a promoter, wearer and collector of jewellery. With this museological presentation, a retrospective celebrating 40 years of jewellery and objects, CODA Museum pays tribute to Paul Derrez the maker. In honour of this ruby jubilee, an eponymous book exploring the motives and developments within his oeuvre will be published.

Artist list

Paul Derrez
When Galerie Ra opened in 1976, Paul Derrez decided that managing the gallery, putting all his time, attention and effort into it, would always be his priority. Nevertheless, parallel to this passion, sometimes in a trickle, other times in a flood, a large oeuvre of jewellery and objects developed. His work has been drawing international attention for years. In the exhibition Paul Derrez, CODA Museum offers a nearly complete overview of Derrez' work.
Paul Derrez designed his first jewellery in 1975 during his apprenticeship, which was part of his training as a goldsmith at the Vakschool Schoonhoven. As a young designer he made functional jewels that tied in with the aesthetics of the 1970s and 1980s. He came into touch with the Dutch jewellery avant-garde while working as an apprentice at Galerie Sieraad in Amsterdam. The minimalist designs and the use of semifinished materials such as tube, cork and Perspex dovetailed perfectly with his own way of working. Derrez says using non-precious metals offered him more creative freedom, yielding a purer result. He also developed a distinct style through the use of string for graphic solutions, Perspex for colour, aluminium for shine and glamour, and cork for solid shapes. The Wisselring from 1975 marks the powerful beginning of his professional career. The curved metal line only becomes wearable when combined with colourful Perspex. The perfection of the brightness and the excellent choice of materials for this jewel typify Paul Derrez' way of working.  
During the nineties, his designs acquired more personal overtones, and his work method was increasingly influenced by social developments. This resulted in pieces that are characterised by their humorous and sometimes provocative nature. The series Risky business (1994) and jewellery like the Pill Roulette-broche (2003) are direct reactions to contemporary phenomena. The most dramatic emotions in his work come together in the pendant Bleeding Heart (1996), with which he expressed his anger and grief over the deaths of friends, due to aids.
Being a great admirer of post-war Danish silverwork, Derrez discovered the artistic potential of silver forging later on in his oeuvre. What began with comical spoons shaped like little ghosts soon developed into larger pieces like bowls, jugs and boxes. By starting from other basic shapes than the round disc and by bending parts of the forged object, he creates new shapes. As in Derrez' other work, the vibrant use of transparent Perspex forms a familiar and vivacious contrast with the solid silver surface in these pieces, which often consist of pairs (two-piece works).
In the past few years, Derrez has been working from themes that unite his jewellery and his silverwork. The Confetti series, for instance, includes silver boxes with colourful lids and necklaces with whirling, multicoloured dots. The theme offered enormous potential, which tempted him to make larger-scaled works in public spaces, also on permanent display in CODA. In 2015, his scintillating Dot brooches were selected for the prestigious international jewellery exhibition Schmuck 2015 in Munich, and they also won him the Herbert Hofmann Prize 2015. The optimistic use of colour, perfect application of materials, and careful construction received high praise from both the spectators and the panel of expert judges. Paul sees the prize as a precious gift, but what makes him even happier is the realisation that a lot of people take great pleasure in wearing and using his jewellery.
Paul Derrez. Ring: Wissel-ring, 1975 - 76. Silver, tempex.. 2.5 x  2.7 cm. Paul Derrez
Ring: Wissel-ring, 1975 - 76
Silver, tempex.
2.5 x 2.7 cm
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Paul Derrez. Object: Tumbling Confetti boxes, 2014. Silver, acrylate. Paul Derrez
Object: Tumbling Confetti boxes, 2014
Silver, acrylate
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