Precious Thoughts 4

Exhibition  /  19 Dec 2008  -  22 Feb 2009
Published: 16.12.2008
Oratorio di San Rocco
Via Santa Lucia
049 8204527
Mirella Cisotto Nalon Alessandra De Lucia
Dorothea Prühl. Earrings: Golden flowers, 1988. Gold.. ? 6,5 cm. Property of the artist. Photo by Helga Schulze –Brinkop.. Dorothea Prühl
Earrings: Golden flowers, 1988
? 6,5 cm
Property of the artist. Photo by Helga Schulze –Brinkop.
© By the author. Read Copyright.

For the first time in Italy, visitors will be able to admire the work of Dorothea Prühl and of six other artists who trained at the Halle School, where Prühl was first a teacher and then, from 1991, headed the Jewellery Section, after the great Renate Heinze. (...)

Artist list

Dorothea Prühl and the Halle School
This is the fourth edition of  "Pensieri preziosi" ("Precious Thoughts"), following on from the large exhibition "Gioielli d'autore - Padova and its Goldworking School". Thus, a typically Paduan tradition and a special itinerary continue and are consolidated, aiming at analysing and enhancing our knowledge of artistic jewellery.

It was precisely the foresight and artistic sensitivity of Renate Heinze and Dorothea Prühl which, from 1970 onwards (in 1969 jewellery-making was recognised as a separate discipline) gave an extraordinary stimulus to this particular sector, emphasising single, unique pieces and their artistic value. Although Heinze and Prühl initially found themselves in an unreceptive, conservative environment (in the 1950s and 1960s, the School had focused on industrial production, giving rise to repetitive, cold, impersonal works), the two women brought a breath of fresh enthusiasm and novelty to their work and, with unusual energy and resolute determination, significantly changed the way of conceiving jewellery and of making it. Thus, a jewel became an artistic object, the result of a plan, the development of an idea, which often found its main source of inspiration in the natural world surrounding it.

This source remained a narrative: there was a tendency to accentuate its plastic quality and to interpret it while maintaining the figurative side, although a need to pass to abstraction was sometimes felt which, in any case, retained the essence of a jewel without representing its objective form. Jewellery conserved its functional character, while the project for a single piece or a small series of pieces did not reject a social need for self-assessment and self-representation, the wish to express feelings and to stimulate others, to represent the attraction of small-scale work, to bridge the gap between creator and wearer.

Enormous importance was given to the study and choice of materials, which became essential, irreplaceable instruments for the proper development of an artistic project, and which remained intimately associated with that project, influencing its beginning, course, development and final outcome. Metal surfaces were treated in new ways; irregularities and imperfections were preferred; materials were often left unworked or only slightly worked, in order to reinforce their intrinsic expressive power; size became important. Materials previously regarded in traditional goldworking as unusual, such as aluminium, copper, zinc, iron, steel, titanium, horn, bone, wood, string, fabrics, porcelain and plastic, were all adopted, following similar trends in other important European goldworking schools which, unlike Halle, had been aiming towards conceptualism and abstraction since their inception. At Halle, instead, the primary source of inspiration remained natural reality, organic, phenomenal. The intention was to express both its aspects, narrative and symbolic.

The importance of the Halle School - so little known in Italy, yet so similar in its history, in its line of reasoning and its teaching methods, to the Paduan School, founded in 1866 by the marquis Pietro Estense Selvatico - convinced us of the importance of presenting in the fourth edition of "Pensieri preziosi" Dorothea Prühl and six other artists of singular excellence, who all trained at the "Castle School" and who, in their many aspects in common, differences in results, clearly defined personalities, and individual expressive capacities, followed in her footsteps. They are: Antjie Braürer, Kathleen Fink, Beate Klockmann, Rudolf Kocéa, Christiane Matthias and Vera Siemund.

Examining the separate creative itineraries of these artists, we can see how Prühl's masterly teaching and the guidelines laid down by the School are emphatically alive and present in their works. Yet they all demonstrate how they interpreted the teaching they had received in individual, highly personal ways. They remain faithful to their love of narrative and attracted to everything which surrounds them, from nature to daily life, described according to explicitly figurative models, even at moments when the general line appears to move tendentially in the opposite direction, or sometimes, mainly more recently, when it tends towards simplification of traits, aiming at essentiality to the point of reaching abstraction. Interior worlds are connected to a personal vision of reality, in an investigative search ready to surprise and be surprised, to play with memory, to concentrate feelings, memories and emotions in that microcosm which is a jewel. For all the Halle artists, a jewel remains the true mirror of a perceptive appearance, physical, direct, interpreted and translated, a focus for research, a meeting of rational and affective needs, a unique and "precious" object - not for its material value, but above all for what it expresses and recounts.
Dorothea Prühl. Brooch: Silver frogs, 1986. Silver.. 5,5 cm. Property of the artist. Photo by Helga Schulze–Brinkop.. Dorothea Prühl
Brooch: Silver frogs, 1986
5,5 cm
Property of the artist. Photo by Helga Schulze–Brinkop.
© By the author. Read Copyright.
Dorothea Prühl. Necklace: Birds in the air, 2007. Steel, gold.. 17 cm. Property of the artist. Photo by Helga Schulze-Brinkop.. Dorothea Prühl
Necklace: Birds in the air, 2007
Steel, gold.
17 cm
Property of the artist. Photo by Helga Schulze-Brinkop.
© By the author. Read Copyright.
Dorothea Prühl. Earrings: Star and ball, 1973. Gold.. 5 cm. Property of the artist. Photo by Walter Danz.. Dorothea Prühl
Earrings: Star and ball, 1973
5 cm
Property of the artist. Photo by Walter Danz.
© By the author. Read Copyright.
Dorothea Prühl. Brooch: Swan, 1991. Wood, gold.. 4 cm. Property of the artist. Photo by Helga Schulze-Brinkop.. Dorothea Prühl
Brooch: Swan, 1991
Wood, gold.
4 cm
Property of the artist. Photo by Helga Schulze-Brinkop.
© By the author. Read Copyright.