Sigurd Bronger or The Mechanics of Absurdity in Paris

Exhibition  /  05 Nov 2022  -  31 Dec 2022
Published: 04.11.2022

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LA Joaillerie by Mazlo welcomes Sigurd Bronger for his first solo exhibition in France. Build in collaboration with the Robert Mazlo Endowment Fund for Art and Contemporary Art Jewellery, the Alice Art Foundation, and the Arketip Association, the exhibition offers a glimpse into the Norwegian artist's quirky universe through some twenty of his most recent or emblematic works.

Artist list

Sigurd Bronger
Internationally recognized, winner in 2012 of the coveted Torsten and Wanja Söderbergs Design Award and soon to be honored by the Neue Sammlung in Munich for a retrospective that already promises to be the event of the 2024 edition of the Schmuck Woche, Sigurd Bronger remains largely unknown to the French public. The opportunities to see his work are, actually quite rare: in Paris, the luckiest ones have been able to admire some of his works exhibited in 2013 by Norway, during the first edition of the Révélations fair of which the country was the guest of honor.

Yet, for more than thirty years, Sigurd Bronger has been standing as a maverick figurehead in the international experimental jewelry scene, for in him Homo Faber and Homo Ludens merge to create an original figure of jeweler-engineer. This designation fits this artist like a glove since he has long abandoned the essentially ornamental function of jewellery. Since the end of the 90s, he has concentrated on the elaboration of objects based on the principle of the ready-made, which he names wearable devices and designs to stage all sorts of things. Some are drawn from the most prosaic everyday life - soap, eraser, used sole, sink drain -, while others - nautilus, eggs - have more to do with the Naturalia of the cabinets of curiosities. Anyway, all of them are conceived with rigorous precision, the result of his classical training as a jeweler and clockmaker.

One could say that his works combine the absurd humor of the Monty Pythons with the technical sophistication of toyware, the industry that made London famous in the 18th century. At the time, genius craftsmen-entrepreneurs like James Cox took advantage of technological advances in the manufacture of scientific instruments and precision tools by combining them with the techniques of watchmaking and jewellery to create objects that were both beautiful and entertaining, thus contributing to the rising of a new technical culture. Sigurd Bronger is fully in line with this tradition, even if his inventions arouse a smile rather than blissful admiration. As he confesses himself, it does not matter to him to create A beautiful or ugly jewel, the idea is to create an interesting object. An object capable of entering into communication with the viewer, challenging him, of arousing emotion, and even hilarity. His wearable devices are almost systematically based on striking contrasts, not to say unnatural, associating a mechanical system with a cold and minimalist aesthetic acting as a supporting and perennial structure with an ordinary or fragile, even perishable object.

Sigurd Bronger likes to shake up the conventions and unspoken expectations surrounding jewellery, traditionally considered a symbol of power and status. He also plays with its limits and the constraints of wearability. He proposes a jewel with utopian accents, evocative of wonder, whose dimensions often flirt with monumentality. His works seem to abstract from the laws of physics and transcend appearances: be it of a hen, goose, duck, or ostrich, the egg mounted in a ring or a brooch is certainly envisioned as a marvel of nature but most of all as a perfect geometric form. It materializes an objective beauty, a device created by nature to host life.

Each of Sigurd Bronger's works is the result of a long and laborious process of creation; the artist produces no more than two or three objects a year. Each one is accompanied by a box, custom-made by its inventor in the purest tradition of the cases of measuring and optical instruments that appeared with the scientific revolution. The assembly procedure of its different parts imposes a sort of ceremony before wearing the jewel, blurring, even more, the boundaries between instrument and work of art.

For The Void, his latest series, several pieces of which will be unveiled during this exhibition, he returns to the element of Air, a theme that is particularly dear to him and that has infused his work since the beginning. But unlike artists like Tatline or Panamarenko, Sigurd Bronger does not consider air as an element to be conquered or mastered. Rather, for him, Air is a manifestation of the genius of nature in its most modest, elusive form. For what is more ordinary and better shared than the air we breathe? Thus, the artist endeavors to reveal the marvelous or the funny that is hidden behind the apparent banality of air: either by using it to set a mechanism in motion, as with the Turbine necklace, or to bring out a shape, with the Balloon Brooch, or a sound with the Sound Brooch.

The Void remains in this vein.

Using new or used boxes made of plain cardboard, this series questions the purpose of an object diverted from its original function: What is a box, once deprived of its content? Is it a useless and disposable object or a valuable one worthy of being kept? And what about the air encapsulated in this box? Couldn't it, like a precious stone, formed over millions of years in the depths of the earth, constitute an ornament? Doesn't this apparent void represent, despite appearances, the quintessence of life?

In other words, Sigurd Bronger invites us to adopt new perspectives, to observe these small insignificant things that populate our daily lives from a different angle, while avoiding any moralization. Behind the strength of the concepts and the perfection of the execution, his art is never presumptuous nor polarizing, quite the contrary. And if we had to choose a soundtrack to accompany the visit to this exhibition, perhaps we would recommend whistling along with Eric Idle who, in the final scene of the anthology of the Life of Brian by the Monty Python invites the hero, from top of his cross, to always look on the bright side of life!

Opening Reception: Saturday 5th November 2022, 3 pm until 7 pm

Opening Hours: from Tuesday to Saturday: 2-7 pm.
Or by appointment.
Sigurd Bronger. Brooch: Carrying device for a camel excrement, 2018. Gold plated brass, camel excrement, steel, 18ct white and yellow gold.. ø 7.5 cm. Sigurd Bronger
Brooch: Carrying device for a camel excrement, 2018
Gold plated brass, camel excrement, steel, 18ct white and yellow gold.
ø 7.5 cm
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Sigurd Bronger. Pin: Golden pin, 1989. 18ct gold.. Sigurd Bronger
Pin: Golden pin, 1989
18ct gold.
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Sigurd Bronger. Brooch: Smiley Brooch, 2018. Silicon rubber, steel, oxidized silver.. Sigurd Bronger
Brooch: Smiley Brooch, 2018
Silicon rubber, steel, oxidized silver.
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Sigurd Bronger. Brooch: Sustainable Construction Nr. 821, 2022. Steel, silver, brass, cardboard box.. Sigurd Bronger
Brooch: Sustainable Construction Nr. 821, 2022
Steel, silver, brass, cardboard box.
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Sigurd Bronger. Brooch: Suntainable Construction Nr. 341, 2021. Chrome-plated brass, steel, cardboard.. Sigurd Bronger
Brooch: Suntainable Construction Nr. 341, 2021
Chrome-plated brass, steel, cardboard.
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Sigurd Bronger. Brooch: Sunstainable Construction Nr. 341, 2020. Silver, steel, brass, cardboard, nylon tread.. Sigurd Bronger
Brooch: Sunstainable Construction Nr. 341, 2020
Silver, steel, brass, cardboard, nylon tread.
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