Hunter from Elsewhere. A Journey with Helen Britton at MJW 2023

Meeting  /  MunichJewelleryWeek2023  /  10 Mar 2023  -  11 Mar 2023
Published: 02.03.2023
Helen Britton being photographed for her retrospective Interstices..
Helen Britton being photographed for her retrospective Interstices.

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With a poetic approach, the filmmaker Elena Alvarez Lutz explores an unknown and highly inspiring universe. We travel with Helen Britton, seeking out lost workshops, forgotten artisans and processes fading in time, taking us from New South Wales to the German outback. Filmed over a four-year period, Hunter from Elsewhere is a reflection on art, memories and storytelling.

Artist list

Helen Britton
Hunter from Elsewhere - a Journey with Helen Britton (97 min, color, English and German with English subtitles)

A shiny blue bird in a thorny thicket of dark silver, stone drops falling from a metal cloud, a ghost train loaded with mysterious treasure – Australian artist Helen Britton’s pieces seem to emerge from some forgotten Wunderkammer. And yet her art is modern, avant-garde jewelry, sculptures and drawings, admired and collected around the world. 
The film follows her stalking through the German outback, seeking out abandoned workshops, forgotten artisans and manufacturing processes vanishing in time. Visiting the heavy industry sites of her Australian childhood in Newcastle NSW, stone carvers in Idar-Oberstein and glassblowers in Thuringia, we reach her Munich studio, where the artist amalgamates her capture, memories, and precious materials into timeless miniature sculptures.
Beyond a simple portrait, the film is a poetic, essayistic approach to a rarely documented creative genre and a subjective narration of a relationship between the protagonist, her work and the filmmaker. Filmed over a four-year period, it is a reflection on art, memories and storytelling, with insightful interviews with the artist's friends and colleagues. 

I met Helen Britton about twenty years ago, at Munich’s Academy of Fine Arts, where she was a guest student in Otto Künzli’s goldsmith class. I was sitting on the jury for the competition 'Film and Jewelry'. We screened a film, and the students had 48 hours to interpret it as jewelry. I clearly recall Helen’s object: She had sawed a hollow brooch from the handle of a toothbrush, rendering the essence of the film’s love story. The colored fragment shifting back and forth within the handle elicited in me a sensation of pain. I thought: how can a simple object rise such feelings?

Over the years, I have followed Helen’s development in Munich, the worldwide center of contemporary avant-garde jewelry. In my encounters with many other jewelry artists, I have reflected on what makes jewelry so existential, beyond its material value. What imbues a ring with significance? What lends one’s grandfather’s chain, and one’s mother’s earrings their meaning? What motivates international jewelry collectors on their hunt around the globe? 
Jewelry comes alive only when it is worn – when it becomes a talisman, a messenger from another world. Jewelry speaks a universal language - in every culture, in every family, and for each human being. It involves rituals, the body, space. Jewelry developed parallel to spoken languages - speaks of love, and respect, and is above all: communication.

/Elena Alvarez Lutz

Where and When:
Friday March 10th 5:30 pm at Neues Rottmann Kino: Rottmannstraße 15, 80333 München.
Saturday March 11th 12:30 pm at Theatiner Filmkunst: Theatinerstraße 32, 80333 München.
Hunter from Elsewhere Trailer.
Soundtrack: Radio Citizen - Bangu (N.Greffel). Sound Voyage - Super Molam (N.Schabel/T.Wieland)

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Helen Britton working on pieces for Wildstone..
Helen Britton working on pieces for Wildstone.

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Helen Britton in Mulubinbar, Newcastle..
Helen Britton in Mulubinbar, Newcastle.

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