Hans Stofer on curating Schmuck 2018

Published: 15.01.2018
Hans Stofer
Hans Stofer

Hans Stofer
Edited by:
Handwerkskammer für München und Oberbayern
Edited at:
Edited on:

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The desire to adorn oneself with beautiful objects is very human - as is a tendency to create things out of an inner urge or motivation.
Jewellery fulfils both of these needs. It focuses on the person and the human form. The strength of jewellery lies in the fact that it is created by humans and for humans – and worn by them, too. This gives both the creator and the person wearing the object(s) an opportunity to express themselves, to define their artistic or personal style. It is crucial for jewellery to be wearable. Because only by virtue of being worn does it fulfil its role. As jewellery designer Therese Hilbert put it succinctly and poetically: “When it comes to objects, you step away FROM them, when it comes to jewellery, you step out WITH it.” And it is precisely this stepping out WITH the object that makes jewellery and adorning oneself so special. I am convinced that even convention-shattering, challenging jewellery is created with the aspects of the “wearer” and “wearability” in mind, and that these aspects play an important role in its creation – and that the notion of what constitutes a piece of jewellery will also form a central facet of the design process. What I love about jewellery is that it doesn’t need to be anything but jewellery. It doesn’t have to be art either. But I am convinced that making good and meaningful jewellery that is a pleasure to wear and moves us, that inspires and triggers an emotional-intellectual response, is an art in itself. In order to create such jewellery, you need a great deal of artistic talent and intuitive intelligence, and you need to be clear when it comes to your position as an artist. When looking through the portfolios submitted I was delighted to witness the incredible variety of jewellery creation, in fact it amazed me with each individual portfolio I looked at anew. Seeing this great diversity spread out on the table in front of me over time was a real joy.

What this means for JEWELLERY in Munich: the format and form of SCHMUCK, as it presents itself now and as exhibitors and visitors appreciate it, did not simply appear out of nowhere! Like many other things, SCHMUCK in Munich – as well as the surrounding scene which it has given rise to – stems from a very particular vision; it has its very distinct and special origins.

In order to cultivate such a colourful and inventive garden, you need gardeners with good organizational skills, you need fertile soil, a great deal of passion and the conviction that with the right combination this soil will bring forth something multi-facetted and unique. That is what has happened in the past – and will continue to happen in the future.

The Chamber of Crafts Trades received 920 portfolios this year. Tasked with selecting 65 artists from 920 portfolios in a limited amount of time forces you to start by setting aside everything you know. Images move past your eyes in a certain rhythm and some things will lodge themselves in your memory for reasons that are sometimes hard to define, or because the pieces in question have a distinctive, defining or strong presence. You work your way through this visual world slowly and after a while a structure takes shape, turning from an intuited image into something more concrete. This process reminds me of throwing a handful of light shreds of paper onto a rippling water surface and watching them become drawn to each other until this reconfiguration makes up an image on the surface of the water.

It is this new image which you will encounter at SCHMUCK 2018 in Munich – and I hope that my small contribution, supported by the two knowledgeable co-workers and co-gardeners Eva Sarnovski and Wolfgang Loesche, will help by adding to and expanding the overall picture of SCHMUCK beyond the event itself and inspire you to delve deep into the subject matter. The SCHMUCK landscape will change a little every year and expand – and that’s the way it should be.

That said, the desire to adorn oneself remains the same, even in our rapidly changing world. It is very human and guarantees that SCHMUCK and jewellery will continue to survive and thrive.