Refined, individual and definitely Estonian. The works of Kadri Mälk

Article  /  AnaCampos   Artists   KadriMälk
Published: 05.12.2018
Kadri Mälk photographed by Tanel Veenre. Kadri Mälk photographed by Tanel Veenre.
Ana Campos
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Kadri Mälk. Brooch: Duende 2, 2016. Painted cibatool, silver, gold, aquamarines, paint.. Photo by: Tiit Rammul. Kadri Mälk
Brooch: Duende 2, 2016
Painted cibatool, silver, gold, aquamarines, paint.
Photo by: Tiit Rammul
© By the author. Read Copyright.

Kadri Mälk is an Estonian jewellery artist living in Tallinn and she’s a Professor of the jewellery course at the Estonian Academy of Arts. Before starting in jewellery, she studied painting and only then she decided to invest in the art of creating jewels. She was 28 or 29 years old when she graduated. She is the starting point of a generation whose work is refined, individual and definitely Estonian. She kept herself as a freelance artist and worked alone for about nine years. In the meantime, she was invited to teach.
Kadri Mälk, Melancholy. Brooch, 2017, Moleskin, oxidized silver, fine gold, citrines, spinel, haematite. Photo by Tiit Rammul.

Kadri Mälk, Beyond Closed Eyelids. Neckpiece, 2016, silver, diamond coated and black rhodium-plated silver chain, gold, jet, citrin, smoky quartz, tourmaline-indigolite, precious corals. Photo by Tiit Rammul.

Initially, that represented solely a small workload, happening once a week. She enjoyed staying in her studio and working according to her own schedule. She wasn’t attached to delivery dates. It was a kind of wildlife, a way of life that she really appreciated.

Kadri Mälk, Life’s Ice Rinks. Neck jewellery, 2017, lepidomelanite, smoky quartz, jet, silver, black diamonds, haematite chain, spinel chain. Photo by Tiit Rammul.

After her graduation, she started doing some studies on stonework. The first took place in San Petersburg, in a huge stone-cutting factory that was supplied with high-quality raw materials from Siberia. That was when she started to study gemmology in Finland, at the Lahti Design Institute, for two years, and for some time in Germany, with Bernd Munsteiner.
Kadri Mälk’s work is dark, poetic and has a very unique voice. Using traditional jewellery materials like gold, silver, precious stones, jets and fur, she creates jewels whose melancholic fragrances permeate all her work.

Kadri Mälk, Protected. Brooch, 2017, sword sheath tip with cross pattern from 11.-12. Century, bronze, silver, raw aquamarine, tourmaline-indigolite, bronze chain. Photo by Tiit Rammul.

She appreciates the dusk, for its darkened colours and emanating tones. These colours are depicted in her pieces of jewellery, hence they are often dark, as illustrated by this article’s images. Kadri Mälk paints with the black – in all its possible shades, from black to anthracites and purples. Her work is associated with a poetic overtone, correlated with that same penumbra that inspires her. The pieces are almost always ornamented with pearls or stones of strong colours. She regularly creates brooches, but her work also includes necklaces and, sometimes, rings.
She creates non-figurative pieces. Each piece has its own title. These are helpful when it comes to reading the meaning of each piece, although we often have to rely on the translation from Estonian to the language we speak. They metaphorically represent elves and figures who populated the evening.
Kadri Mälk exhibits regularly in many countries in Europe and in the United States. She has been the curator of several exhibitions of Estonian jewellers, sometimes associated with artists from other countries, with shows in Tallinn and other European cities, in museums, galleries, churches and cemeteries.
Kadri Mälk, Blue Flower, brooch 2018, black quartz, white gold, silver, blue Cambodian zircon, paint. Photo by Tiit Rammul.

Kadri Mälk, Home, neck jewellery, 2017, silk embroidery, oxidized silver, almandines. Photo by Tiit Rammul.

Article courtesy of Ana Campos and Umbigo Magazine

About the author

Ana Campos was born in Porto, Portugal, in 1953. She is a jeweler and is also dedicated to research in this area. In the field of teaching, she taught design and theories of the art and design of contemporary jewelery. Until 2013, she was director of the arts / jewelery business and coordinator of the post-graduation in jewelery design at ESAD - School of Arts and Design, in Matosinhos, Portugal. It has been dedicated to curating and producing national and international jewelery exhibitions. Graduated in Communication Design at FBAUP. He studied jewelery at Ar.Co, Lisbon and at the Massana School, Barcelona, ​​as a scholarship holder at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. He holds a postgraduate degree in Intercultural Relations from Universidade Aberta, Porto, which led to a masters degree in Visual Anthropology, whose dissertation is entitled "Cel i Mar: Ramón Puig, actor in a new jewelery scene". The orientation was by José Ribeiro. She is currently a PhD in philosophy at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. He finished his PhD in 2014, with the guidance of Gerard Vilar. He developed a thesis entitled: "Contemporary jewelry as art: a philosophical study".