Review about SCHMUCK at Handwerk & Design 2019

Published: 26.04.2019
Carolin Denter Carolin Denter
Carolin Denter
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The special show is a forum for contemporary jewellery: many jewellery enthusiasts, collectors, gallery owners and museum curators from all over the world meet at the special show, which takes place every spring at the International Trade Fair in Munich, and at the numerous events which are grouped around SCHMUCK. On the occasion of its 60th anniversary, SCHMUCK once again showed selected works by talented newcomers and renowned artists.
Dr. Sabine Runde, chief curator of the Museum für Angewandte Kunst in Frankfurt for over 30 years, has selected 65 participants from 22 countries for SCHMUCK 2019. The highlight of every year is the presentation of the Herbert-Hofmann Prizes to three outstanding jewellery designers.

  • A sneak peek in numbers:
The special show SCHMUCK got applications from 762 goldsmiths of 58 countries, in the end, 65 participants from 22 countries were invited to participate in SCHMUCK 2019.

Already since 1959, the special show SCHMUCK has been shown every year in March at the International Trade Fair (IHM). The goldsmiths' examination of the aesthetics of our time makes the exhibition an impressive event every year, which attracts international attention. New, unusual solutions are just as important for the selection as the results of long, continuous work at a high level.

Each year, the fair receives around 700 applications for participation in the special show. An annually changing curator is responsible for the selection of the pieces. This guarantees that the exhibition will always develop its own unique character and show different works from different countries.

Lets have a look to all informations we got to the special show SCHMUCK and its Awards: The Herbert Hofmann Prize reminds of Dr. Herbert Hofmann, who founded the special show Schmuck in 1959. It is awarded annually to 3 contributions to the SCHMUCK special show. In each following year, this works are honoured with pictures and text in the SCHMUCK catalogue and the award-winning artists receive a certificate and a stele made according to designs by Hermann Jünger. The Bavarian State Prize honours one award winner, and every exhibitior at the International Crafts Fair can apply. The prize is awarded with 5,000 euros, a gold medal and a certificate. Every year, one jewellery artists gets highlighted at the special show under the title of "Klassiker der Moderne" which translates into " modern classics". This years selected was Daniel Kruger, who shaped the contemporary jewelelry world as artists, as well as teacher at Burg Giebichenstein Halle.
For the organisation of the special show  the "Gesellschaft für Handwerksmessen GmbH" takes responsibility, managed by Wolfgang Lösche and Eva Sarnowski, Chamber of Crafts for Munich and Upper Bavaria.

The highlight of the participating artists each year, is the presentation of the Herbert-Hofmann Prizes on Saturday. Guests gathered in front of the stage in Hall B1 at the Munich Exhibition Centre and attended the award ceremony. The winners of the Herbert Hofmann Prize 2019 were Junwon Jung from Korea, Misato Seki from Japan and Yutaka Minegishi from Japan. They were selected by the jury consisting of Cornelie Holzach, Sophie Hanagarth, Otto Künzli and Dr. Gert Bruckner.

For me the award winning work was surprising and for sure a highlight, but there are so many talented artists, its hard to talk about all of them. Far from the winners, i would like to point out some artists, which works or concepts really impressed me. Before getting started about the works I appreciate, I would like to critizise some parts of the show as well: My first impression of SCHMUCK is, as every year, that the presentation could be improved. On a professional level, i think the lighting situation, especially at the special show SCHMUCK, is not good at all. The light is not strong enough, as well as not in the perfect position to get the most out of the pieces. Another problem in general is, that there are too many pieces in the vitrines. This, i understand, is a luxury problem, as well as the fair has its limited spaces. But still, as someone who sees many exhibitions and events, it is important for me to communicate that even though SCHMUCK is one of the most renowned events, it has its flaws. The exhibition is well selected, and I experience the constantly changing selection of the artists, because of the different curators every year as something really positive. So, even though my cautious joy about the presentation, i am happy to introduce you to some fantastic works:

The "Mandala Brooch" is an outstanding piece born from the developmental process of Giovanni Corvaja. Transforming gold into a thin filament, made out of several kilometers of hand drawn wire. The whole structure owes its strength and rigidity to his own innovative constructive technique. The wire is bonded in a laboratory Ultra High Vacuum environment. There a sort of re-crystallization happens, metal forms new connections.

Mandala Brooch by Giovanni Corvaja, 2018, Gold, 6.3x6.3x1.6 cm.

Annette Dam is educated at Oslo National Academy of the Arts in Norway. She is currently based in Copenhagen, Denmark, from where she develops her one-of-a-kind artworks and coordinate exhibitions around the world. Annette Dam has repeatedly received grants from the Danish Art Foundation, she has been shown at Schmuck and awarded several prizes over the years. Her jewellery is created in a sensual and narrative universe preferably combining elements of seriousness and a sense of humor. All of it considered through both loving and critical perspective aiming for communicative art jewellery. She seeks to create works where the artistic, conceptual and handcraft meet, and through an investigative practice, the process serves as an active contributor to the design and final expression.

Annette Dam, Brooch: Getting Off The Rack #2 and #3, 2018, Left brooch: 14K gold, oxidized silver, tourmaline, verdelite, Right brooch: Oxidized silver, prasiolite, 9 x 6 x 2 cm, Photo by: Dorte Krogh.

Really interesting for me was to develop the work of Industrial designer Bárbara D'Ambra from Argentinia. She was selected for the second consecutive time to participate in the main exhibition of the Internationale Handwerksmesse Munich. Her pieces are sensual in shape, limited to squares and circles in which something starts to happen.  In her case, the limitation to geometric simple forms and colours such as black, white and nude are extremly important for the strenth of the piece. Tempted to say they are minimalistic in appearance, her pendants and brooches made from resin show such a feeling for beauty and technical skill. The forms of her works remind to the different parts of a body whit all its forms and shapes.

Bárbara D'Ambra, "Insinuaciones" Brooches, 2018, Resin, Gelcoat, Silver.

The next artist with a surprisingly strong feeling for shape and form is Joohee Han from South Korea, recent graduate from the Academy in Munich. She calls her works "Boney Petals" and was selected already 2017 as finalist for TALENTE. She constructs flowers from a filigree wire mesh, which seems to be a contradiciton to the flower itself. Searching for shape and questioning the process, she takes us in a somehow strangely futuristic flower meadow that could come from a steampunk novel.

Joohee Han, "Boney Petal 2", Brooch, 2018, Stainless Steel.

Always woth to see are the new techniques arising in the contemporary jewellery scene: As a pioneer of digital technology into art, Svenja John developed a preference for the precision of computer-controlled techniques. In 1994, John started working with Makrolon®, a polycarbonate that is frequently used in car manufacturing. Using CAD technology, she cuts the material into parts that then, after processing and colouring, become components of her complex, geometric jewellery. Rapid prototyping - a collective name for technologies that enable the swift creation of physical prototypes - has been part of her work process since 2008. By employing 3D printers that can print different materials simultaneously, she combines design and the application of a variety of colours in one process. Formal and technical solutions come together in harmony. However, it is not perfection, but esprit that determines the character of John’s jewellery. Svenja John: “I do not use synthetic material in a decorative way or as a cheap substitute. Rather, I try to understand synthetic material for its own advantageous properties and its unique character. Synthetic material can be colourful and garish, luminously transparent or gracefully translucent. It can be sleek and cold or with fine pores and buffed. As a material it is practical or the mediator of a tactile moment.”
She thus creates semi-opaque clusters and structures that remind one of scientific models, of crystalline and organic structures. She wants to research on questions, for instance, how does modern technology relate to the artisanal efforts of the artist, and what do new techniques do to the magic and mystery of making and creating? What does modern technology mean to artistic practice, and what motivates artists to integrate these new techniques into their work?

 Svenja John, Necklace, "Bombilla", 2018. Polycarbonat Makrolon®, Nylon flexibel 3D-Printed, Finest Pigment Acrylic Paint. Photo by: Ludger Paffrath.

The next artist, which we will hear of in the future, is Jiun-You Ou from Taiwan. She recently graduated with a Master of fine Arts in Gemstones and Jewellery in Idar-Oberstein.
Although her works are developed with various media, material and working methods, they are all concerning her body experiences and life history. When I work with installations, I am an incompetent storyteller; when I work with raw materials, I am a bricoleur. Based on her life history and illness experiences, Ou Jiun-You cares about the fine line between effectiveness and ineffectiveness. Thus, her concerns reflected in her work often refer to a binary system. Her ongoing project is inspired by bricolage defined by anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss. Under this approach, she builds her mythology by making objects from waste metal as well as concentrates on the connections between intuition and the working method.

  Jiun-You Ou, Brooches, Yàn, 2018, Ink stone, leftover ink, sterling silver, stainless steel.

Artist number 7 on my list is Sanna Wallgreen from Sweden. I am familiar by her work, and i have to say i have a thing for nordic jewellery in general. She likes to experiment with her materials and during her investigations she came up with the idea of using aluminium, to interpret topics like body, disease and decay, and her own experience of and in her own body. Her degree work was titled "Hole" which she uses as a mantra, or guide. In repetative movements she perforates the aluminium, to give it the feeling of an almostorganic material. Sanna says about her work: I see my jewelry as a filter, though it I see the world differently. My fears of illness and the decay of the body switches into becoming something else. By drilling thousands of holes in silhouettes inspired by the inside of the body, I create a material that can be experienced almost as if it breathes. It goes beyond the obvious and becomes a mutation of the body, which allows the inner world to meet the outer. I want to fictionalize the reality and distort it in a playful way. An uncanny-sci-fi body. A conscious misinterpretation of reality.

Sanna Wallgren, Neckpiece, Teats, 2018, Anodized aluminium, nylon string.

Here you can read more about the  Selected Artists from SCHMUCK 2019 or the Special Show SCHMUCK.

About the author

Carolin Denter completed her vocational training as Goldsmith at Master School for Craftsmen in Kaiserslautern in 2013. 
In 2017 she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Gemstone and Jewellery at University of Applied Science Trier, Campus Idar-Oberstein. After her graduation, she started working as Marketing- and Designmanagement Assistance at Campus Idar-Oberstein at the Gemstone and Jewellery Departement. Since 2015 she is working at, an online platform for the communication of contemporary jewelery. Trough articles and interviews she is developing critical subjects on the field of contemporary jewellery. Carolin is constantly working on her own jewellery, which has been exhibited among Europe.