The Evolution of a Contemporary Jewellery Fair. Interview with Marie-José van den Hout about FRAME

Published: 16.12.2018
Marie-José Van den Hout Marie-José Van den Hout
Carolin Denter
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Always fascinating and breathtaking, FRAME provides a setting for the special shows at "Handwerk & Design", where internationally renowned galleries present their jewellery and ceramic creations at the highest level. Klimt02 talked with Marie-José van den Hout from Galerie Marzee which was founded in 1978 as a gallery for contemporary jewellery, and has since become one of the principal promoters of contemporary jewellery and silverware. Since 1995 the gallery has been housed in a former granary on Nijmegen’s waterfront, midway between the two bridges that cross the river there. With 850 square meters of exhibition space, Galerie Marzee is one of the largest galleries in the Netherlands, and the largest gallery for modern art jewellery in the world.
Marie-José, you have been represented in Munich at Handwerk & Design for years now. In the beginning, you were responsible for the organisation and the management of FRAME. Since then, you have been the official partner of FRAME and the special exhibitions including SCHMUCK, EXEMPLA, TALENTE and MEISTER DER MODERNE. Please tell us your personal view about the history and development of FRAME and any major changes happening recently.
Schmuck, Exempla, Talente and Meister Der Moderne were already well-established within the Handwerksmesse when I started Frame in 2009. I thought it would be interesting to add another dimension to these iconic exhibitions so I discussed my ideas with Wolfgang Lösche, director of Schmuck and then Dieter Dohr, the director of the Handwerksmesse. We agreed to start a small fair and so I invited a few galleries to participate alongside Galerie Marzee. This select group forms a ‘frame’ around what I think is the most important jewellery event in the world. We have galleries from China and Korea joining us this year, reflecting the international reach of the fair.

  • We agreed to start a small fair and so I invited a few galleries to participate alongside Galerie Marzee. This select group forms a ‘frame’ around what I think is the most important jewellery event in the world.

Why is it important for a gallery to be represented at FRAME? Does FRAME appeal to a certain kind of collector?
We have kept Frame an intentionally small and select collection of extremely high-quality galleries who represent a diverse range of new and established international artists. Both private collectors, as well as museum curators from all over the world, come to Munich and so the exposure for the galleries and their artists is phenomenal. We see a lot of American and European collectors who come back year after year but being part of such a landmark event means we are always seeing new visitors who we hope might become the collectors of the future.

Display of Galerie Marzee at FRAME 2018 in Munich.

Can you, as the official partner, tell us more about the organization of the fair and the team you are working with, on both sides?
The team behind the fair are fantastic – incredibly professional, supportive and dedicated to the event and to the field of art jewellery itself. Over the years we have become a kind of family and every year when we meet it feels like a reunion. This, I think, is a large part of what makes the fair such a success.

Jewellery fairs and art fairs have been springing up across the globe in the past decade, causing the scene to talk of a global, let's call it “fair fatigue”. Where do you see the future of art fairs heading in general, and how is FRAME at IHM standing out in the crowded global contemporary jewellery scene?
This ‘fair fatigue’ is certainly not visible at Frame, which just seems to go from strength to strength. That said, in order to keep fairs interesting and innovative, I think organisers need to be fastidious in their selection of participants. For galleries, these fairs are the main platform for sales so it’s crucial that they are professional and relevant but also fresh and constantly evolving.
This isn’t just another fair. Behind the scenes, away from the crowds, it has become a place where connections are made and meetings arranged between galleries, collectors and artists.

  • This ‘fair fatigue’ is certainly not visible at Schmuck, which just seems to go from strength to strength.

How does the existing landscape of recurring galleries for contemporary Jewellery shape the atmosphere of FRAME?
As I said, Frame was established to complement the existing events at the fair. The galleries invited work closely together to make interesting and diverse presentations with this goal in mind. What Frame adds is a reminder that jewellery is made be worn, that it can be bought and collected.

Galerie Biro Junior at FRAME 2018 during Handwerk & Design Fair in Munich.
ATTA Gallery from Bangkok at FRAME 2018, representing artists from Thailand.
Galerie RA from the Netherlands showing a wide range of international works at FRAME 2018.

The special shows SCHMUCK, TALENTE and FRAME , in particular, generate a lot interest from the fair's visitors. How do you envision its future?
Schmuck, Talente and Meister der Moderne remain central to the IHM and continue to draw in a large international audience. Frame has a supporting role within this and together they all create a coherent event that is really worth visiting year after year.

What can the audience expect to discover next year at FRAME, and what are you the most excited about for 2019?
As ever, Galerie Marzee will show beautiful new work from our exhibitions over the last twelve months. Alongside contributions from Europe, Korea, and China, Frame in 2019 will once again welcome galleries from New Zealand and I always look forward to seeing what they will come up with. But, most of all, I am looking forward to seeing everyone again in person.

IWA overview shows featured NZ artists on the walls and selected NZ works on the tables at FRAME 2018.

What piece of advice would you like to give to the next generation of gallerists and exhibitors taking part in FRAME?
The best thing about the galleries that take part in Frame is that they already have their own unique vision and way of working – they don’t need my advice! As long as they stay true to that and continue to support the ethos of the fair, and each other, Frame will always be an exciting and stimulating place to visit.

About the Interviewee

Growing up in a family of revered ecclesiastical gold- and silversmiths Marie-José van den Hout, Director of Galerie Marzee, was captivated by the baroque craftsmanship of her grandfather. Alongside two of her brothers, she worked in her father’s workshop before studying gold- and silversmithing and then fine art at the Academy of Fine Arts in Maastricht. She established Galerie Marzee in Nijmegen (NL) in 1978 and today it is the largest independent art jewellery gallery in the world.
Marie-José van den Hout is a prominent advocate for young jewellery artists, bringing their work to an international audience through Galerie Marzee, and has curated exhibitions in museums and galleries all over the world.

About the author

Carolin Denter completed her training as Goldsmith at Master School for Craftsmen in Kaiserslautern in 2013. In 2015 she made an Internship at Klimt02, where she is working since 2016 as Content Manager. 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 part-time as Marketing and Design management Assistance at Campus Idar-Oberstein in the Gemstone and Jewellery Departement.