Unique is definitely the long history of SCHMUCK. Wolfgang Lösche and Eva Sarnowski on SCHMUCK in Munich. An interview by Klimt02

Published: 06.03.2018
Carolin Denter
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Edited at:
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Eva Sarnowski and Wolfgang Lösche..
Eva Sarnowski and Wolfgang Lösche.

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SCHMUCK is a special show of the International Trade Fair for the Skilled Trades taking place in Munich in March each year since 1959. Jewellery art reflects its day and age. Artists may refer to a political or social background, they may be rooted in fashion or arts. The high standards and stunning inventiveness of its participants turn the international special show SCHMUCKinto a renowned show case for trends in jewellery art world wide.

Please explain to us: What is unique about SCHMUCK and your mission? What was the inspiration for the award and the special show?
Unique is definitely the long history of jewelry. Their success did not came from nothing, as Hans Stofer, fortunately, expressed it in his statement for SCHMUCK 2018, because it is also our conviction that this idea was worked for decades in great continuity. It was founded in a time that wished more Europe. In Munich, the craft fair was founded in 1949. At that time there were already craft trade shows. In 1958 the World Fair took place in Brussels. This exhibition had a major impact on European networking.

In 1959, the special show SCHMUCK by Herbert Hofmann was launched to give the goldsmith's craft greater attention even in international comparison. As a European, it was important for Herbert Hofmann, in the name of European unification, to organize exhibitions at the craft fair but also in the Chamber of Crafts for Munich and Upper Bavaria, for example from Israel, Italy, Eastern Europe and the Scandinavian countries. Already at that time the good relations were established, which characterizes our work today. The special show "SCHMUCK" proved to be a great success and was repeated annually. When Herbert Hofmann died in 1971, the fair decided to launch a Herbert Hofmann Memorial Award. In 2008 we made a catalog for the Herbert Hofmann Prize for the 50th anniversary of "SCHMUCK". In this catalog, you can read the full story.

We see our task as organizers of the special show "SCHMUCK" in the documentation of international contemporary jewelry. We are interested in both, the development of well-known jewelry designers as well as the tracing of newcomers. Internationality and global networking are particularly important to us.

What is the biggest challenge you have overcome by creating a special show centered around Jewellery? How has that impacted the way the whole fair has developed? 
One of the biggest challenges was to enable and ensure the continuity of the special show over so many years. Over the years, the strong internationality of SCHMUCKhas led to the founding of the three other special shows Exempla, Talente and Meister der Moderne and finally to Frame, the presentation of international jewelry galleries. For 15 years now, we have been able to observe a tremendous increase in interest from visitors from all over the world who are traveling to Munich specifically for this event. The opening of the Danner Rotunda in the Pinakothek der Moderne and the activities of some state and municipal museums, institutions and galleries have contributed their part.

How did SCHMUCK evolve as part of the Handwerk and Design? Why do you think jewellery took a particular place in this environment?
As already mentioned, the internationality of SCHMUCK has affected the fair and especially the craft and design theme.
Like all special shows, SCHMUCK has the task of setting a special accent within the trade fair. It has been particularly successful in becoming a globally significant competition.

 What are your ambitions going forward for the show? Is there a big distinction between its past editions and what are this year's highlights?
Our first goal is to ensure the future of the special show, to follow the changing priorities of jewelry education, or to discover countries that may have played a less important role in the jewelry industry. We see an important task in the involvement of international experts who make suggestions or who serve as jurors for the special show.
The contributions of  the SCHMUCK are selected since 1995 by an exceptional person. Each exhibition also reflects the personal taste of this person and it´s always something different. Through the retrospectives of the classics of modernity, we set a special focus every year. The highlights of this year's SCHMUCK are very beautiful materials, a lot of poetry and expansive works. As a representative for the classics, there is a presentation by Otto Künzli, who was not yet represented in the SCHMUCK to this extent.

Otto Künzli, Collier. Untitled, 1986
Wood, Steel


SCHMUCK is the most important Jewellery show and one of the most prestigious awards in Europe. What makes Munich a good Location for the SCHMUCK?
As Bavarian state capital, Munich has a great tradition of promoting culture. The presence of two important academies for fine arts in Nuremberg and Munich is something special. In addition, institutions such as the Chamber of Crafts, the Danner-Stitung, the Bavarian Arts and Crafts Association, Die Neue Sammlung, the International Design Museum and the City of Munich and a large number of galleries promote contemporary crafts and, to a lesser extent, jewelery.

With the rise of social media, we are seeing an increasing amount of artists exhibit and even sell their works through online platforms such as Instagram. What do you make of this trend? Does it affect the nature of the SCHMUCK or how its run?
Of course, social media is very important. Jewelry is, in our opinion, something very personal and needs the direct connection to the human body. For us, the quality of the exhibition is the most important.

What do you think about the growing side programme of SCHMUCK, such as the exhibitions and shows which conquer the city of Munich?
The jewelry events within the SCHMUCK are wonderful. They are alive and various. The artists use the most important modern forms of communication.
For us, it is an incredible phenomenon, that such an enormous framework program without specific management has developed on its own. The number of events that is on offer today, has grown so much that you can also ask yourself if it is not too extensive by now. As with all such events, however, everyone has to decide for themselves. Still, it's nice to see hundreds of goldsmiths from all over the world meet each year on Saturday night, at a get-together in one of Munich's most famous brewery restaurants.
Lisa Walker, Bracelet: Fischli And Weiss Bracelet, 2015.
Shoes. 40 x 40 x 10 cm
Photo by: Lisa Walker


About the Interviewee

Wolfgang Lösche is head of the department of exhibition and fairs at the Chamber of Skilled Trades (Munich and Upper Bavarian County). He has been in charge of the SCHMUCK and Talente exhibitions for the past 10 years. Lösche is responsible for picking an external juror for each year’s selection. Lösche makes sure that SCHMUCK gets plenty of exposure abroad. Past touring destinations have included: Dublin, Ireland (1991); Kilmarnock, Scotland (2002); New York, New York, USA (2006); Padua, Italy (2007); Birmingham, England and Lodz, Poland (2008); Melbourne, Australia (2009); and Cagnes-sur-Mer, France (2011). Finally, Wolfgang Lösche is manager of Galerie Handwerk, the Chamber of Skilled Trades’ retail gallery. Each year, Galerie Handwerk organizes seven exhibitions showcasing different arts and crafts disciplines, as well as an international jewelry exhibition during Schmuck.

Eva Sarnowski was born in Munich in 1960. After completing secondary school, she devoted herself to social work and spent a few semesters at the LMU in Ethnology, studying German as a foreign language. After a stay in Paris and a language diploma in 1986, she worked for the Chamber of Crafts for Munich and Upper Bavaria. She manages the partnership of the Chamber of Crafts with the Bretagne and works in the department of fairs and exhibitions. Since 1989 she has been the organizer of the special show SCHMUCK for the Internationale Handwerksmesse. Her Job is her passion, especially once she has been infected with the jewelry virus.

About the author

Carolin 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 as Bachelor of Fine Arts in Gemstone and Jewellery at Univeristy of Applied Science Trier, Campus Idar-Oberstein. After her graduation she started working  part time as Marketing and Designmanagement Assistance at Campus Idar-Oberstein in the Gemstone and Jewellery Departement.