The contemporary jewellery scene is a type of parallel world, and being part of Munich Jewellery Week makes you feel as if you’ve just slipped into the land of Harry Potter. As an initiate, you are privy to a bright world that puts wearable art at the centre of every thought and action. Having just returned from this immersive experience, my mind is still radiant with ideas.
As you walk around in this parallel Munich, you notice bright orange markers designating every one of the 90+ jewellery related events taking place all over the city during this week and marked on a corresponding map. You can easily spot your fellow MJW-initiates, clearly recognizable by the conspicuous brooches and neckpieces they wear, usually their own creations. No-one else wears brooches like that.
Moving around in this strange world, on the outskirts of pragmatic life but filled with boundless excitement, I was constantly oscillating between extreme, almost euphoric inspiration, and the most humbling, crushing sense of inadequacy. This is emotionally exhausting. Between gawking over my personal jewellery idols’ work, meeting friends, travelling all over the city, and feverishly planning my own next collection, there wasn’t much time for sleep either.
Below are some of the exhibitions, collectives and individual contemporary jewellers whose work spoke to me the most, in no particular order. Apart from the obvious grandeur of the SCHMUCK (the oldest contemporary jewellery contest of its kind) and TALENTE competitions, and the dazzling array of prestigious galleries featuring the stars of the jewellery world, I was particularly impressed by a Korean display done by the Korean Craft & Design Foundation. Their work was wildly experimental and colourful and daring, and at the same time meticulously executed with truly superior craftsmanship. I was in awe.
Other exhibitions that almost bewildered me with their sheer volume of ideas and different experimental jewellery approaches were 21 Grams, held at Galerie Handwerk, Schmuckismus at the Pinakothek der Moderne, and Interiores, an exhibition by Chilean jewellery collective Joya Brava. I particularly love how Joya Brava, as a group, displays a visual language that manages to marry ancient traditions and organic materials (such as weaving and felting techniques; materials like textiles, wool, straw, horse hair) with refreshingly experimental designs and new interpretations.
Individual artists whose work made my heart beat faster than it should, were, amongst many others:
Kira Fritsch (unfortunately none of her recent work which I loved so much is shown anywhere online, but luckily I have a card of a black twig-like brooch),
Liana Pattihis, whose enamelled chain work is breathtaking,
Carina Shoshtary, with her meticulously assembled graffiti-scaled organic forms,
Jilian Moore, with her deliciously glossy, brightly coloured acrylic creatures,
Andrea Wippermann, with her delicate imaginary compositions,
Vera Siemund, a long time favourite of mine, and
Sanna Wallgren, who must be one of the youngest people ever to participate in SCHMUCK.
Of course, there were many more whose work I found inspiring, but those above definitely touched me on a very personal, subjective level.
See you next year, Munich Jewellery Week!