The main thing is an eye-catcher

Author films, of course, they are a term. They designate films in which the director – and writer – determines all artistic aspects. The situation is similar in the case of author’s jewellery, a much less well-known movement which, since the 1960s, has brought together goldsmiths, artists and designers who see necklaces, bracelets, brooches and rings not just as functional ornaments but as works of art.

The Bröhan Museum now shows such individual pieces and small series by international jewelery artists, which are bought by collectors and museums more than given away for birthdays. In the “Jewellery & Garment” exhibition, which was originally conceived for the Museum of Applied Arts in Frankfurt am Main.

Fashion designers are known, jewelry designers not

The idea, which is unusual despite the relationship between the sister disciplines: Works by ten jewelery makers are juxtaposed with selected vintage pieces by ten fashion designers. Their names, including Yohji Yamamoto, Jean Paul Gaultier, Helmut Lang and Dries van Noten, sound much more familiar than those of jewelery artists such as Svenja John, Karl Fritsch, Petra Zimmermann or David Bielander.

Nevertheless, in the opening room, where a concentrated load of brooches are pinned onto dresses and jackets, it becomes clear that jewelry is clearly superior to textiles in the museum presentation. Some of the modern clothing classics from private collections simply look like Humana couture on the tailor’s dummies.

Only the evening dresses can keep up with the show values ​​of the pieces of jewellery. The fact that the latter can be found like Easter eggs in the rooms and showcases of the permanent exhibition “Art Nouveau and Art Deco” is actually a much better comparison.

From a block. Yutaka Minegishi’s amber ring from 2018.Photo: Petra Zimmermann

Suddenly, in a glass case showing gleaming brass tea machines from the turn of the century, you will find the “necklaces” by the Berlin jewelry artist Svenja John, which also work with geometric shapes. Their necklaces and brooches, which cite magnificent Renaissance jewellery, are elaborately crafted – but not from traditional precious metals, but from plastic.

[Bröhan-Museum, Schlossstr. 1a, Charlottenburg, bis 15. 1. 23, Di-So 10-18 Uhr]

David Bielander crafts his ironic “Banana” as a naturalistic version of the at Andy Warhol and other pop culture prophets as a silver necklace in a leather bowl. It’s a pity she’s not dangling in the “Bird Enclosure”, i.e. the display case with porcelain parrots and cockatoos from the turn of the century, which is in the next room. They would certainly have an appetite for it.

Portability is a secondary criterion

Bielander’s purple “Python” made of silver and titanium, which curls up on the floor, wraps around the wearer’s neck like a sprawling boa made of metal plates. The fact that such a piece is only suitable as jewelry for potential birds of paradise can be applied to many of the ones shown; also to the rings by Karl Fritsch, lavishly set with precious stones, which float over the back of the hand like little trees. Wearability is a secondary criterion in author’s jewelry.

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However, the plastic bracelets reminiscent of car tires and the sculptural rings that accompany the puristic white furniture in the room dedicated to minimalism seem to come from exactly the same spirit, even if the respective designers are a hundred years apart.

They are as wearable as the rings by Munich-based Japanese designer and goldsmith Yutaka Minegishi. He creates his works in a “not constructive, but reducing process” from a single block, often amber. The result is exciting untitled sculptures. Unlike the necklace “Birds in Winter” by Dorothea Prühl.

The professor emeritus at the Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design carved conical bodies out of cherry wood, roughly flattened them and threaded them together. The “chain” is a great piece that brings the wood material to life in a good sculpting way. Beautiful to look at, but difficult to put on.

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