Material World

03 december 2013 / fashion / words adele chong

Weaving poignancy out of unconventional materials, international jewelry artists put on a gem of a group show in Hong Kong.


Eggshells by Noa Liran


While diamonds may be forever, the world of contemporary jewelry is giving that famous catchphrase a run for its money by repositioning the spotlight on baubles bearing a more offbeat make and shunning precious gems in favor of unexpected materials and techniques. Acknowledging this recent fascination with experimental incarnations of bling, Materiality, a group exhibition presented by Hong Kong’s AME Gallery, showcases the handcrafted pieces of 16 international artists renowned for their unorthodox interpretations of jewelry. Incorporating materials such as wood, textiles and even animal intestines, individual pieces boldly re-evaluate the physical and conceptual properties of featured materials.


Just One More by Lital Mendel


Culminating in a precarious balance between ornamentation and art object, highlights include a statement necklace by Lital Mendel titled Just Once More. Composed entirely of paper, the laborious construction of individual components defining the piece artfully touch on the Israeli artist’s ongoing obsession with tactility and repetitive patterns.


Yellow Richelieu 2013 by Viktoria Münzker


Viktoria Münzker’s ambiguously rendered brooch made from fish scales and aluminum similarly lays claim to the influence of biological frameworks; building on an unlikely fusion of materials, the combination gives way to visually arresting results. When you disassociate matter from its intended use, Münzker insists, it heightens the chances of achieving more engrossing results. “Whether alive or dead, animal or stone, everything has a chance to be,” she says.


Stone, Alive 1 by Joo Hyung Park


Of this persuasion is also Korean-born jewelry designer Joo Hyung Park. With an impressive background in metalsmithing, Park has long sought beauty in imperfection, having named an entire collection after this long-term inclination. In Materiality, the widely exhibited designer’s offering is a simple yet memorable piece that passively prods at the viewer’s imagination. Shifting beyond its intended use as a brooch/necklace/earring, the work — a small oval disc with a mildly crumbled surface — was derived through the painstaking process of compressing plastic sheets and combining these with glue and ink to create a viscous effect. As a finishing touch, a sterling silver base lends the concoction a raw industrial quality – and the vague feeling of adorning your daily attire with a miniature Arte Povera work. Citing the enlightened title of her piece, Park’s sentiments on her own work provide a more than fitting descriptor for the show in its entirety: “I use the most common materials to make my stone, alive.” 



(FROM LEFT) TIme Out 2013 by Kee Ho Yuen; 1st Series Brooch 2009 by Minwon Kim


Materiality runs until December 10 at AME Gallery, Hong Kong before a repeat showing at Shanghai’s J-Tour space in January 2014.

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