Brooches in Dialog between Past and Avantgarde

Thursday, 2. November 2023 - 0:00 to Sunday, 31. March 2024 - 23:45
Otto Klein & Co.. 1909-2011. Hanau, D. 1970. Fensteremaille, Brillanten, Rubine. Foto: Uwe Dettmar / Julia Obermaier. Brosche „Blühend / ABLOOM“. 2023. Bergkristall, Achat, Gießharz, Pigment, Edelstahl. Foto: Julia Obermaier

The German Goldsmiths’ House Hanau announces to visitors its new temporary exhibition in the Silver Room, “Brooches in Dialog between Past and Avantgarde”.

Needles and cloak pins are the forerunners of the brooch; they were used to hold garments together. While the progression to clasps and sew-on jewelry was made between the 16th and the 18th century, the brooch achieved its heyday as a decorative gem in the 19th. Almost 150 historical exhibits from a German private collection that spans three centuries form the basis of a spectacular interpretation of the development of pinned jewelry, under consideration of the different fashions. Floral decor, figurative scenes, portraits, and architectural depictions and landscapes are to be found among the diverse design approaches, which were realized according to the prevailing fashion in miniature format. There are reflections of the most diverse style movements, from classicism through the Victorian era, the Belle Époque, to art nouveau, art deco, and the modern period.

Jewelry artists, former students from the Hochschule Trier, Gemstones and Jewellery Course in Idar-Oberstein, each selected one brooch from the collection and, with their newly made creations, forged a compelling bridge between history and avantgarde: Sharareh Aghaei, Catalina Brenes, Patrícia Domingues, Natascha Frechen, Tatjana Giorgadse, Mira Kim, Felicia Mülbaier, Julia Obermaier, Sonia Pibernat, Constanza Salinas, Danni Schwaag, and Edu Tarín. Under the use of new materials and new technical possibilities, these artists demonstrate that the concept of a contemporary realization can be juxtaposed with a traditional piece of jewelry.

Sonia Pibernat worked on a polished steel brooch made in around 1860 and explains: “My work is about movement and spontaneity; I use the line as an element to express those two concepts. Collaborating with dancers and experimenting with my body has helped me develop a different understanding of space, to create new shapes and volumes. I had a strong connection with the piece I chose; when I saw it, my imagination quickly picked up on the contradictions that unite the two pieces, my chosen piece, and the gold brooch I made, and create harmony between them.” Edu Tarin selected a brooch with suspension loop from the London makers Howell, James & Co from the early 19th century: “This brooch catches my attention since it has a profound connection to my origins and my early days as a jeweler. I grew up in Valencia, Spain. It is a region known for a festival called Fallas, where women wear jewelry that reassembles late rococo pieces very similar to the one, I chose. I spent countless hours watching my father make those pieces, which are called joia (= jewelry in Valencian). Along with him, I made many pieces of jewelry in the family’s goldsmith workshop in Valencia—now I have returned there, to reinterpret them.”

The exhibition has been curated by Julia Psilitelis and Dr. Christianne Weber-Stöber.