It may be tucked away in a far corner of the annual International Trade Fair in Munich, but Schmuck is the most significant annual event on the international contemporary jewellery calendar. It’s little known outside the art jewellery platform but it’s been that way since 1959, when it was first established as a unique platform for jewellery artists to display their work.
Schmuck has always been a natural cultural exchange, as jewellers, gallerists and collectors converge from across the globe. This year's event inspired 700 submissions from 35 countries. And, with a week-long series of related events staged in varied major venues and pop-up satellite exhibitions across the city, Schmuck has become a crucial intellectual hub and a melange of new trends, ideas, and techniques.
The event also serves as a vital exploration of the nature of the contemporary jewellery scene – a movement that rattles common notions of jewellery as simply adornment by exploring it as a substantial art form. 'A characteristic of this year’s show is the broad range of materials employed and probed with respect to their design potential and expressive force,' says the show’s director Wolfgang Lösche.
On display was a pendant created from shell, brass and rubber, named 'Wearing Device for a Sea Shell' by its Norwegian creator, Sigurd Bronger; a brooch made from bamboo, nylon and gold by Tokyo jeweller Kazumi Nagano; and a necklace of leather, Tarmac and wood by Belgian jeweller Jorge Manilla.
'Unlike previous years, we asked a known collector – Vienna’s Dr Karl Bollman – to curate this year’s exhibition,' says Lösche. 'It’s a subjective choice but an informed one that reflects an openness to diverse design approaches.'