Jacqueline Rabun’s exhibition on modernist jewellery design, part of NYC Jewelry Week, is currently on show at New York’s Mahnaz Collection gallery, with ‘Meditations on Modernism: Thirty Years of Jewelry Design by Jacqueline Rabun (1990-2022)’ considering the impact of the cultural movement.
‘It is important for me to exhibit my work in America after living in London for the past 32 years,’ Rabun says. ‘I wanted to bring it home. I also feel it is important to inspire and educate the next generation of jewellery designers through this exhibition.’
The retrospective of Rabun’s career so far is accompanied by Nordic modernist jewellery works, which encompass a brutalist simplicity often reflected in Rabun’s own pieces, displayed both in her early and current work for Georg Jensen and in her minimalist new designs featuring hand-carved gemstones.
‘The exhibition is a journey that begins with my early work, “Raw Elegance”, a series of hand-sculpted pieces cast in sterling silver and the journey to a more refined expression in my current designs,’ Rabun adds. ‘We will also showcase works from my long-term collaboration with Georg Jensen and my limited-edition pieces for Carpenters Workshop Gallery. My interpretation is through a more minimalist approach to design, extracting what is not necessary and leaving what is important for the wearer to experience.’
Nearly 120 pieces of jewellery will be on display in a criss-cross of cultural references, demonstrating a shared commitment to sensual and sculptural forms. ‘In certain ways, Jacqueline follows in a line of pathbreaking female Nordic modernist jewellers who took geometric circles and encased them in eye shapes, as Nanna Ditzel did, or softened sharp angles using strong curved lines of gold, as in the case of Torun,’ says Mahnaz Ispahani Bartos of the Mahnaz Collection gallery. ‘While Jacqueline’s work begins later, her time with the extraordinary firm of Jensen and the broader Nordic region’s history of modernism, ranging from brutalism to minimalism to high naturalism clearly left its mark. Her jewels are multisensory – you can see them, touch them, stroke them, search for their hidden secrets, take to heart, and most importantly wear them on your body. These are hallmarks of her work. There is so much here from which the current generation of jewellers can learn.’
For Rabun, the exhibition is a tangible documentation of her career so far. ‘I am proud of the entire journey and how I have evolved and found my voice through my work,’ she says. I have learned that I have acquired the art of patience and perseverance.’
‘Meditations on Modernism’ will be on view November 14 – 18, as part of New York Jewelry Week
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Hannah Silver is the Art, Culture, Watches & Jewellery Editor of Wallpaper*. Since joining in 2019, she has overseen offbeat design trends and in-depth profiles, and written extensively across the worlds of culture and luxury. She enjoys meeting artists and designers, viewing exhibitions and conducting interviews on her frequent travels.
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