BLUE FROM HEAVEN EXHIBITION FEATURES WORKS CREATED DURING THE ARTISTIC JEWELLERY KREMNICA 2003 SYMPOSIUM

Jewellery from heaven

THE END of the totalitarian regime in 1989 opened doors for Slovak artists. They began to develop new activities, organise themselves into groups, and hold a variety of seminars and workshops that far exceeded the country's borders.
One such group that originated at that time was the Association of Jewellery Makers AURA, which began to organise international summer symposiums, bringing local jewellers into contact with acclaimed foreign artists. But the seven-year tradition was abruptly cut short due to financial problems in the late 1990s.


ZIMMERMANN and Mládenková (in the background} at work during the summer symposium.
photo: Ivan Čillík

THE END of the totalitarian regime in 1989 opened doors for Slovak artists. They began to develop new activities, organise themselves into groups, and hold a variety of seminars and workshops that far exceeded the country's borders.

One such group that originated at that time was the Association of Jewellery Makers AURA, which began to organise international summer symposiums, bringing local jewellers into contact with acclaimed foreign artists. But the seven-year tradition was abruptly cut short due to financial problems in the late 1990s.

After a few dormant years, 2002 brought the recovery of the custom, though only with national participants. The summer of 2003 finally welcomed the first foreign participant, Austrian jeweller Petra Zimmermann, signalling a new future for the two-week event.


Peter Machata's brooch.
photo: Courtesy of Machata

"The tradition of this symposium is being revived with the aim of bringing it back into a wider European context," said Viera Kleinová, the curator of both the 2003 symposium and the resulting exhibition of works by the symposium's six participants.

The exhibition was first held in the gold-mining town of Kremnica, but it currently runs at the ÚĽUV Design Studio in Bratislava. The gallery displays six works from each of the participants created under the joint theme Blue from Heaven.

The Austrian artist created a collection of jewels by embedding glass pieces in a dental mass. "The figurative motifs that she uses on her brooches are reactions to situations captured daily in the press - they reflect human greed for everything [and communicate] the element of drama, excitement," said Kleinová.


Petra Zimmermann's ring.
photo: Ján Ondrejka

And, of course, there are Slovak works to be seen: multi-layer silver jewels by Peter Machata and a collection of "insect" jewellery made from silver and semi-precious stones by Tünde Uhrínová. Martin Potaš worked with yellow copper, and Annamária Kovaľová blew her works out of glass. Daniela Mládenková, who works with contradictory materials, created brooches that combine the coarse surfaces of natural objects, such as walnuts, with glazed faces of silver or copper.

"The symposium enabled me to better focus on my work, free myself from my everyday routine, and exchange [artistic] ideas with the other participants," said Mládenková, 30, who studied at the University of Fine Arts in Bratislava.


Daniela Mládenková's brooch.
photo: Ján Ondrejka

According to one of the symposium's coordinators, Ágnes Schramm, a jewellery expert working with the Slovak National Gallery, Slovak jewellery artists are very well established on the European and world markets. This can be proven, she added, by their regular attendance at the annual fair of artistic crafts in Munich since the end of the 1980s. She specifically highlighted the name of Anton Cepka, one of Europe's most significant jewellers.

To characterise today's trends in jewellery art is quite difficult, as there are no style or genre limits, Schramm explained.

"If artistic jewellery follows any tendency, then it is to get as close to the human body as possible," she said, explaining that jewels have begun to divert from their strictly decorative function to find ways to correspond


Tünde Uhrínová's pendant.
photo: Courtesy of Uhrínová

with the personalities of the customers for whom they are being created.

The works at the exhibition are also for sale, ranging from Sk2,000 to Sk5,000 (€50 to €130). The display runs at the ÚĽUV Design Studio on Dobrovičova 13, Bratislava, Monday to Friday from 10:00 to 18:00 until April 2. Admission is free. Tel: 02/5296-4153.

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