The Korea Herald

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Korea, Austria hold first joint art jewelry exhibition

By Choi Si-young

Published : May 27, 2024 - 17:05

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Bracelets and brooches on view at the Seoul Museum of Craft Art (Choi Si-young/The Korea Herald) Bracelets and brooches on view at the Seoul Museum of Craft Art (Choi Si-young/The Korea Herald)

A joint exhibition of 675 contemporary jewelry pieces, also known as art jewelry, by Korean and Austrian artists will run from Tuesday to July 28 at the Seoul Museum of Craft Art.

“Beyond Adornment,” the first contemporary jewelry exhibition the two countries have held together from planning to hosting since 1892 when diplomatic ties were established, explores works of adornment by 54 Korean artists and 57 Austrian artists.

Art jewelry gained recognition in the mid-20th century as an independent art form, leading to bold experiments with materials and forms.

The city-run Seoul Museum of Craft Art took up the idea to introduce the artists, floated first by Susanne Angerholzer, the wife of Wolfgang Angerholzer, the current Austrian ambassador to Korea.

“I hope the exhibition serves to expand the presence of Korean and Austrian artists and boost exchanges between the two countries,” Museum director Kim Soo-jung told reporters during a pre-opening tour Monday.

Divided into three sections, the exhibition starts with “Avant-garde Jewelry,” looking into works from the 1970s and onward. Works of 31 artists in total will be on view, including those by Elisabeth J. Gu, Defner and Anita Munz as well as Yi Jung-gyu and Kim Jung-hoo.

“Contemporary Jewelry Now” surveys pieces made since 2000, focusing on Lee Kwang-sun, Chun Eun-mi, Ursula Guttmann and Michelle Kraemer -- some of the 73 artists representing the period.

Lastly, “Crafting the Future” looks at the way craftspeople try the latest technologies like 3-D printing. Pieces by Stephie Morawetz and Konstanze Prechtl as well as Cho Sung-ho showcase alternate ways to produce art jewelry.

During the pre-opening tour, Lee Kwang-sun, a Korean artist who explores relationships through her works, highlighted the role art jewelry could play in fields other than the arts.

She referred to her silicone bracelets on exhibit, noting how they take on a different shape depending on whoever wears them because everyone has different wrists. “That’s just like the changing relationships between people,” she said.

On Thursday, Korean and Austrian artists will hold talks and field questions from the gallery; on the first Fridays of June and July, docent tours will be offered at the museum. “I hope more Koreans come to see this art jewelry as artworks, more than just adornment,” Director Kim said.