Last week I was up in Manchester for 3 days and I took the opportunity to do some exploring. One of the stops on my list was Manchester Art Gallery which had an exhibition of work by Swiss jeweller, Bernhard Schobinger.
Jo Bloxham, curator, writes:
"Recognised as a key figure of avant-garde contemporary jewellery, Bernhard Schobinger's subversive approach to making spans more than forty years and has earned him a reputation for rebellious innovation. His work skilfully transforms discovered objects into pieces that allude to past and present, precious and leftover.
Something of an alchemist, Schobinger gathers and processes all manner of matter, which frequently includes discarded detritus. From coloured pencils, spent knicker elastic, precious stones, combs or worn eraser nubs, to coins, diamonds, prickly saw files or poison bottles - such scavenged materials are all sources of aesthetic and physical richness. At once anarchic and collectible, Schobinger's work unites these materials to create hybrid jewels that irreverently express their provenance while challenging conventional histories of body adornment."
"Through his departure from traditional jewellery, Bernhard Schobinger denies jewellery its familiar function as a status symbol and choses to make it into a vehicle for expressing a universal voice...He interprets the piece of jewellery as a contemporary witness of our society."
Hmm. It was great to see an exhibition of jewellery in a city art gallery alongside fine art, fashion and applied arts. It was great to see so many different materials used to make jewellery. I found some of the work challenging because I wouldn't choose to wear it. It often wasn't neat, tidy or beautiful. I understand there is a concept behind it and it has something to say however I wonder if this needs to be explained more explicitly otherwise I don't know what each piece is saying. Does this matter? Should I be standing there trying to interpret this for myself? Fine art is often left to the viewer to interpret so why should this be any different?
I loved the display cases and blue walls in the exhibition. Each piece was numbered and there was one list of numbers with their titles, materials and year on the wall. It was a bit frustrating having to walk over to this every time you wanted to know more about the pieces. Discreet labels or a little printed leaflet would have helped.
It is an interesting exhibition and on until 19th October 2014.