Salon International at Monash

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Visitors to the Salon International are greeted by a festive array of tables in various colours on which can be found jewellery ornaments each with a peculiar idiosyncratic poetry. The exhibition is the result of friendships formed between Australian and European jewellers, principally Munich.

The artists are:

  • Peter Bauhuis, Munich, Germany
  • Doris Betz, Munich, Germany
  • Andi Gut, Zürich, Switzerland / Pforzheim, Germany
  • Sally Marsland, Melbourne, Australia
  • Mascha Moje, Melbourne, Australia
  • Manon van Kouswijk, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

This is the second such exhibition. The first was at Rathausgalerie Munich in 2004. While there is no collaborative works, there is a definite shared aesthetic framing the exhibition. The exhibition opens jewellery up as a space for poetic tinkering, moving away from the highly polished masterpiece to the object that whispers something strange in your ear. The works display a series of subtle interventions into the everyday material world. The bench is never far from the kitchen table.

One of the most striking elements in this exhibition is the different coloured table tops. They are actually parts of a platform that have been separated, so are a little higher than the average table. And they have been each painted different colours to complement the works – Sally Marsland’s Almost Black on a hot pink surface is certainly a sight to behold.

This exhibition certainly demonstrates the fecundity of contemporary jewellery. The broad range of experimentation and jazz-like improvisation around a theme creates a visual and sometimes tactile feast.

But nothing is sufficient to itself and such this exhibition can’t speak for the entire breadth of contemporary jewellery. It certainly does not speak for jewellery that seeks an engagement with the collective world. The formalist use of colour provides a supportive framework for the modernist projects on which the individual jewellers have embarked. These certainly advance jewellery, but something else needs to connect it to the world.

Salon International is the second instalment in what is a major concentration of jewellery in Melbourne. Following Marian Hosking’s Living Treasure exhibition at Craft Victoria, we look forward next week to the Otto Künzli show at Funaki from 29 July and the Karl Fritsch show at RMIT from 6 August.

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