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Noovo Editions

Noovo Editions is an independent editorial project with online and paper editions. First of its kind in Spain from an unique and contemporary perspective on the international panorama,
Noovo seeks not only to be an aesthetic arbiter but also a cultural mediator at the juncture between Fashion, Photography & Jewellery.
A platform to show the highest level of creativity from around the world

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Interviews -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Who is Petra Zimmerman?
Petra Zimmermann is a Vienna based artist making jewellery.

Is there any specific reason for you to choose jewellery as an artistic medium?
I was a mixture of fascination about the idea of jewellery as an artistic medium  and the very personal “longing for making objects“.

You decided to study art after participating in a course taught by world-renowned Peter Skubic at the Summer Academy in Salzburg, where you first became acquainted with the foundations of author jewellery, What’s your favourite memory of these experience?, and of Peter Skubic?
Before Salzburg I didn´t know about the existence of author jewellery and Peter Skubic at all - I was impressed by both. I experienced P.S. as an unconventional character, very present, convinced and convincing. I think he is an outstanding artist who influenced my work a lot even though it might not be obvious.

What role did your studies play as a jewellery artist at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava (Department of Jewellery and Metal with Karol Weisslechner)? and your following studies of Sculpture at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna?
Karol Weisslechner is a great teacher, but I didn´t want to tie myself down to the world of jewellery.
In Vienna  the department was formally called masterclass for sculpture, but the students could make everything there, the common thing was a conceptual approach to art. The open dialogue I experienced in Vienna  gave me a new perspective also on the potential of jewellery as an artistic medium. This dialogue was strongly influenced by the neo-conceptual movements of the 1990s: Tobias Rehberger, Jorge Pardo, Wolfgang Tillmans were some of my heroes.
I was searching for an approach that would legitimise my own artistic claim in the jewellery medium. My idea was to adopt the self-referential strategy of “context art“ in my work, especially in my “jewellery in jewellery” series by putting my central focus on the concept of jewellery itself and jewellery as a cultural phenomenon.

Bracelet, 2009, vintage costume jewellery findings, polymethyl methacrylate, rhinestones, obsidian, gold leaf Ring,2012, vintage brooch, polymethyl methacrylate, gold Rings

Each artist is used to get an opinion and get comments about his work. About your work has been published so impressive descriptions like:  "Petra Zimmermann’s jewelry objects are forthright, sensuous, and opulent", " Zimmermann’s works are far more “thought impulses” bringing up aesthetic questions of appeal, value and the transitoriness of beauty" or  "Petra Zimmermann does not use the combinations of quotations and her interpretations of jewellery from the perspective of cultural conventions to present mere clichés, in the sense of criticism of the artificial" (Wolfram Otto in Petra Zimmermann Jewellery“, Arnoldsche Art Publishers 2011), "Petra Zimmermann’s work is “hybrid jewellery”, a fascinating combination of jewellery forms, types, individual ornaments and entire styles… These inspiring hybrid creations are ebulliently and delightfully sensual, lavish, extravagant, baroque, hedonist. And also saucy, carefree and luxurious, in a radical sense. And wild. Beautifully wild" (Barbara Maas in Petra Zimmermann Jewellery“, Arnoldsche Art Publishers 2011) but at the end, what are the concepts that defines Petra Zimmerman work´s in your own words?, What do you consider is your principal signature?
Actually the quotations given in your question represent my opinion on my work pretty well. I´m mainly interested in the cultural history of jewellery, not only from the view of the maker, but also from the view on the wearer. Observing the wearer means considering also Fashion, and the human being itself, as well as the society around.

Following on from the series of rings and bracelets you have been producing since 1998, another strand of work has emerged since 2002: figurative brooches based on imagery of the female form taken from mass media, could you explain us what is the conceptual relationship between these two body of works? and, what differences would you highlight of these two body of works?
Originally I didn´t make any brooches, because I was and somehow am still of the opinion that brooches have a distinct position within jewellery. Brooches are not worn directly on the body – they need the vehicle of fashion.
The brooch was developed out of the “fibula“, which was made to hold together the antique clothes. It lost its function through the centuries... Now it is a still functional free application: you can make everything plus a needle behind and you have a brooch. I think that is what makes it so appealing to jewellery-artists. Most of the artist jewellery are brooches, even if the last period when brooches where fashionable date back half a century. (By the way: The pendant is the new brooch!) But at a certain point this problem became very appealing to me. I tried to mix the concreteness of figurative images with the formal arbitrariness of the brooch. I was painting a lot at this time and the basic material for my paintings as well as for the early brooches were cut outs from newspapers or digital snapshots showing special situations, moments of decisions– pictures showing emotional moments of love and despair, moments of big efforts or lust.
To use the jewellery as a picture carrier is quite far from the concept I follow with my rings and bracelets. These two strands of work developed parallel, but it happens more and more that they correlate– for example, in the new necklaces.

Brooch “Pin-Up VI“, 2004, polymethyl methacrylate, rhinestones, onyx beads, pyrites, gold leaf, gold, blackened silver Necklace 2013, historical glass beads-embroidery, polymethyl methacrylate, printing ink, tambour frames, gold leaf, blackened silver Ansicht

Photography is transformed into jewellery. The jewellery is an image… How relevant is Photography in your work?
It´s one of my main sources of inspiration.

Your most recent works extend your thematic range with images of design and architectural objects, also floral motifs, what could you stand out from your previous pieces?

The pictures I use- cut-outs of models, personal design icons or flowers are only the formal base and material for my work. I select them after my personal taste. But in a way using motifs of design and architecture represent with regards to content a “male“ counterpart to the “female“ motifs like flowers etc.

Brooch “Bertoia Asymmetric Chaise II“, 2010, polymethyl methacrylate, obsidian, gold leaf, blackened silver Brooch 2010, polymethyl methacrylate, crushed pearls, pearls, glass beads, rhinestones, lacquer, gold leaf, blackened silver Ringblume

It seems that plastic is a recurrent material for your creations, what does it make so attractive and useful for you? and What is your favourite material and why?
I´m working with an acrylic material which I make myself. I experimented a lot and I´m not ready yet. This material gives me so many possibilities and I think  it´s perfect for jewellery: not heavy, resistant, transparent, opaque or colourful; I can cast it into objects or use it as an image carrier– paint on it, like on wet watercolor paper... and it´s definitely my favourite material.

Questions of appeal, value and the transitoriness of beauty are main themes in your work. Also  reflections of glamour associated with jewelry but, What does beauty means for you? and glamour?
I can´t think about any art without considering aesthetic questions.  

After numerous solo and group exhibitions, around 100 exhibits—created between 1997 and 2012- were recently featured in a solo exhibition " JEX Jewelry Exhibition - Schmuck von Petra Zimmermann", at the MAK Vienna Museum of Applied Arts (Feb. 20- May 20, 2013), how was the experience and what is your valuation?, How was the reaction of the public?
It was a great opportunity to show my work to a broader public and I got a lot of positive feedback. Unfortunately contemporary jewellery is not continuously exhibited at the MAK.

Exhibition views MAK Vienna Rings

Has exposing at  this relevant museum changed you in any way?

Living and working in Vienna, how this city has influenced in the way of understand and develop your creativity?
You cannot remain untouched by the cultural heritage of Vienna. Whenever you leave an underground station you are faced with impressive art and architecture. Even some underground stations are designed by Otto Wagner.

By the way, how is a normal working day for Petra Zimmerman?
I go to my chaotic, dusty atelier, lock the street-door, turn on the radio and start working. That’s a perfect Petra Zimmermann working day.

As a professional, what is your main obsession?
The beauty of life.

On the other hand,  who do you imagine wearing your pieces?, Do you wear yourself some of the pieces you make?
I don´t think about who could wear it when I make the piece. If I meet someone wearing a piece and enjoying it, it makes me happy.
Sometimes I wear them myself.

Viennese Artist Julie Monaco wearing Petra´s jewellery 2010

If you have to choose, whom do you buy a piece from?
If I had money I would be a collector. There are many artists I would collect. I would start with a piece of Robert Smit.

We can imagine that All of them are like children for you but if you had to save necessarily just one piece from a disaster which one would be?
I think it would be always the last piece I was satisfied with- at the moment it would be this necklace. I used a cut-out of a Siamese-dress by Comme de Garçons – I have a weakness for dualities and like playing with similarities and differences.

Necklace 2013, polymethyl methacrylate, printing ink, coral, alpacca, silver blackened, (white) gold leaf, brass

necklace 2013

kette karte Ornamentum

-------------------- More info: http://www.petrazimmermann.com  

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