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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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Noovo release ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Two remarkable jewelry collections are in safekeeping at the mudac: the mudac’s and the Swiss Confederation’s, for which the mudac makes regular acquisitions. Strong of almost 200 pieces, these collections reflect the developments marking a realm eternally in effervescence.

The mudac becomes the first museum in Switzerland to dedicate a permanent exhibition room to contemporary jewelry. This latest gallery, in the Gaudard room, bearing witness of the history of the building, serves to showcase collection previously hidden to the public. It is also intended for periodic shows featuring a selection of works from our ceramics and design collections. Visitors will discover these varied objects in a succession of thematic exhibitions, with a first show under the heading of What is it that renders contemporary jewelry precious?

View of the exhibition What is it that renders contemporary jewelry pieces precious?, 2012.
Photography © mudac.

The traditional definition of a jewel is that of a finely worked small object rendered precious by the material itself or the work entailed, and serving as an ornamental accessory.

When contemporary jewelers use traditional metals to create ornamental accessories, they defy convention by scratching or brushing the gold, or by blackening the silver, aging it or depriving it of its gloss. The resulting patina in both cases is a far cry from the brilliant finish generally associated with Western jewelry.

When, however, they resort to base materials, it is their manner of transcending these that renders the pieces precious. They will, for instance, turn plastic wrap into a pearl, a bank note into a cameo. Our consumer society’s daily scraps are brought back to life as jewelry pieces in all their splendor. Moreover, the ingenuity of some of these jewelry designers has led them to come up with new attachment systems, to reinvent clips for jewelry pieces that integrate them into the body or garment to which they belong in ever more elaborate fashion. And yet, above and beyond all these considerations, what all these creations have in common is the painstaking work-manship that they entail. Every one of them bears witness to the intelligence of the hands that shaped them.


Already in the ‘60s, contemporary jewelry freed itself from what by then was deemed a devitalized tradition, and from industrial production subservient to market laws. Instead, jewelry creators claimed an artistic status born of a wide aesthetic spectrum: from purist minimalism to unbridled fantasy, from abstraction to figuration. Many from their ranks aimed beyond the purely decorative, concerning themselves instead with the social, cultural and relational ramifications of jewelry.

By the ‘80s, contemporary jewelry turned openly anti-establishment. Exploring its limits, resorting at times to performances and installations, it drew closer to contemporary art. Over the last twenty years, however, contemporary jewelry has evolved from manifesto-like stands alone towards, as well, personal claims on behalf of the individual—as much for the jewelry’s designers as for whoever acquires it.

The mudac moved into the Maison Gaudard in June 2000. This venue groups several buildings whose oldest remains hark back to the 13th century. Relevant sources discolose some of its proprietors, including a number of goldsmiths: for the east row, there is mention of Pierre and his brother Jean, who may have commissioned the north house between 1261 and 1268. A goldsmith named Perrot Dorer lived here from the end of the 13th century to about 1340. As to the west row, the record show that Mermet Périsset and his family were in residence there from 1386 until the second half of the 15th century.
When, in 2012, one of the building’s oldest room showcased the contemporary jewlery collections of both the museum and Confederation, past and present at last met up with each other.



1968, CH • lives and works in Munich • exhibiting since1996
Animal representations abound in classic jewelry: René Lalique’s butterfly brooches come rapidly to mind, or Cartier’s famous panther. Not to mention the countless sapphire-eyed owls showcased by conventional jewelry shops.
Still and all, David Bielander’s jewelry pieces are absolutely perfect illusions, more in the vein of hyperrealist concerns. It is with outstanding virtuosity that he first shapes a bestiary and then chisels the pieces out of fine plates of silver. One can only wonder if it is his sense of humor that has him set slugs near a young lady’s décolleté...

  ............ David Bielander, Scampi, 2008
............ Bracelet, copper stained silver, rubber bands


1947, CH • lives and works in Zurich • exhibiting since 1973
“I wanted to work with light itself. Gold is light, the light of the sun. I wanted to work with fire and the gold melting furnace.” (Johanna Dahm, Lost and Found, Ein Ashanti-Weg der Ringe, Zurich, Niggli Verlag,1999). It is in this spirit that Johanna Dahm left for Ghana in 1997, for a two-month-long apprenticeship with the private jeweler to the king of the Ashantis. Upon her return to Zurich, she created her own lost-wax melting technique, combining African know-how with more modern methods. This process, used since the dawn of time, requires a sculpture to first be shaped in wax and then cast in clay.
The spectacular specialty of the Ashantis is that of accomplishing the melting of the wax in a single step, and then filling the cavity with the molten metal. One can only stand in admiration of Johanna Dahm’s knack for, on the one hand, using the smelting technique to directly set the diamonds and, on the other, creating rings enmeshed with each other without the slightest soldering.

  ............ Johanna Dahm, fast Ashanti, 2006
............ Ring, silver, gold


1968, CH • lives and works in Paris • exhibiting since 1994
The necklace Bretzel was born through repeated beating, hammering, stamping and bending. The iron shafts curl into scrolls, twist together thanks to the stamping plate and pliers. A chimera lies at rest. The world according to Sophie Hanagarth combines folk culture with classical mythology.
Burettes (testicles) belongs to a series of jewelry pieces that transpose the body part for which they are destined. They have the dual task of ornamenting and underscoring a person’s anatomy. The extremities of this pendant reach out to frame the pubis of the person wearing them, thus completing the “family jewels” rather unexpectedly! By so-to-speak showcasing what is usually hidden, it exalts fertility.
Fleece with Gold Paws is intended to be worn like the rabbit’s fur cape ladies used to favor on chilly winter evenings. Presented still hopping in show windows, the animal is divested of all life once we don his hide. The name of the piece—in French, Toison d’Or, or “Golden Fleece”— brings to mind Greek mythology: the story of the ram stolen by Jason during his quest. Nonetheless, certain details invite other allusions: in various cultures, rabbit’s feet serve as talismans because rabbits are associated with fertility; in former times, they were also used by gold beaters to pick up little bits of scattered metal after work hours

  ............ Sophie Hanagarth, Toison aux pattes d’or, 2004
............ Scarf necklace, wire, gilt brass


1980, CH • lives and works in Geneva • exhibiting since 2002
Aurélie Dellasanta hunts around and rummages about to flush out abandoned, everyday objects; these she gathers together to give them a new significance. Her jewelry pieces deal recurrently with the themes of death, misery, consumer demand and religion.
The paper money—either re-embroidered or set with rhinestones—in her brooches alludes to more than the economy and consumer society. She is also denouncing Western values and the exploitation of Africa’s mineral resources.
In her rosary piece, rifles and grenades punctuate a gruesome prayer, the last verse of which ends with an embroidered cross. The contrast between the highly attractive pendant with its embroidered and sparkling elements and the piece’s thematic combination of war and religion is most striking.

  ............ Aurélie Dellasanta, Warrior’s rosary, 2008
............ Pendant, silver, embroideries, garnets


1948, CH • lives and works in Munich • exhibiting since 1969
Otto Künzli can be considered as one of the masters of conceptual jewelry. His defiant stands have earned him the esteem of both the realm of contemporary jewelry as a whole, and several generations of creators who followed his course at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts. He is wont to approach both the obvious and the failings of today’s society with irony and cynicism; he refuses to heed conventions. His aesthetic outlook favors utmost simplicity and remains closely linked to a jewelry piece’s function.
For his 1987 creation of a Gold makes you blind bracelet, he hid a ball of gold inside a rubber tube. This striking shortcut challenges the ostentatious functions of conventional jewelry to convey power and social status. It suggests another way of seeing what renders the piece precious, something of which only the bracelet’s owner is aware.
Cozticteocuitlatl is an Aztec expression for the yellow feces of the gods. It is, too, a group of 121 pendants created between 1995 and 1998, 17 of which belong to the Collection of the Swiss Confederation. In the simplicity and symmetry of these perfectly proportioned jewels, and in the materials used—gold and silver, they seem to hark far back in time. Their shapes may seem archetypal to us, yet they derive inspiration from bits of information that the Western eye takes in daily, emanating from the folk culture or advertising of our consumer society—Mickey, Batman or familiar logos like McDonald’s. Otto Künzli also culls visual information belonging to our collective imaginary.

  ............ Otto Künzli, Gold makes you blind, 1987
............ Bracelet, gold, rubber


1968, CH • lives and works inLausanne • exhibiting since 1989
Sonia Morel unflaggingly unwinds and rewinds silver wire or silk thread. In her work, thread or wire creates volume or strokes, resulting in spidery nests or beaded cocoons. The infinite patience and gestural mastery that she puts into her pieces makes them the embodiment of time itself. These long hours of painstaking work, like a remnant of past eras, render her jewelry precious.

  ............ Sonia Morel, Bracelet, 1999
............ Bracelet. Blackened silver


1943, CH • lives and works in Zurich • exhibiting since 1967
Jewelry pieces by Verena Sieber-Fuchs operate their charm immediately. They consist of repurposed materials—for instance paper, onion skin, confetti, medical capsules—that are enhanced by the brutal treatment sometimes applied to them: cutting or tearing them up, transpiercing or burning them, and then patiently crocheting a very fine wire through them. A patient alchemist who transmutes materials, Verena Sieber-Fuchs aims beyond a merely aesthetic impact. Quite to the contrary, each piece subtly veils the artist’s underlying personal concerns or commitments. Here we have a light and floating, soft pink wedding ornament made of butcher paper: the piece provides a total contrast between the freshness of the bride and the death of the animal.

  ............ Verena Sieber-Fuchs, Noce, 1985
............ Necklace. Butcher paper, wire


1946, CH • lives and works in Richterswil • exhibiting since 1973
In his work, Bernhard Schobinger—rebel, innovator and individualist—expresses his feelings about Western society and its trash goods. His favorite materials are those that are salvaged, that come from garbage dumps and thus have a story behind them. He is partial to combining base and precious materials, and selects his rubbish pieces with an eye to their particular texture, shape or color. He then proceeds to breathe new life into them.
His Bottlenecklace comes in several different versions. Already in 1988, he created a similar piece, consisting of a red cotton cord bearing twelve fragments of bottles from a garbage dump near a former Ticino grand hotel. No reassuring or tender creation this: providing broken glass shards to ornament someone’s neck is more of a violent action. And choosing to wear it, is to challenge conventions.

  ............ Bernhard Schobinger, Bottlenecklace, 2002 (detail)
............ Necklace, bottlenecks, cotton


1962, CH • lives and works in Zurich • exhibiting since 1990
Christophe Zellweger’s work refers to the body —the body that he sees as subject to manipulation for medical and aesthetic reasons. He is undeniably fascinated by anatomy, by the inside of the very body outside of which his jewelry pieces alight. A play between in- and outside.
To look carefully at Rhizome, where all the paths are dead ends but nonetheless come together into a network, is to realize that no two are alike. Rhizome follows an evolutionary principle, spreading out like a root system. It took Christophe Zellweger hours, from the first sketches to the computer drawing, to come up with this network. This series of jewelry pieces was created using industrial processes like laser and water-jet cutting. The elasticity of the natural rubber makes it easy to slide on the bracelets.

  ............ Christoph Zellweger, Rhizome, 2006
............ Bracelet, natural rubber

Since the first pieces acquired by Rosemarie Lippuner during the ‘80s, these two jewelry collections in safekeeping at the mudac remarkably reflect the developments marking a realm eternally in effervescence.
The collection field for jewelry pieces is vast, so that the criteria for their acquisition must lend them a certain coherence. Those added to our collection have been evaluated on the basis of their creativity, on how well they reflect current trends, the research aspects of innovation and continuity, and the nationality of their creator.

The Swiss Confederation’s Collection is built up most especially with an eye to the winners or experts designated by the Swiss Federal Design Competition. The mudac’s Collection encompasses, among others, pieces created in small series, thus favoring norms akin to design. Acquisitions spanning several years now ensure that the two collections complete each other. Likewise, in some cases the policy has been to acquire several pieces by one and the same jewelry designer, to best bring to the fore the evolution of his or her work. On several occasions, too, pieces by today’s emerging designers have been welcomed into the collection.

Most of the jewelry designers represented in our collections are Swiss. Nonetheless, their work is highly representative of a movement whose departure point harks back to the Europe of some fifty years ago.
More Info: http://www.mudac.ch - mudac – musée de design et d’arts appliqués contemporains

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