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The Wilde Things

Subtitled ‘The so contemporary jewellery collection of Mrs Wilde’, Z33 Gallery’s latest exhibition that opened last Sunday examines the close personal relationship between jewellery and its wearer.

By Katie Dominy / 17-10-2013

Located in Hasselt, Belgium, the Z33 Galley brings together 25 contemporary jewellery pieces, including work by five Dutch makers, under the curation of the gallery’s Evelien Bracke. The starting point for the exhibition’s interesting title comes from Bracke’s observation that since the 1960s, contemporary jewellery has tended to be seen as ‘autonomous objects in a white cube’ with a focus on "the artistic aspect of jewellery and not on the relationship wearer-jewel.” asked Bracke how the exhibition evolved: “From the very beginning of the concept, I wanted to focus on the intimate and personal relationship between a jewel and its wearer. I wanted to give contemporary jewellery a context (of the wearer) again.” To take the exhibition forward, Bracke chose a number of internationally recognised jewellery designers and presented their work to the Dutch writer and novelist Oscar van den Boogaard, who turned the jewellery into a short story based around a fictional character. “That character became Mrs Wilde. When we got to know her, we asked a number of designers to design a piece of jewellery especially for her. That is rather unique: real jewellery for a fictional character!"

Oscar van den Boogaard’s story is complemented by a film featuring Mrs Wilde and her jewels, shot by Dutch filmmaker Manon de Boer. Bracke notes: “In the film we wanted to give Mrs Wilde a face and the jewellery a body. In the film you can see and hear Mrs Wilde in relation to the 25 jewellery pieces in her collection. Fragments of the story by Oscar van den Boogaard were used as voice-over parts in the film. The subtle and sensible approach of the work of Manon de Boer perfectly suits the exhibition.”

We asked Bracke how she chose the designers and the significance of the five Dutch makers in the exhibition. “The 25 jewels were chosen to represent an overview of the current trends in contemporary jewellery design. Furthermore, I wanted to create an interesting mix of established makers and upcoming, young talents.”

Bracke continues: “Gijs Bakker was chosen because he is one of the pioneers of contemporary jewellery design.” Bakker is represented in the exhibition by the brooch Still Life from 2008, while Dinie Besems’ work is a Z33 commission piece from 2013 entitled A min 1. Bracke explains how Besems is included as “in her latest work she is researching how a designer can use the aspects and limits of 3D printing in an interesting way.” 

Bracke continues: “Boris de Beijer is a young designer who graduated from the Rietveld Academy in 2011 and shows another view in exploring material research in a new way’; De Beijer’s piece in the show is the Transparent Bismuth Brigadir from 2012. Manon van Kouswijk is included “because she is an icon when it comes to prototypes of jewellery, like the pearl necklace or brooches.” Other Dutch designers in the show include Evert Nijland with the Imagine Riflessa bracelet from 2007. 

Irma Foldényi is from Hungary and studied at the Design Academy Eindhoven (DAE), graduating in 2012. “I selected her because of her perspective on social design and her background in jewellery.” Studio Formafantasma, also DAE alumni, are also in The Wilde Things with their Colonna necklace made from porcelain china and horsehair from 2007.

The Wilde Things runs until January 19 2014 at Z33, Zuivelmarkt 33, B-3500 Hasselt

1 and 3 - Gijs Bakker
2 - Evert Nijland
4 - Dinie Besems
5 – Studio Formafantasma
6 & 7 The Wilde Things exhibition

Photography Kristof Vrancken/Z33 

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