Our latest venture is the art project and group exhibition United States of Sweden. A peculiar name perhaps? Well, this exhibition is in a way a continuation of the project A Pieceful Swedish Smörgåsbord that we did in 2011.
As jewelers our background, hometown and heritage are prominent sources of inspiration. When we got the offer to make a show during New Adventures in Jewellery it felt natural to dig deeper into this theme. We joined forces with with three of our colleagues; Pernilla Persson, Hanna Liljenberg and Linnéa Eriksson. From a viewers point, we are a homogeneous group – trained in the same school, same age, female and closely connected to the regions where we grew up and now all living in Gothenburg. Still we have different languages and styles in what we make.
Ok, but what about the new adventures part of this? New Adventures in Jewellery had the mission to investigate new ways of working with jewellery and how the field can benefit by taking influences from other fields of the arts. We decided that we were going to do a traditional exhibition in a gallery space and show jewellery inspired by nature. You can’t really get more traditional than that in Nordic art jewellery, so what were we thinking? To a lot of people art jewellery is a “new adventure”, being the unknown artfield that it is. We went for a hands on approach. We selected a group of 30 people that we didn’t know but we thought would have a latent interest in art jewellery because of their profession and social engagement. We wrote them a letter inviting them, together with a friend, to an evening of art jewellery, wine, food and mingle in the gallery. We wrote the cards by hand for the personal touch, kissed the envelopes goodbye and hoped for the best when we sent them off. Then we waited. No reply. Well that is not exactly true, we did get three replies from people that couldn’t come. Other than that, silence. You might ask us what we expected when intruding into strangers lifes like that, asking them to take time out of their busy lives. We know that is a lot to ask, but it was worth a shot, it could have worked.
We contacted people that were beyond our social network, with no natural connection to us. Maybe it would have been easier if we knew the people we invited, something that could have assured them that this would not be just a few spoiled hours, or at least make them feel a “social responsibility” to come.
Swedish jeweler Gunilla Grahn is taking another approach in order to get people to engage with jewellery art. She has initiated the project Jewellery as a Guest. In this project she curates jewellery shows in peoples homes. The house owner becomes the link between art, curator and the visitors.
Next guest appearance is planned in Stockholm the coming weekend and both of us have sent pieces to be shown. It will be interesting to hear the outcome of these events. Meanwhile we will plot the next step to increase the interest in craft and art jewellery.