So here’s what else has been going on at Schmuck. Be warned there is a lot, I have seen over 30 exhibitions, 6 museums, one lecture, met easily 100 people walked 500 miles AND completely wrecked myself in the last 10 days. And I didn’t even get close to seeing everything.

All together there were 57 events in the Schmuck program, so it is physically impossible to see everything, unless you have a bottomless budget for taxis and the stamina of the Energiser Bunny.


Day 1 – Tues 13 March

So the first day I arrived in Munich I took a walking tour and learned lots about Bavaria. The tour guide said that in Bavaria you must be able to drink 500mls of beer in 20 minutes or it loses its head and goes stale and is therefore no good. So he gave us exactly 20 minutes to drink 500mls of beer with our lunch and I’m proud to say that out of a group of 8 or so (guys included), I was the first to finish. Represent.

After that I took myself to the Alte Pinakothek. A museum full of paintings mostly between 700 – 250 years old, hence Alte = Old. There were works by Albrecht Durer, Holbein, Hieronymus Bosch, Rembrandt, Brueghel, Van Dyke, Murillo, Poussin, Lorraine, Raphael and more. The Pinakothek houses one of the largest collection of works by Peter Paul Rubens, taking up an enormous room. The room was designed for his 6 x 4.5m canvas Last Judgement, one of the largest canvases you’ll ever see. What I love about seeing paintings of this age, particularly portraits, is knowing that once upon a time, 700, 500 or 300 years ago, there really was a person who looked like that. Someone who wore the clothes, the jewellery and the hairstyles & had the features depicted by the artist. I enjoy paintings by Brueghel in particular, because he painted people who were not aristocratic but peasants, so one gets an idea of how everyday people looked also. I also love the works of Durer for his masterful rendering of faces, even with all of the medieval garb, these people are recognisable, their features somewhat familiar.

I also found myself in the Alte Pinakothek. Danae by Jan Gossaert gen. Mabuse from 1527. Please note the golden rain from which my hallmark is derived.


Day 2 – Wednesday 14 March – Official start of Schmuck programme

Went to the Munich Academy and was shown around by Emi. While there Akihiro Ikeyama stopped by with his Mobile Gallery. An ingenious jewellery gallery cabinet mounted on the back of his bicycle. Akihiro appeared at many exhibitions over the Schmuck period. I loved how he brought his work to the people rather than trying to entice them to come to some static place or gallery as is usually the challenge. His cabinet was also fitted with LED lighting so it was viewable at night-time too.


I saw 151, a show by Akiko Kurihara & Mari Iwamoto at Micheko Galerie, with the most gorgeous brooches in the shape of abstract blooms made from thread. The thread was meticulously coiled and glued to make these voluptuous floral three dimensional forms. Also the plinths were great.

Then there was the Schmuck Show, a sort of fashion parade with works from many of the exhibitions shown on models strutting around the space. The space was MaximilliansForum, an area in one of the many underground passageways in Munich. This particular space is now used to show interdisciplinary art. There were hundreds of people there, hundreds. To think that so many people would show up to a jewellery show … the Australians were amazed. It was all very fabulous & glamorous, but it was hard to get a good look at the pieces. It must be said that at this point I was practically delirious with jet lag, so that could be a reason why watching all the girls stomping around didn’t float my boat that much. Got some good photos though.


Day 3 – Thursday 15 March

Thursday was epic, I saw 11 exhibitions and did another tour of the Academy with the RMIT group. It was great to see the familiar faces from the Doris Betz class again and meet some new ones.

The highlights of Thursdays shows were:

– Doris Betz’ show Playlist. Was great to see all of Doris’ recent stuff since I was unable to get to her show in Melbourne in January. It was even more interesting having had the background of the class and to know more about Doris’ process. She also showed some of her drawings from the class, including one that she executed with my red watercolour pencil!

A Flock of Pillars on Parade  – a show by Carina Chitsaz-Shoshtary, Emma Price, & Barbara Schrobenhauser. Carina’s work was the most exciting for me. She has made these 3D forms, a bit like the shapes of crystals and geodes using paint lifted from walls of graffiti. She constructs the shapes from the paint alone, it is not placed over the top of any other material like wood or metal, just paint. Like a palimpsest she carefully separates the layers of paint to discover hidden colours and combinations. She then allows the shapes to grow organically as she is making them, without a plan, much like the way a mineral crystal would form in the earth.

– Alexander Blank’s show Totem on the Sideline. Looney Toons’ Wile E Coyote, Tweety Bird, Daffy Duck et al’s imagined skulls immaculately carved from white rigid foam. Alexander also showed chunky rings with animal head mascots in the same material. Alexander won the Herbert Hofmann prize this year and its not hard to see why. Check out his work here.

Slanted for Granted by Nicole Beck, Melanie Isverding, & Despo Sophocleous. The artists presented the work on slanting grey V shaped boards that reached from one wall, to the floor, to the other wall. Viewers had to step over the boards to navigate around  the space.


So refreshing for me who has been relentlessly indoctrinated with risk free exhibition design, trip hazards and whatnot. Despo Sophocleous also won the Herbert Hofmann prize this year at Schmuck.

– Volker Atrops’ No Stone Unturned was also a highlight. Volker presented his works in an antiquarian bookstore. The pieces were laid out on paper in the window, on shelves, in cabinets and nestled among the books. Volker’s works are primarily made of iron patinated a deep orange that had an unexpectedly smooth surface for metal that looks so heavily oxidised. Alongside the pieces were minerals, crystal clusters and fossils which were also set into some of the pieces and echoed in the forms of the metalwork. All of this gave the impression of looking at archaeological & paleontological specimens from a distant past. Volker had also glued tiny little wooden shelves to the inside of the front window to show rings. I liked the show so much I went back twice.



Day 4 – Friday 16 March

Returning to the Jewel is a Return from Exile, Nr. 5, by Robert Baines, Karl Fritsch, & Gerd Rothmann was held in a room at the Munich Residenz the former palace Bavarian monarchs. The show was impressive obviously because of the calibre of the artists but also for the grandeur of the setting and the innovative display. A large specially contstructed circular black table filled the darkened room. The works on the table were illuminated by lamps placed at intervals. On the walls were projections of clips from black and white movies, I remember one featuring Fred Astair and Ginger Rogers dancing.

– Ruudt Peters Corpus and 30 Jahre at Galerie Spektrum was a great surprise as Ruudt himself was personally greeting and pinning brooches onto all the guests. The brooches were grey cast polyurethane slices of a crucifixion figure of Christ, tiny versions of the works in the show.

Ädellab – The State of Things, works by students from Konstfack Stockholm. This show was in the International Design Museum in the Pinakothek der Modern. I loved how this show was set up using red ropes that snaked down a hallway to the back and all became tangled together in one giant ball under a white neon sign. Each rope had the work of one artist so the viewer had to follow the rope along to discover them. There was a great variety and experimentation of materials in these works, I believe there were some made from dried sweet potatoes.


– To top off the night there was the party put on by Otto Kunzli’s department and students from the Munich Academy. There was much drinking of beer and crazy dancing to gypsy polka music until the wee hours. It was awesome to see everyone cut loose have a good time. I met HEAPS of great new people … people from SUNY New Paltz outside of New York, UCA Rochester in Kent, Glasgow School of Art, some fabulous Danish and some  lovely Dutch, to name but a few.


More Schmuck | 2012 | B L O G