Exhibitions06 04 2019 — 25 05 2019
CLAUDE SCHMITZ The Truth
The profession of the jeweler may perhaps not be the oldest in the world, nevertheless people have adorned themselves from the earliest times. The usually inevitable technical demands posed by producing any kind of jewelry, soon turned the making of it into a specialized skill. Designing pieces was over the ages a matter of the availability of materials - or the pure rarity of them, which made the results extra desirable - and of the style that was 'in fashion'. It was only by the end of the nineteenth century that jewelers finally managed to free themselves from the hold of their wealthy customers. They started to make more personal, willful designs and to aim at broader realms of society.
Ever since the tumultuous sixties - all ready a good fifty years ago - the main goal in the jewelry profession was innovation - using unusual, mostly base materials - then applying associative, narrative aspects became important, as well as using a concept as the starting point for new work. However, this does not tell the full tale of contemporary jewelry.
Not only the big jewelry houses - de haute joaillerie- started to focus on finding new models for the twentieth century, also individual artists went looking for ways to redevelop their artisanal, artistic heritage, that for ages had been dominated by nobility, royalty and the church. It is an adventure, as precarious as it is exciting, to try to find a balance between a conspicuous display of prosperity - the main critique of the jewelry revolutionaries on the prevailing traditions - and the sensuous potential that precious metals, enamel, pearls and cut stones offer to the designers and future wearers alike. The jewelry made by Christa Lühtje and Ralph Bakker are exquisite examples of a new, contemporary interpretation. Next to their work the gallery has for some years been showing pieces from a jeweler from Luxembourg: Claude Schmitz. It was only natural to ask him to present his approach in the context of a solo exhibition.
Schmitz was trained between 1995 and 1999 at the Antwerp Academy of Fine Art and he dedicated the next two years to obtaining his Master's Degree at the Royal College of Art in London. He then returned to his native country and has successfully displayed his jewelry all over the world, while several pieces entered the collections of the British Museum and museums in Belgium and Luxembourg. His Rolling Ring could be called his signature piece, which has been made in different kinds of precious metals and variations, and became a trusted companion to many a finger. The work that will be exhibited now in the gallery will give his view on the question where the road of the jeweler could lead. The pieces may surprise with their bold use of color, or the unexpected collision between shapes or referrals, but anyhow, they always convince by their subtle balance and the refined finish of the applied materials. You are more than welcome to participate in the adventure...
(© Galerie Rob Koudijs)