30 04 – 21 05 2017
Therese Hilbert, Otto Künzli
Couples in Jewellery
Mostra Povera – all you need for an exhibition
A subjective approach by Otto Künzli and Therese Hilbert to Mark their exhibition Nukleus at Galerie Rosemarie Jäger in Hochheim.
1_ A landscape whose light, scents and stories make it the kind of place where people are happy to stop off with their works.
In Hessen, on the southern edge of the Taunus mountains, more precisely between Frankfurt and Mainz, a small town sits on a hill, framed by motorways, not exactly romantic but the soil is good. An excellent Chardonnay is grown on the chalky ground and the Künstler family presses its wine from the grapes from a location known as “Hölle”, a wonderful Riesling to which they have rightly and very proudly given the name of “Künstler – Hölle”. What more do you need?
1:0 to Hochheim
2_ Challenge and trust, freedom and commitment – one person, one house, one garden, one room.
Wintergasse 13, wisteria hangs like blue grapes above the gate to this imposing 18th-century house. Once in the driveway, visitors fall under the irresistible spell of the great gardens with their old trees, their shrubs and their countless flowers and blossoms. And even if hundreds of airplanes do jet over Hochheim on their way to Frankfurt every day, we are in a flash infused with that sense of inner peace and tranquility with which we are familiar from hearsay but only seldom actually experienced. Does the “green thumb” behind this garden really know just how magical this place is?
As this was once a winery, a winepress house naturally butts against the living quarters. Nowadays, the vast hall with its red tiled floor is the gallery’s main room. A powerful room and one full of character – exhibiting here is a major challenge. But nuts are there to be cracked.
The cabinet in the main building stands in stark contrast to this – it was once part of the living quarters and boasts a restrained elegance and comfortable dimensions. It is partly these contrasts that make exhibiting here so appealing and so varied.
The house, the garden, the rooms, they have all, of course, been shaped and molded by one person and everything bears her name.
2:0 to Rosemarie Jäger
3_ Strong items of jewelry speak for themselves. Good rooms, likewise. The same often (although not always) applies to good exhibitions, as it does to good food – you don’t need heavenly and secret recipes, you just need good, fresh, authentic ingredients. And the ability to prepare them in such a way that this good produce can speak for itself.
For the Nukleus exhibition everything that was needed was already in place. They only had to find the ingredients and to use them carefully.
3:0 to Cucina Povera
4_ The right choice and arrangement of exhibits is the be-all and end-all of any exhibition. Critically appraising one’s own work is a difficult undertaking – self-criticism has many enemies – not only sycophants, vanity, delusions of grandeur, envy, greed, ignorance, evasiveness and sensory deception, but also false modesty and a lack of self-confidence.
Courage. It takes courage to show even those things about which you are not sure. Courage, to leave out those things that everybody else finds great, but of whose weaknesses you are all too aware.
At halftime the score stands at
4:0 to the exhibition
5_ The guests arrive, appreciate the location and the fresh air. They come together, they congregate and spread out, immerse themselves, soak up the atmosphere, look around.
They are fortunate indeed if, as in this particular case, they are introduced to the exhibition with thoughts and words that provide them with more information, are helpful, stimulating, to the point and, at the same time, entertaining.
5:0 to Petra Hölscher, senior restorer at Die Neue Sammlung – The Design Museum Munich
6_ And as soon as the curtain rises, so to speak, we get down to the nitty-gritty, in other words, we find out whether the work can reach out to and move people, whether they, the pieces, can transcend their function as objects and develop a strongly communicative quality, whether they can make the “leap” and, in the best case scenario – after all, this is, at the end of the day, why items of jewelry are produced in the first place – whether their authors will come to want to at least attempt to see what happens when somebody accepts a piece like this, adopts it, wears it. And then takes pleasure in it for as long as possible.
6:0 to the jewelry.
Final whistle. And like Magritte’s pipe that is not a pipe, this is not a game of soccer. It is a fine, tightly packed exhibition. In a good gallery, one that is highly unusual.