The Wanderings of the Danish State-Owned Jewellery Assortment – Artwork Jewellery Discussion board

Werke und Tage
March 10–August 30, 2020
Staatliche Antikensammlung, Munich, Germany

Danish Jewelry Field
March 13–August 1, 2021
Museum für Angewandte Kunst Köln, Cologne, Germany

Since 1974, frequently altering committees within the Danish Arts Basis (based in 1964) have acquired artworks from all creative disciplines, together with utilized arts. Its nationwide jewellery assortment (comprising about 350 items) is a part of this massive nationwide assortment of artwork and crafts. As a result of it’s a nationwide artwork assortment, paid for with taxpayer cash, the gathering is open for loans. The intention is to advertise artwork and artists in Denmark by bringing the items into public environments (faculties, places of work, and many others.) the place individuals will encounter the artworks of their on a regular basis environment. In 2007 a brand new concept was devised to additionally make the jewellery assortment accessible to individuals via a lending scheme. In addition to this, the jewellery assortment has been on everlasting view on the Designmuseum Denmark, Museum Koldinghus for 2 years, and shall be sooner or later on the new Kolding Museum as nicely.  Each 5 years the contract needs to be renewed, and finally the gathering shall be hosted in a special museum in one other a part of the nation. The latest exhibitions Werke und Tage and Danish Jewelry Field noticed essentially the most open and democratic public jewellery assortment on the planet taking a visit to Germany in honor of the Danish-German Cultural 12 months of Friendship 2020.

Pernille Mouritzen, Bush-Tank
Pernille Mouritzen, Bush-Tank, 2011, necklace, silver-plated and oxidized brass, silver, glass, bones, grosgrain ribbon, photograph: Danish Arts Basis


In November 2018, the Danish Arts Basis and curator Mette Saabye launched into a journey that took extra time than anybody may ever have foreseen. To mark the Danish-German Cultural 12 months of Friendship 2020, and on behalf of the Danish Arts Basis, Saabye was invited to develop an concept to exhibit the jewellery assortment of the Danish Arts Basis in collaboration with German museums. Saabye is a goldsmith and jewellery artist from Copenhagen. She was a member of the Danish Arts Basis for 2 years, 2014–2015, and has been concerned with earlier displays and occasions associated to the gathering. Due to this fact, she is aware of the gathering very nicely. After exploring a number of German venues, she was invited to enter right into a co-curatorial collaboration with the Staatliche Antikensammlung, in Munich, and the Museum für Angewandte Kunst Köln (Museum of Utilized Arts in Cologne, or MAKK), two museums that might provide the most effective risk to create completely different dialogues with Danish modern jewellery.

Kim Buck, It's No Use Crying Over...
Kim Buck, It’s No Use Crying Over…, 2008, ring, gold, porcelain espresso cup, assortment Danish Arts Basis, put in within the Staatliche Antikensammlung, Munich, photograph: Klaus Haag


Florian Knauß, senior assortment director of Antikensammlung und Glyptothek, München, was very useful and collaborative, even permitting the set up of latest jewellery amidst the archaeological assortment—one thing that has been accomplished earlier solely often[1]—and even rearranging the everlasting show due to the exhibition. For Petra Hesse, the MAKK’s director, the exhibition was a superb purpose to ask native individuals to be photographed carrying a chunk of knickknack from the exhibition.

Staatliche Antikensammlung museum employee wearing Mette Saabye, Necklace Drops of Dew
Staatliche Antikensammlung museum worker carrying Mette Saabye, Necklace Drops of Dew, photograph: Klaus Haag

The group of the exhibitions was nicely ready, with Werke und Tage (Works and Days), the exhibition in Munich, deliberate to open in the course of the Munich jewellery week of 2020, and the MAKK opening deliberate for November. Nevertheless, the pandemic threw a wrench within the works. Happily, I used to be in a position to go to Werke und Tage the day earlier than the Antikensammlung closed abruptly. In Could the museum opened once more till August 2020 however the exhibition missed out on the massive numbers of knickknack lovers from around the globe who normally congregate throughout Munich Jewelry Week in March.

Anne Lahn, Hairy Powerpose Girl
Anne Lahn, Bushy Powerpose Lady, 2018, brooch, silver, copper, enamel, metal wire, mortgage for the exhibition from the artist, photograph: Dorte Krogh

The opposite opening, in Cologne, forecast for November, was postponed a number of instances. Lastly, the exhibition—now with a brand new identify, Danish Jewelry Field—opened on-line on March 12, 2021. In her opening speech, museum director Hesse confirmed a number of the life-size images of Cologne residents carrying jewellery which are an integral a part of the exhibition. She hopes this introduction to modern jewellery could possibly be a stepping stone to beginning a jewelry-lending assortment within the museum someday. The exhibition opened to the general public June 1–August 31, 2021. Despite the fact that MAKK is open for registered guests, I’ve not been in a position to go there due to coronavirus restrictions for guests from my nation to Germany. The story of the circulating assortment, the standard of the Munich exhibition, and that of the publications of each museums, along with the sheer stamina of all of the individuals engaged on this exhibition, have been good causes to jot down this text.

Pernille Mouritzen, Daily Patterns
Pernille Mouritzen, Day by day Patterns, 2009, necklace, treasured stones, tea towel, silver, photograph: Danish Arts Basis



The jewellery assortment just isn’t a “shelf assortment” in any respect, by which I imply that it isn’t saved in a secured, climatized, and locked storeroom, a destiny many museum jewellery collections sadly endure from. As an alternative, it circulates via the nation, reaching even locations within the periphery, whereas any Danish citizen who performs an energetic position at an official occasion can borrow a chunk of knickknack from the gathering to put on to the operate.[2] On high of this, (elements of) the gathering journey overseas, accompanying state visits to locations equivalent to Beijing, Seoul, Houston, and Mexico—a type of gentle diplomacy to point out what democracy means in Denmark.[3] This managing of a public assortment is the other of that of the typical museum, the place white gloves and safety experiences and checks are the ruling commonplace. I don’t suppose I’m exaggerating once I name this essentially the most open and democratic public jewellery assortment on the planet.

Helle Løvig Espersen, Heart Ring
Helle Løvig Espersen, Coronary heart Ring, 2003, aramite (pool ball), photograph: Danish Arts Basis


Managing a lending assortment of knickknack relies on mutual belief and understanding, from the state, the museum curators, and people who borrow. Though individuals might borrow the piece with out paying any prices and maintain it for as much as three months, there are some guidelines. As an example, the borrower ought to put on the piece in public, at official openings, celebrations, and different occasions. In different phrases, the borrower commits to being an envoy of the piece and for the Danish Arts Basis (and its arts coverage). This additionally signifies that the borrower must know one thing in regards to the jewellery to have the ability to reply individuals who ask questions on it. Moreover, the borrower ought to write down her experiences—the way it felt to put on a dialog piece, to get reactions and questions—and a photograph is requested of the piece in use. The Artwork Basis asks for a giant dedication, and in actuality not each borrower does precisely as requested. However many individuals use social media to publish in regards to the piece, the occasion, and the gathering. The experiences are collected by the host museum, leading to a logbook for each piece within the assortment.

Mette Saabye, Necklace Drops of Dew
Mette Saabye, Necklace Drops of Dew, 1997, mother-of-pearl, metal, silver, photograph: Danish Arts Basis

It’s outstanding that the Danish Arts Basis considers the nationwide assortment of knickknack a dwelling assortment of wearable artwork items which are anticipated to maneuver in society, amongst individuals, and to amass and accumulate new tales and recollections. The state-owned jewellery distinguishes the wearer from different individuals, and on the identical time the jewellery, though not emotionally linked to 1 particular particular person, features as a “container” for tales, feelings, recollections, encounters, and occasions. The place else we are able to discover such understanding of the essence of knickknack amongst its institutional collectors?

Kim Buck, Marguerite, pendants Daisy, adapted from Niels Heidenreich
Kim Buck, Marguerite, pendants Daisy, tailored from Niels Heidenreich, 2009, acrylic, metallic, photograph: Danish Arts Basis

Exhibition curator Mette Saabye didn’t need to impose a sharply outlined exhibition idea on the companions in Germany. As an alternative, she provided a fluid concept with a number of potentialities for dialogue and change, in step with the celebration of a friendship bond. The number of Danish items for the exhibition in Munich was made by Saabye and the museum director Florian Knauß in equal portions. It’s clear that this fashion of working promotes the dialogue. In Cologne, too, the choice was made along with museum director Petra Hesse, who added a substantial variety of items within the MAKK’s assortment of latest jewellery to the combo. For causes of coherence, Saabye took the freedom of inviting some artists who will not be represented within the nationwide assortment. The completely different themes in Munich and Cologne are the results of the dialogue between the Danish and German curators.

Showcase for the theme “Riches & Status,” Staatliche Antikensammlung
Showcase for the theme “Riches & Standing,” Staatliche Antikensammlung, Munich, photograph: Liesbeth den Besten

The exhibition in Munich pressured the truth that not a lot has modified within the exercise and instruments utilized by craftspeople since antiquity. What has modified is society, and due to this fact our guiding rules and causes for carrying jewellery. But there are themes and sides of every day life that play an necessary position in historic crafts in addition to right this moment’s. In trying to find these themes, the curators discovered placing similarities and created fascinating juxtapositions, for example within the case of decorations and rhythms, and when coping with themes such because the place of girls, love, warfare, and demise.

Kim Buck, Marguerite, pendants Daisy, adapted from Niels Heidenreich
Kim Buck, Marguerite, pendants Daisy, tailored from Niels Heidenreich, 2009, acrylic, metallic, assortment Danish Arts Basis, put in within the Staatliche Antikensammlung, Munich, photograph: Klaus Haag

Saabye was extraordinarily pleased with the Antikensammlung’s strategy as a result of she has an affinity with antiquity and vintage jewellery as a part of the historical past of the goldsmith. However what happy her most is the unpredictability of exhibiting modern jewellery in an vintage context. In her personal phrases: “If you combine values, you achieve a lot extra.”

That turns into clear whenever you study the theme “Energy & Girls”—one in all 12—within the Werke und Tage exhibition. This part consists of an incredible Greek hydria (vase) with an attractive depiction of Amazons (highly effective and brave feminine warriors and hunters who had a closed feminine society) selecting up their armor for a struggle. It’s mixed with some excellent modern jewels, equivalent to Nanna Obel’s Is Your Spouse Helpless – or Harmful, and Kim Buck’s segmented Daisy pendants. The jewellery’s title performs on names: Daisy is the Danish queen Marghrete’s nickname, however it additionally alludes to the outdated sport of plucking the daisy (he loves me, he loves me not). The viewer is confronted with the subject of feminine stereotypes, whore or muse, subordinate or highly effective, all of that are nonetheless flourishing.

Showcase for the theme “Women and Everyday Life,” Staatliche Antikensammlung
Showcase for the theme “Girls and On a regular basis Life,” Staatliche Antikensammlung, Munich, photograph: Liesbeth den Besten

The theme “Girls & On a regular basis Life” includes some great examples of vintage vases that present the primary duties of girls in Greek society then: caring for the home and household, spinning, and weaving. Other than taking good care of the household tombs, a decent Greek girl didn’t go exterior. The vases are confronted with excellent items equivalent to Helen Clara Hemsley’s Discovered on the Flooring ring, product of roughly stitched thick cotton thread on a cushion with a large number of pins inserted into it, or the necklace by Pernille Mouritzen referred to as Day by day Patterns, product of a mixture of irregular units of treasured stones set in silver linked with checkered tea towel fragments roughly torn into strips.

Three brooches by Jytte Loppenthin
Three brooches by Jytte Loppenthin, 2019, linen materials, assortment Danish Arts Basis, put in within the Staatliche Antikensammlung, Munich, within the showcase for the theme “Girls and On a regular basis Life,” photograph: Liesbeth den Besten

Each items mirror on a typical feminine ability within the family: needlework. The three embroidered brooches by Jytte Løppenthin, with cartoonish photographs of bare ladies displaying their breasts sketched in stitched line drawings, appear extra like visible antitheses to the fragile define drawings of girls and gods on the white-grounded Attic lekythoi subsequent to it. Lekythoi vases have been related to funeral rites, and sometimes depict ladies. These vases held perfumed oil, which was used to lubricate a girl’s physique earlier than marriage. They have been additionally positioned within the graves of single ladies. The play of life in entrance of the ceremony of demise is displayed on this showcase.

Mette Saabye, Necklace Drops of Dew
Mette Saabye, Necklace Drops of Dew, 1997, mother-of-pearl, metal, silver, put in within the Antikensammlung Munich, photograph: Liesbeth den Besten

Within the theme “Physique and Movement,” Saabye’s necklace Drops of Dew, consisting of innumerous small spherical slices of mother-of-pearl in numerous sizes hooked up to skinny metal threads, was offered along with Dionysian vases depicting ecstatic ingesting periods. You surprise what Saabye’s necklace has to do with the scenes on the vintage vases till you understand that carrying such a necklace, with its fixed pulse of shifting elements, may evoke a sense of ecstasy and whirlwind.

Annette Dam, More or Less | perfect # 11
Annette Dam, Extra or Much less | good # 11, 2013, ring, epoxy resin, artificial peridot, elastic textile rubber band, photograph: Danish Arts Basis

On the identical time the customer can search for formal similarities, for example within the part “Symmetry & Rhythm,” the place an impressively large 8th-century BC amphora from the so-called Geometric interval is proven together with summary modern jewellery with linear and repetitive components, for example by Karen Ihle and Jens Eliasen.


Danish Jewelry Field, the exhibition in Cologne, had a reasonably formal environment, with all the jewellery neatly organized in showcases in accordance with 13 themes which are reasonably apparent, equivalent to “Physique & Jewelry,” “Custom & Innovation,” “Different Supplies,” “Type & Operate,” “Humour & Sarcasm,” “Ornament & Idea.” Nevertheless, the life-size portrait pictures put in alongside the partitions of the exhibition are fairly daring. They painting residents of Cologne from foot to crown—an administrator, an opera singer, a bookseller, a piano trainer, and Gabriele Spangenberg, a racer of historic sports activities automobiles. Portrayed in her racing go well with with a closed helmet on her head, Spangenberg has a placing look, however it takes a while to find Pernille Mouritzen’s Bush-Jet necklace hanging from her neck. On this context, the brass aircraft reduce in a sketched model with a speech bubble containing the phrases HA HA HA HA HA HA turns the automotive racer right into a spacewoman, additionally explaining the triumphant upward gesture of her proper arm. The necklace is a part of the theme “Phantasm & Actuality.” In Munich the piece was a part of the theme “Love & Struggle” and was exhibited in a showcase with imposing Greek vases. Apparently, these 6th-century BC vases depicting scenes from the Trojan warfare or preparations for a contest strengthened the message of the 21st-century jewellery. They could possibly be interpreted as a touch upon the Iraq warfare began by president George Bush in 2002 that lasted till the top of 2011.  The identical piece of knickknack in numerous contexts can maintain completely different meanings, much like what occurs when a chunk of knickknack circulates on the physique of a wearer in a crowd. Then the character and identification of the wearer mingle with the views and interpretations of the opposite individuals round them.

I really imagine taking part in with jewellery (and artwork normally) is one of the simplest ways to get a deeper understanding of it. Attempting out jewellery in numerous contexts, discovering completely different meanings, is enriching, however normally it’s the privilege of personal house owners of knickknack. Museums are sometimes at odds with jewellery. A lot jewellery, historic and modern, is saved away in depots or sentenced to a static keep in a everlasting show. After all, the museum additionally gives benefits: the jewellery is stored secure, documented and restored if crucial, and when on show guests can see it and study extra about jewellery. However truly, jewellery wants life, journey, interplay, and motion to come back absolutely into its personal. And that’s precisely what the Danish jewellery intruders completed in Germany. The Staatliche Antikensammlung, in Munich, and the MAKK, in Cologne, had to take a look at their very own collections of, respectively, vintage artwork or modern worldwide jewellery with completely different eyes. It resulted in two totally completely different exhibitions based mostly on the identical assortment of knickknack funded by public Danish cash. And it reveals jewellery at work in one of the simplest ways.

Word: All illustrated objects are a part of the Danish Arts Basis, except in any other case talked about.


[1] Bernhard Schobinger exhibition Feuer über Wasser, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam (1999–2000); and Peter Bauhuis exhibition Der Galliumhort von Obertraun, Archaeological Museum, Munich (2011).

[2] Since Koldinghus Museum has began internet hosting the gathering, the variety of loaners has elevated from 25 per yr to 80. The lending scheme is revealed on the Danish Artwork Basis web site. The whole assortment has been displayed within the museum and is utilized in social media.

[3] This democratic perspective and open perspective, so manifest within the Danish arts sector, is in stark distinction with the Danish refugee coverage, which was criticized internationally in 2016 due to the introduction of the “jewelry regulation.” This regulation allowed the confiscation of refugees’ valuables to cowl the prices of their keep in Denmark. Happily, aside from a confiscated automotive and a considerable amount of cash, no jewellery was ever confiscated.

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