Blackened silver, white gold 18K, lacquer, camera lenses
9 x 8.5 x 1 cm
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On the surface, the jewelry of Stefan Heuser and Jiro kamata stand in stark contrast to the other. Kamata’s sleek, perfectly minimal forms seem at odds with Heuser’s rough, burnt and crudely enameled surfaces. However both come alive when you delve beneath the obvious and open up to explore their underlying mysteries.
During his time as the honored “city goldsmith” of Hanau, Germany, Jiro Kamata was transfixed by an old etching of the city, drawn in a completely illogical “fish-eye” view, that he found within the vast library of the “Drawing Academy”. From this he was inspired to explore the camera lens as subject, as well as the experience of seeing the world reflected through the lenses placed within his brilliantly thoughtful yet constructively minimalist jewelry. In his experimentation, Kamata discovered that by painting the back of each lens, he could achieve the deepest black and brightest white imaginable, and that light reflection and refraction would present a multitude of colors from within the glass. While the observer studies the jewelry object, a reflection on the mysteries of the surrounding environment, not to mention the memories and experiences that have passed through the glass within its’ “lifetime” become an intrinsic part of the encounter.
The scorched and warped surface of a Stefan Heuser brooch, a black grey or brown rectangle pinned to the clothing, possessing an enormous visual strength, ominous and unforgiving… yet the true subversion comes into view when you turn the piece over in your hand. While leaving the front of the brooch a “blank slate”, he decorates the back using the traditional tools and techniques of the goldsmith… but he turns those against themselves as well: crude enameling oozing out from behind torn metal combined with black stones set on a burnt black backdrop, or a ruby encrusted gold brooch with the outermost layer of gold burnt to give a brown color that is unrecognizable as the valuable material it is.
“He is purposefully doing all of the things we yell at the students for doing wrong” Jamie Bennett- professor SUNY New Paltz
Exhibition can be viewed at Ornamentum through July 7
Both artists currently live and work in Munich, Germany and are graduates of the prestigious Munich Academy of Art.