Karl Fritsch - Scenes from the Munich Diamond Disaster

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Media Release: November, 2010. 

The beautiful and cataclysmic rings of Karl Fritsch

Continuing its commitment to exhibitions spanning the breadth of Wellington’s art, architecture and design, the Hirschfeld Gallery presents the stunning jewellery of Karl Fritsch, an internationally renowned jeweller now based in Island Bay.

The spectacularly titled exhibition Scenes from the Munich Diamond Disaster (26 November 2010–16 January 2011) will present hundreds of Fritsch’s hand-crafted rings, selected from across a fifteen year period of the artist’s practice.

These rings are constructed from a startling array of precious metals and gemstones—gold, rubies, sapphires, silver, diamonds and emeralds—which are precariously piled on top of one another, pressed into roughly formed settings, pierced, unpolished, oxidised, or inserted into the eyes of small skulls.

Fritsch has written, “At some point I would like to use gold in the same way as plasticine”. This intention is evident in Scenes from the Munich Diamond Disaster, which demonstrates Fritsch’s irreverent use of costly materials. In his work jewels are often stabbed through the centre by a nail, or a piece of gold is paired with common iron or stone.

As inventive as the works themselves is the ‘scene’ that Fritsch has created within the Hirschfeld Gallery. His rings are presented in colourful plasticine moulds inside sleek display cases. The vitrines themselves are propped on raw timber chocks, suggesting the appearance of a construction site or a gallery space during installation. Unlike the austere surfaces on which jewellery is usually displayed, here Fritsch’s rings are deliberately staged in a provisional, apparently haphazard environment.

Karl Fritsch (b.1963 in Sonthofen, Germany) studied at the Goldsmiths' College in Pforzheim and at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. He was the recipient of the Herbert Hoffman Prize from the International Craftsmen Trade Fair in Munich and the Most Promising Award for Applied Art from the City of Munich. Fritsch's work is included in several important European museums such as the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe (Museum of Art and Crafts) in Hamburg. He now lives in Island Bay, Wellington and is represented by Hamish McKay Gallery.

Karl Fritsch: Scenes from the Munich Diamond Disaster

26 November 2010–16 January 2011

Hirschfeld Gallery, City Gallery Wellington