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Design Museum Gent Presents Hermann Jünger. Jewelry - Found Treasures
Portrait of Hermann Jünger in his jewelry workshop. ©Eva Jünger.

GHENT.- Design Museum Gent presents Hermann Jünger. Jewelry – Found Treasures, on view through February 8, 2009. Hermann Jünger (1928-2005) is regarded internationally as one of the most influential goldsmiths of the present day. His work possessed ignitive, innovative character. His art revolutionised modern jewelry design.

“Found treasures and jewelry pieces united – connections, parallels, correspondences : one thing referring to the other… A piece of brick or scrap of rusted metal or plastic has no less value or standing than some expensively worked artifact made of the most costly materials – provided of course that each possesses the power and expressiveness of a fully accomplished form”.

This is how Hermann Jünger described the role that found objects played as a source of inspiration to him. Now jewelry and found treasures by Hermann Jünger are united in an exhibition presented by Die Neue Sammlung. It was developed in close collaboration with the artist right up to time of his death in February 2005. He was not only rigorous in the selection he made from his own œuvre – from earlier works to late pieces – but also configurated and designed each of the showcases himself. As a result, both the exhibition and the items on display convey to the viewer utmost authenticity and power of expression and provide a rare and penetrating insight into this great goldsmith’s way of seeing, thinking and working.

Born in Hanau in 1928, Hermann Jünger graduated from the drawing academy there (Zeichenakademie) before joining the studio of the Bauhaus designer Wilhelm Wagenfeld at the WMF works in Geislingen. He subsequently went on to continue his studies under Franz Rickert at the Art Academy (Akademie der Bildenden Künste) in Munich. In 1958, the unusual jewelry of Hermann Jünger was chosen to represent the still young state of the Federal Republic of Germany at the World Expo in Brussels.

In no small part, Munich owes its position as an international centre of the contemporary jewelry avantgarde to the gold- and silversmith class at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste (Academy of Fine Arts) and to its influential teachers – first and foremost to Hermann Jünger. He held the chair there from 1972 onwards – and as a consequence was instrumental in making the Munich Academy’s class in jewelry art renowned for progressive, cutting edge instruction and study, a reputation that has remained to this day throughout the world. Thanks to the diversity of his work and to his personal impact as Academy professor in Munich, the name of Hermann Jünger has gained international acclaim as one of the protagonists who have given jewelry a new status as an art form.

Striking full-colour photographs showcase both Jünger’s most recent pieces and a choice selection of his earlier work. Exhibited alongside them are sketches, collages and watercolours which capture the spontaneity of expression that so characterizes his work, together with a remarkable and eclectic collection of natural forms and found objects from which he has derived inspiration.

At the occasion of this extraordinary exhibition, and in order to gain some insight into the enormous influence Jünger has had on the development of avant-garde jewelry to this day, Villa de Bondt will be presenting “Koekoekschumck” on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 November between 10 am and 6 pm. Twelve contemporary jewelry artists from Munich will display their works in twelve residences in the Miljoenenkwartier in Ghent.

The twelve jewelry artists are: Bauhuis Peter, Becker Michael, Betz Doris, Dziuba Gabi, Förster Christiane, Fritsch Karle, Ishikawa Mari, Junger Ike, Rothman Gerd, Walker Liza, Weber Norman, Von Steinau-Steinruck Caroline. Many among them are known worldwide at the moment and their work can be found in various museum collections.

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