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International Design Museum Munich Presents The Schoonhoven Silver Award 2009
Junko Mori, Japan, Spring Fever (Ausschnitt) Foto: Rob Glastra Fotografie.

MUNICH.- “Poetry in Silver“ is the motto of this year’s 4th Schoonhoven Silver Award, which Japanese artist Hiroshi Suzuki won. Given its especially strict selection criteria the competition, which was first launched in 2002, has become a forum for leading silversmith artists from all over the world. The Jury admitted 51 of the 135 applicants to the competition including participants from Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Canada, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, South Korea and the United States. Of those admitted 47 submitted objects from the broad spectrum between free and applied art.

The aim of the awarding body, the Dutch Silver Art Foundation in Schoonhoven, is to make contemporary silver art accessible to a broad public. Today, the highly traditional silver city Schoonhoven continues to be a location for manufactures, artist studios, training centers, restorers and gallery owners specialized in the precious metal. The city celebrates this every year with the National Silver Day.

As a special challenge of the Award each year the Foundation specifies a different motto: Previous years’ mottos were “Water”, “Light” and “Showpiece”; this year’s is “Poetry”. These themes rendered difficult by the fact that they are not concrete, are addressed by such internationally leading protagonists of the scene such as the Belgian David Huycke, Dutchman Jan Matthesius, the Germans Ulla and Martin Kaufmann or Hiroshi Suzuki and Junko Mori from Japan. But highly promising up-and-coming artists also took part such as female Korean artist Ja-kyung Shin. Just how differently and imaginatively the topic was realized can be seen in the selected works. An interplay of contrasts unfolds and reflects the various concepts on design, technology, function, artisanship and art: surreal, bizarre, fantastic, biomorphous, tactile-geometric, constructive, crystalline, rational, functional, tectonic ...

The jurors Ineke Middag (former director of the Singer Museum in Laren), Sjarel Ex (director of the Boijman Van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam) and Annabelle Birnie (Jury Chairperson; ING Art Management) selected Hiroshi Suzuki with his work “Earth II – Reki” as the winner. The Japanese silversmith – who trained and works in Tokyo and London – developed a unique hammering technique which allows him to produce a relief on the surface of his delicate silver vessels.

Junko Mori from Japan and Ja-kyung Shin from South Korea received honorable mentions. Mori employed differently worked vegetable elements to create a microcosm entitled “Spring Fever”. Shin, a student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Nuremberg typically calls her dish-like vessel “In my hands”. She left kneading marks on the material as if the silver were a soft, dough-like mass.

The Public’s Prizes on National Silver Day, First prize: Junko Mori; Second prize: Wayne Meeten; Third prize: Miriam Hanid

Following the exhibition of the Silver Triennial in the autumn 2008 with the Schoonhoven Silver Award Die Neue Sammlung is once again addressing positions of contemporary silversmith art. The competition entries complement in a special manner the Museum holdings of Die Neue Sammlung, which is geared towards utility items of the avant-garde. The spectrum ranges from precursors of modernism from the Biedermeier era via purist Art Nouveau silver by Joseph Hoffmann through to very recent works such as the deconstructivist coffee set by Zaha Hadid.

International Design Museum | Munich | David Huycke | Jan Matthesius | Ulla | Martin Kaufmann | Hiroshi Suzuki | Junko Mori | Japan |

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