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mudac exhibits the work of Swiss designer David Bielander
Scampi, 2007. Bracelet, silver (cooper anodized), elastic Image © Simon Bielander.

LAUSANNE.- The Swiss designer living in Munich, David Bielander translates everyday objects into jewellery. The elements of a chair are thus transformed into a sausage necklace, drawing pins into the scales of a koi carp and disposable lighter hoods into flying insects. Bielander’s practice shows a close attention to objects and materials alike: the artist talks of only “revealing” that which is already there – the sausage in the chair, the scale in the drawing pin – and in some way “listening” to the forms contained within things.

David Bielander’s world is inhabited by numerous animal figures: snakes, pigs, elephants, slugs or prawns. The jewellery maker is less interested in their symbolism than in their immediate familiarity to the viewer. As a result of this ambivalence and playfulness, when his pieces are worn, they truly come to life: his slug pins launch a slithering attack on the neckline, the snake necklace writhes around the throat… Although complex or unusual in size, his pieces are nonetheless intended entirely as jewellery, designed to be worn; moreover, they are generally fabricated in small series and sometimes as unlimited editions.

A student of the Swiss jewellery maker Otto Künzli, with whom he shares some of his strongly conceptual approach, David Bielander’s use of materials is both extremely precise and very free. He plays with textures and colours, obtaining the illusory effect his pieces provoke. Although the term is often used to describe his practice, illusion is actually not an end in itself; it is more a form of humour which prompts both dialogue and reflection.

At mudac, David Bielander presents a show of his work since 1996. The tone is set by a strange interactive machine at the entrance of the exhibition: it creates a little, perfectly formed smoke ring, which the visitor catches in a sealed bag, bought at the reception of the museum. Between illusion and faith – you cannot verify it without risking the smoke blowing away – this piece bears witness to the multiple levels on which his work can be read.

A little further on, he pays homage to Giuseppe Arcimboldo, the 16th century portraitist and master of allegorical painting. Referring to the principle of portraiture through a collection of objects, in collaboration with photographer Simon Bielander he composes his own face from pictures of his creations; the actual works, meanwhile, are displayed in the same space.

A new series entitled “Cardboard” directly questions the notions of value generally ascribed to jewellery materials. Playing on the shapes of a child’s craft project or System D, bracelets or crowns in stapled corrugated cardboard are in reality made by him from patinated gold or silver. This series of countercurrent counterfeits continues with objects mimicking brown paper bags – yet another way of citing the displacement and questioning sparked by David Bielander’s creations.

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mudac exhibits the work of Swiss designer David Bielander

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