"Breakthrough: Swedish Art Jewelry Today” will present the work of five contemporary Swedish art jewelers who are redefining the field in their country and bringing global attention to their work. “Breakthrough” will feature the work of Ingrid Bärndal, Agnieszka Knap, Åsa Lockner, Hedvig Westermark, and Jelizaveta Suska. This exhibition is curated with Swedish collector, author, and scholar Inger Wästberg.
Each of these artists' work is grounded in traditional metalsmithing, inspired by historical jewelry, yet their vocabulary includes a wide range of materials, techniques and ideas. While linked to the rich heritage of traditional Swedish jewelry, the majority of their work is far from the silver jewelry that is perceived as being typically Swedish. Their jewelry is beautiful, unconventional, and always wearable.
Ingrid Bärndal employs traditional goldsmithing techniques but says that the things she can achieve with polypropylene, a type of polymer, she cannot do with metal. For Agnieszka Knap art jewelry is closely related to time-honored techniques such as enameling. Åsa Lockner starts with traditional materials and shapes, but stretches the boundaries of how material is perceived by combining precious and non-precious stones in her work. Hedvig Westermark, also trained as a goldsmith, has for over 20 years developed her art by returning to recognizable shapes, yet keeps the work contemporary by including found objects. Jelizaveta Suska learned classical metalsmithing techniques in Latvia yet uses polymer covered with crushed marble to create an illusion of solid stone.
All five of these artists are represented in the permanent collection of The National Museum in Stockholm.
Funding for the artist’s travel was generously provided by IASPIS the Swedish Arts Grants Committee's International Programme for Visual and Applied Artists.
Inger Wästberg is an art historian who has written the book “Contemporary Swedish Art Jewellery”. She is a member of The Global Leadership Council at the Museum of Arts and Design. She worked in New York 1999-2004 with promoting Swedish art and design. Inger Wästberg has curated exhibitions in New York and Stockholm and will curate a jewellery exhibition in connection with the Biennale in Venice. She has worked with information and advocacy in a variety of roles, including as a member of Stockholm City Council, vice chairman of Stockholm University, and Director General for the Office of the disability Ombudsman.