Jewellery is a basic constituent of modern day dress, and something that plays a role in all of our lives. Butwhile it is one of the most ancient and universal forms of human expression, jewellery has an ambiguous status as an object, mid-way between fashion and sculpture, and is rarely considered to be a work of art. Not surprisingly, jewellery has been taken up by plenty of artists and designers over the years, attracted as they are to the sensual, precious, and at times dangerous connotations of diamonds and pearls in relation to sexuality. Salvador Dali’s Lips Brooch (pictured above), for example, encapsulates the allegorical mysticism of precious stones – while fellow surrealist artist Meret Oppenheim’s Fur Bracelet takes self-adornment into a world of dreams (or, should we say, nightmares). For the first time ever, an exhibition has been devoted to the expanded field of jewellery – from the luxurious world of high end jewellery to the experimental installations of contemporary designers, and the cryptic bodily adornments of ancient cultures. Medusa – Jewellery and Taboos, currently up at The Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris, brings together over 400 pieces of jewellery, including those by Louise Bourgeois and Niki de Saint Phalle, René Lalique, BLESS, and Cartier. “These pieces,” the curator Anne Dressen writes, “well-known, little-known, unique, familiar, handmade, massproduced, or computer made, mix some refined, hand-wrought, amateur and even futuristic aesthetics which are rarely associated together. They sometimes go far beyond simple jewellery and explore other means of engaging with, and putting on, jewellery.” Catch Medusa for it’s last weeks up in Paris – or get your hands on a catalogue later this fall.
Medusa – Jewellery and Taboos
The Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris
May 19th to November 05th 2017