Oona + Schmuckfrage Galleries

Last week, whilst in Berlin, we headed to a couple of jewellery galleries, Oona + Schmuckfrage.

The first gallery we visited was Schmuckfrage Gallerie, which I was keen to see since on their website they had works by Denise Julia Reytan, an artist who I’ve been following for a while. They didn’t disappoint, as the owner, Ute Klotzbücher, was able to open a drawer and show me two of her large and colourful neckpieces, while many of her watch bangles were scattered around the store.

This was the smaller gallery of the two – think about two thirds of Gallery Funaki with taller ceilings, but it had a warm feel owing to several large line-drawings in gold, high on the walls, and the use of honey coloured timber plan drawers as display cabinets. These had been altered with their tops replaced with glass, allowing considerable space to place works in the top part of the cabinets, as well as ample storage in the drawers below.

The works were a mix of pieces, with some being in precious metals but many pieces not. The owner told me that they have shows several times a year, but when we visited it seemed to be a collection of their regular artists works’ on display.

There was quite a range from the large and wonderful like the Reytan works right down to the very wearable, with a large selection of rings occupying a special ring-shaped plinth in the centre of the room. This was without any form of glass, so each piece was attached with a counter weight that was viewable through the hole in the centre of the tubular-shaped plinth. This suggested that play with the pieces was encouraged, so we gently lifted a few works for a better view. There was also a series of wall-mounted cases with glass fronts to one side, with smaller works on display.

Oona Gallerie had a single artist show; Petra Zimmermann – Dodecade (images available on the site). On seeing the works on display here I was reminded of the AJF review of last year, as they seemed to be a similar body of works to those described in that review.

It was a comprehensive show, and an impressive body of works with a clear conceptual line. But, like the old and antique objects they appropriate in their construction, I think they are a mixed bag. I’m not keen on some of the bulkier pieces where it seems that the resin was used to prop and fill in the gaps rather than as integral feature. However, and probably in keeping with what I just said, I liked the rings more, as they were smaller, more refined and the resin used more thoughfully.

The gallery itself is cool and refined. It has large windows facing the street and is well lit by them, even on the greyish day we visited. The size of the room is generous, especially for a jewellery gallery. As for the layout, the works were displayed rather low, and while I found this unusual, it was not off-putting. They were on broad white plinths, with grey risers for some of the pieces, and the rings on a single large grey sheet on another white plinth on the other side of the room. There was also some permanent hanging seating and raw wood poles as a part of the decor. Other works were accessible in a series of plan drawers in one corner of the space.

Ute also suggested a trip to a third gallery owned by Gabi Dziuba, but the day we visited she wasn’t in. I’m still not sure of the name of this gallery, as Ute described it not by name, but by the shape of the signage of the next-door erotica shop! (Let’s not leave you to think that one through too much, it was a large pink heart shape. Honest.) The window had some interesting works, and there was a large steel and glass table that dominated the space, but we couldn’t see into it as it was too dark inside. Next time – and hopefully in summer.

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