While many jewellery pieces can be considered works of art, it’s not very often that you find jewellery actually designed by artists. Adding to a canon of wearable art works that has seen contributions from masters such as Alexander Calder, Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso are three new collections by the contemporary artists Aaron Curry, Jonathan Meese and Andy Hope 1930. Commissioned and produced by the German jewellery house CADA, the fine, objets d’art provocatively spin jewellery conventions on its head.
‘Being a jeweller and long time collector of art, I always look for inspiration, and for pleasure, at the beautiful jewellery creations of artists, including for example, Alexander Calder, Max Ernst, Man Ray, Lucio Fontana, Louise Bourgeois, Jeff Koon. And for a long time I have had a wish to create something in the realm of this great artist jewellery,’ says CADA’s founder Herbert Kopp on how the concept for the collection came about.
‘Aaron [Curry], Andy [Hope] and Jonathan [Meese] are very close friends of mine so I approached them about the project and collaboration first,’ he continues. ‘I knew that they all had a good relationship to jewellery. Aaron loved the idea of a project creating jewellery. Jonathan Meese always used the term "Gold and Parzival", and he was obsessed with the "Gral" and the "Schatz der Nibelungen". I knew he would love the idea to work with real gold. Whenever I visited Andy Hope 1930 in his studio, he always first showed me his collection of cheap plastic rings he loved so much. So it was easy to ask him to make real jewellery.’
The resulting creations by Curry, Hope and Meese are seamless extensions of their primary bodies of work. Curry, who has been most recently preoccupied with the state of the earth and the impact we have on it, created a range of robust, naturalistic cocktail rings. ‘I imagined what it would be like to have things falling back towards earth after the end of the world, and what it would like when they landed there,’ he says.
On the other end of the spectrum, Hope revisited art historical motifs like crests and signets, while fusing them with modern images from comic books, thrift store knick knacks and discarded furniture. The results are a series of pop-tinged rings in white, rose and yellow golds, encrusted with rubies and diamonds.
Meese followed a similarly anarchistic tact with his textural collection of rings and cable chain pendants mimicking the heavily worked paintings, videos and installations that he’s known for. Made in 18 carat gold, his pieces evoke the Art Brut aesthetic while undercutting it with the use of refined materials.