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‘Beyond Adornment’ Exhibition Showcases Korean and Austrian Jewelry at SeMoCA

Seoul— Celebrating 132 years of diplomatic relations, Korea and Austria unite in a grand exhibition highlighting their shared excellence in jewelry craftsmanship. The Seoul Museum of Craft Art (SeMoCA) unveiled “Beyond Adornment” on Tuesday, featuring 675 pieces from 111 artists or teams from both nations, marking an unprecedented scale for Korea.

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The exhibition was inspired by Susanne Angerholzer, art curator and spouse of the Austrian ambassador to Korea. Upon her arrival in Seoul in 2020, Angerholzer was captivated by the beauty of Korean jewelry, prompting her to propose this showcase. “I was stunned by the beauty of Korean jewelry,” Angerholzer stated at a press conference. “I hope this exhibition conveys that same impression to a larger audience and helps Korean jewelry receive the attention it so much deserves.”

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“Beyond Adornment” explores contemporary jewelry from Korea and Austria since the 1970s, highlighting the distinct political and artistic influences in each country’s approach. Austrian jewelers often integrate feminist themes, sometimes critically, while Korean artists express more metaphoric themes related to the human body and nature, influenced by their international experiences.

The exhibition organizes the pieces into three categories: body, nature, and narrative. Despite these categories, the stylistic differences between Korean and Austrian jewelry are evident. For instance, Korean artists focus on wearability, as seen in Lee Kwang-sun’s flexible metal and silicone bracelets that adapt to the wearer’s wrist, symbolizing relational changes.

Austrian works frequently challenge gender roles and body stereotypes. Michelle Kraemer’s “Have You Got the Guts?” (2011) is a necklace with a skin-like surface, while Nadine Pramhas’s gold-plated clay object “Yes, of Course I Need Acceptance” (2017) critiques societal pressures on women’s body image. Anna Riess’s “Belly Bacon” (2018) embraces body diversity with a silver blanket depicting bodily folds.

Korean artist Chun Eun-mi’s necklaces, resembling bird wings, use compressed cow intestines and gilded hair, earning her a finalist spot in the 7th Loewe Foundation Craft Prize.

The collection features diverse designs, from insect-like pieces to miniature architectural structures, including works made with 3-D printing and recyclable materials. An interactive video segment, “Matching Jewellery,” scans visitors’ outfits and recommends matching pieces from the exhibition.

The Korea JoongAng Daily’s reporter, dressed in a black cardigan and khaki pants, was suggested the brown wooden ornament “Draw a Line” (2017) by Hong Ji-hee.

“Beyond Adornment” runs until July 28. SeMoCA is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., except Mondays, with extended hours until 9 p.m. on Fridays. Admission is free.

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Alice
Alice
Alice is a seasoned jewelry designer renowned for her exquisite creations that seamlessly blend artistry with elegance. With a passion for craftsmanship and an unwavering commitment to quality, Alice has established herself as a distinguished figure in the world of fine jewelry. Drawing inspiration from diverse cultures and artistic movements, Alice brings a unique perspective to her designs, creating pieces that transcend mere accessories to become timeless works of art. Her meticulous attention to detail and insistence on using only the finest materials ensure that each creation reflects not only her artistic vision but also a commitment to unparalleled craftsmanship. Having honed her skills through years of dedicated practice and a keen understanding of evolving trends, Alice is adept at translating her clients' desires into bespoke, one-of-a-kind pieces. Her portfolio encompasses a range of styles, from classic and timeless to avant-garde and contemporary, showcasing her versatility and ability to cater to a diverse clientele.

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