Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Michelle Kraemer
 When I graduated from school in Luxembourg I knew that I needed to go abroad to study. Spontaneous decisions have been a big part of my life so far. That’s how I decided that I didn’t want to study film making after all, but wanted to work more with my hands. So I started a course in Three-Dimensional Design in at the University of Portsmouth during which I discovered my love for jewellery. When graduated I had done a little bit of everything, but not much of anything, I needed to deepen my understanding in the field of contemporary jewellery. When I found a little school in Florence, Italy, by the name of Alchimia I knew that’s where I needed to go. So I moved to Italy. During the 3 years I spent in Florence I discovered that also with jewellery spontaneity is a valuable tool. 
After I finished the 3 year course I again moved, to Vienna, Austria, this time, where I’m still working and living now. I had found the studio and artist community STOSSIMHIMMEL, that has proven to be a great support for me and my work. During the first year in Vienna I decided that I also wanted to do the fourth year of Alchimia, called Quaternitas. I chose Ruudt Peters as my tutor and he showed me that I needed to leave my comfort zone in order to make good pieces, hence the title “ Have you got the guts?” The pieces shown in this exhibition are a part of the outcome of that year.

Jewellery is something that needs to be touched. And this is how it all starts, intuitively manipulating materials…leather… textiles… wood…stone…latex… Sometimes I let them decide themselves what they want to be and sometimes a specific idea calls for a specific material. The challenge, for me, is to transform the material in such a way that it changes completely, it becomes something else entirely, until it becomes jewellery...
Skin – the barrier between our self and the world. Worn outside of this barrier, these pieces become like an extension to our self. Like adding a protective layer to our self or slipping into someone else’s skin, mimic of reality or the chance to be someone else. Or like the phrase “being thin skinned”, meaning being sensitive and in need of a thicker skin, or protective layer. Being inspired by the body itself, they create a sense of confusion in us. Fascination and disgust, they are in a way a part of us, but at the same time they are like a disfigurement that we catch ourselves staring at. Or like a repressed feeling that materializes in form of a growth or a tumour, for us to carry with us.

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