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Sigurd Bronger: Wearables

Mar 15, 2024

The Die Neue Sammlung – The Design Museum in Munich presents “Wearables”, an exhibition of work by Norwegian artist Sigurd Bronger. The exhibition opened during Munich Jewellery week in March and will be on view through June 2, 2024.

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Sigurd Bronger is a Norwegian jewellery designer whose work could be considered sculpture or conceptual as much as jewellery design. Using non-traditional materials such as goose eggs, sponges and balloons, his highly precise and complex mechanical objects are feats of the imagination and of engineering. Bronger began studying goldsmithing and jewellery at a young age at the Oslo Vocational College before going to the Netherlands to further his studies in watchmaking and goldsmithing at the Vocational School in Schoonhoven, graduating in 1979.  But his work is inspired by modern and contemporary art as much as the history of jewellery making. Calling his work ‘wearables’ before that term became an everyday term associated with objects like the smart watch, Bronger has always challenged ideas of what the field can be.

As Petra Hölscher, the curator of the exhibition, explains, “For Sigurd Bronger, the repertoire of things elevated to jewelry objects knows no bounds. The items are rendered wearable through the artful mechanisms on which they are mounted and hung. In their meticulous precision, the brass and gold mechanisms are reminiscent of scientific instruments, and like such instruments, Bronger’s objects fit snugly into their specially made wooden cases. The artist himself does not call his works jewelry, nor brooches, rings or necklaces, but simply ‘wearable objects’.

Bronger has described his work as ‘absurd’ but this is more of a provocation, as he described in an interview with Reinhold Ziegler in “The Vessel”. Rather than present his work as sculpture, which he easily could have done since his early career, Bronger specifically prefers to work in the context of a jewellery designer if not to subvert expectations and ruffle the feathers of an often-traditional discipline. He likes the element of surprise his works evoke and, in this way, Bronger is like a modern-day magician, creating surprising objects from his studio that are full of delight and humour as well as subversiveness.

Bronger’s work often is referred to as Surreal and it fits in well to the era’s playful use of objects, from Meret Oppenheim’s fur teacup to Dali’s lobster phone, but Bronger’s work goes further in its technical considerations. As Bronger told Lise Coirier in 2013, “I like to create ready-made objects that can be playful and interpreted as works of art in line with the Surrealists, the Pop and conceptual artists. They tease you, and are appealing thanks to the attention I pay to the details. They have to be perfect. They are my ‘Laboratorium Mechanum’, as I described in my book published by Arnoldsche. I’m fascinated by machines and instruments, and want to explore new forms of expression bridging jewellery and the world of art, design and engineering. Experimenting with forms and materials is the key to my work, breaking away from the conservative approach to silversmithing. Jewellery has to be communicative and unconventional, yet ‘wearable’. My most popular icon is certainly the yellow balloon with the smiley on it”.

Bronger’s work truly takes us out of the everyday and into a realm of the imagination that goes far beyond. As Hölscher states: “Thanks to his inquisitiveness and his way of looking at things, our own world of objects expands many times over – the ball from the computer mouse becomes a ring, the precious diamond in the medicinal blister packaging a brooch, with the disposable packaging however catching the eye more strongly than the gemstone.”

Sigurd Bronger: “Wearables”, is on view at the Die Neue Sammlung – The Design Museum through June 2, 2024.

Pinakothek der Moderne


Ra Galerie

@ klimt02_barcelona

Sigurd Bronger, Brooch, "Sustainable construction No. 0923, 2023, Cardboard box, silver, steel, brass, 4 x 4 x 2 cm, Private collection, Photo: Sigurd Bronger
Sigurd Bronger, Necklace "Carrying device for a goose egg", 2016. Goose egg, felt, white gold cord, 11 x 4 cm, Private collection. Photo: Sigurd Bronger
Sigurd Bronger, Necklace "Camay", 2005, Camay soap [hotel size], chrome-plated silver, cotton cord, 4 x 3,7 x 1,2 cm, Die Neue Sammlung - The Design Museum, Photo: Sigurd Bronger
Sigurd Bronger, Brooch "Balloon", 2001. Balloon, chrome-plated brass, steel, 15 x 5,1 x 24 cm (size of balloon). Private collection. Photo: Sigurd Bronger
Sigurd Bronger, Ring, 1994. Hard foam, silver, acrylic paint, 4 x 2 cm, Private Collection. Photo: Sigurd Bronger
Sigurd Bronger, Brooch, 1984, Brass, steel, lacquer. 15 x 2 x 2 cm. Private Collection. Photo: Sigurd Bronger
Sigurd Bronger, Brooch "Carrying device for a Nautilus shell", 2015, Nautilus shell, steel, gold-plated brass. 10,5 x 14 x 9,8 cm, Nationalmuseum Oslo, Bavarian State Award for outstanding ideas and technical achievements in the crafts sector. Photo: Sigurd Bronger
Installation view: Sigurd Bronger, Wearables, Die Neue Sammlung - The Design Museum, 2024. Photo: Die Neue Sammlung (K. Mewes)

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