During World War II, when the men would be away on the battlefield, women would take off their otherwise heavy neck pieces, bracelets and rings, opting for more handmade varieties. This style of accessories was made famous by many jewellery artists across Europe. With her work in jewellery made from materials such as oxidised copper, iron nuggets, threads and rhodonite, Switzerland-born artist Esther Brinkmann brings this style to India. Her exhibition titled “Renewable Pleasures: The India Chapter” at Chemould Prescott Road in Mumbai continues till August 23.
The show displays stunning pieces of jewellery such as double rings, finger vessels (rings that cover an entire finger, shaped like vessels), neckpieces and pendants as pieces of art. Each piece is being showcased in a specially designed wooden box. Brinkmann, trained as a goldsmith, works in her own workshop — mixing metals and alloys for her work and experiments with texture, thickness and body of the piece. She has been working in this field since 1987 when she set up the first contemporary jewellery department in Geneva. Since then, her wearable artworks have travelled to Paris and New York. She has also conducted workshops in New Delhi. It’s been four years since the artist has been living in India, which, she insists, is the reason she now includes colour ornamentation in her pieces.
It is interesting to note that the pieces are placed in the space of one of the oldest art galleries in Mumbai although it is not the gallery’s first attempt at marrying art and jewellery. In 2012, the gallery hosted two exhibitions — Vivan Sundaram’s “Gagawaka: Making Strange” and Shakuntala Kulkarni’s “Of Bodies, Armour and Cages”, exploring concepts of wearable art.