NewsPRESS RELEASE 27.08.2007
CHALLENGING THE CHÂTELAINE!
This exhibition re-introduces a curious type of jewellery – the chatelaine, known today as an adornment with several pendants. In the Middle Ages, the French word châtelaine marked the mistress of the castle, with a key ring worn around her waist. Originally, the chatelaine symbolized power, as the owner of it had access to locked doors and the authority to decide and to grant permission. Later the belt piece became common in different strata and took on new forms. Not only keys were worn on the belt, but also clocks, sewing kits, knives and other practical items. The pendants could be elegant luxury items, such as perfume bottles, mirrors, notebooks with ivory leaves, compacts and jewellery.
Helen Williams Drutt English, one of the most renowned jewellery curators and a collector, invited artists from Europe (including Kadri Mälk, Kristi Paap and Eve Margus-Villems from Estonia), the Americas, Australia and Japan to create chatelaines so that this type of jewellery could acquire a new sheen after its long demise brought on by the short skirts and handbags of the 20th century. The concept of the exhibition is seemingly simple: all the invited artists were free to choose how their chatelaine would look and who would be the role model for the piece. The result was inspiring pieces of jewellery that all had their personal stories.
The exhibition features 73 chatelaines from 78 artists (six pieces represent teams of two) who have been inspired by historical figures, contemporary icons, imaginary cartoon characters (such as Shrek), a lover, a wife, a mother, inventors, scientists, literary figures and many other personae.
All chatelaines were made specifically for this exhibition from 2002 to 2006.
The exhibition was first shown in Finnish Designmuseum 29.09.2006-14.01.2007.
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