We’ve all envisioned the multi-faceted diamond that will someday sit upon our left ring finger, or the Cartier that should be wrapped around our wrist, but few have pondered headphones as a potential accessory or screw bolts as a fashion statement. Susan Cohn’s, Unexpected Pleasures: The Art and Design of Contemporary Jewellery, explores the point at which art, consumerism, and jewelry converge.
The pages are filled with conceptual pieces that stretch the definition of jewelry. Among the thought-provoking pieces – a play mobile necklace made of discombobulated limbs, a neckpiece consisting of pieces of elm wood strung together, gold lobster gloves, and more.
Cohn goes beyond the idea of jewelry as a craft, and looks at its relation to one’s sense of self. “Self-Image is shaped, among other things, by a combination of gender, cultural identity, social conditioning and experience. These are aspects of the personality that are most clearly reflected by the things that we wear as well as by our possessions and, for want of a better word, by how we choose to adorn ourselves with them.” To Cohn, jewelry is more than decorative or lucrative; it speaks to its wearer and interacts with world around it.
Unexpected Pleasures: The Art and Design of Contemporary Jewellery is available now through Rizzoli in conjunction with the Design Museum’s exhibition, showing at the National Gallery of Victoria from August 20th through the 26th.
Written by Rachel Ellison