Infinite Beauty, On the Move
July 17-August 17, 2020
Patina Gallery, Santa Fe
Patina Gallery presents Infinite Beauty, On the Move, a collection by master metalsmiths and jewelry makers Ulla and Martin Kaufmann, in partnership with Charon Kransen Arts. Pioneers in their craft, the Kaufmanns are considered some of the most important artists working in gold and silver. The married couple has collaborated closely for fifty years, based at their atelier in Hildesheim, Germany, and traveling frequently to share and gather inspiration. Together, they have mastered gold and silversmith techniques and forged new forms. Their process is one of organic development, driven by a deep knowledge of classical methods and their contemporary vision of elegance and innovation. “We derive forms from our own lives,” they say, “from our joys and from our sorrows.” Jewelry that springs from such sources becomes a special punctuation in the collector’s narrative, commemorating complex moments. The online exhibition opened July 17, 2020, at patina-gallery.com.
The Kaufmanns have found harmony in their creative partnership that manifests in their work. Ulla is more methodical, approaching concepts slowly as she gathers possibilities and considerations. Martin is more reflexive, pouncing swiftly on ideas as he responds to creative stimuli. The artists’ early stylistic impetus was rooted in post-war, Bauhaus aesthetics. They decided on a radical turning point in the 1980s when they participated in their first arts and crafts fair with an industrial inclination. From then on, they became the inventors of their own style. Their process is a kind of dialectic, moving between minds and hands until balance is achieved and expressed. This flow allows them to find the fulcrum point between contradictions: tradition and innovation, thinking and making, austerity and beauty, movement and metal.
Expertise and Craft
Decades of gathered knowledge allow the Kaufmanns to work daringly with their materials. Especially expert at wielding high-karat gold, the artists hammer dynamic tensions into their bands. This technique contributes to almost life-like dynamism in their jewelry. Their pieces wrap around the body gracefully. The subtly flexible bands that form the conceptual foundation of their work can pull and give, responding and adapting to the wearer without compromising or breaking. Few goldsmiths are able to infuse their work with such fluidity. The artists are committed to ensuring their craft passes on, generously supporting initiatives to promote young artists.
The Kaufmanns’ work makes strong statements about courage, creativity, and honesty. Sculptural and functional, their jewelry (spanning rings, bracelets, necklaces, and earrings) is meant to be built upon and reinvented over time. Minimalist design, always beginning from the band, allows for growth and evolution. Gemstones sometimes punctuate their work, often with playful asymmetry and color that create lightness. Other pieces allow the purity of the material and form to stand for itself. The aesthetics of space become tangible—and comfortable—through their architectural sensibilities and understanding of the relation between the wearer and the piece. The simplicity of the Kaufmanns’ designs renders each decision elemental, with no cover for falsity, stripping away all but the essential.