BEFORE AND AFTER an exhibition of jewellery by Joachim Sokolski

BEFORE AND AFTER an exhibition of jewellery by Joachim Sokolski

12 May - 05 June 2005

Programme coordinator: Dejan Sandić, International Cooperation Curator
“I work the way I think,” is the creative position of Joachim Sokulski, an artist and jewellery designer who, using his art, managed to shift aesthetic barriers between design and the production of art jewellery in Poland. His jewellery is unusually contemporary and original, simple yet as precise as a work of an engineer. He first started creating jewellery during the 1970’s, at a time when Poland, a country isolated behind the Iron curtain, did not provide academic education for young jewellers. The isolation was interrupted in 1975 by the activity of the “UFO” art group, founded by four young Polish artists, Sokulski being one of them. After an exhibition in Warsaw, Joachim Sokulski was the first Polish artist ever to exhibit his work at the Electrum gallery in London, that attracted avantgarde artists from all over Europe. That is where he came to know Wendy Remshaw, Gerda Flockinger, David Watkins, Bruno Martinazi etc. “They were thinking the same way as I was – they were trying to escape the bourgeois perception of jewellery”, Sokulski said many years later, sticking to his position that to comply with the average taste means the end of an artist. “My work… shocked people, I’ve never fallen under the influence of buyers.”

During the seventies jewellery in Poland was made using heat, and it abounded in ornaments. Joachim Sokulski preferred conscious creation, construction and purity of form. Precisely he calculated the weight of an object, its inner proportions, taking into consideration its human background, which made him one of the pioneers of machine style. He introduced modern materials, tools and technology, the first to do so even outside Poland, stating that any material can be used to create jewellery.

Joachim Sokulski’s work is presented in numerous publications and decorated with many national and international awards and commendations, and the collections of his work found place in prestigious museums and galleries (the Jewellery Museum in Forzheim, Germany, the Museum in Glivice, Poland, the Museum of Goldsmiths’ Art in the city of Kazimierz Dolny, Poland, the only museum dedicated exclusively to jewellery).

The “Before and After” exhibition is a retrospective of Joachim Sokulski’s work. Long ago, in 1973, the Museum of Applied Art in Belgrade hosted an exhibition by a young artist who had just made his first steps upon the international jewellery stage. Today, more than thirty years later, we have before us old works and new – what was BEFORE and what came AFTER.