Exhibitions09 01 2016 — 05 03 2016
TOBIAS ALM The Châtelaine
October 2009 the gallery showed jewellery by Tobias Alm, who has then just graduated from Ädellab Konstfack, the art academy of Stockholm. This work was all about materials, about phenomena like weight, rhythm, contrast, colour, and connections. Its message, both to the wearer and the observer, lies somewhere between invitation and provocation. In 2012, at Alm's second exhibition, the emphasis has shifted to a vocabulary of shapes that is familiar to everybody but hardly ever takes center stage: that of tools and utensils. In no way steered by functional aspects, the design plays a intriguing game with form and associations.
During the past years Alm continued his studies in order to obtain his master-degree, which gave him the opportunity to investigate his fascinations more profoundly. He concerned himself not only with the way devices are composed, but also with the social meaning of the things we wear. His point of departure for his final project was the tool-belt, that pinnacle of efficiency and masculinity. As a body-related object (to use the correct jargon) it functions as an identifier and as a sort of jewellery. Even more surprising is the affiliation with a 'genuine' traditional jewel, the chatelaine: once a pragmatic key-ring on a housewife's belt, which in due course developed into a complex and luxurious ornament.
Through this confrontation, codes and meanings quickly accumulated, providing Alm with sufficient inspiration to get to work. In the results his sources are still clearly recognizable: authentic sturdy leather fragments, which are combined with gilded silver elements in a hybrid rococo-style. In combination with Tobias Alm's already familiar talent for contour and shape, beautifully crafted jewellery pieces emerged that can genuinely be qualified as 'gender-neutral'.
(© Galerie Rob Koudijs)