This month the National Craft Gallery in Kilkenny is hosting an exhibition of jewellery entitled 21st Century Icons. The exhibition brings together the work of twenty two artists who have been given the brief to reinvent the traditional Bronze Age torc.
In Bronze Age Ireland the torc was a symbol of wealth and status and was often buried with it’s owner as currency in the next life. The torc has changed from this symbol of wealth and power to a mass produced item of jewellery geared towards tourists. The aim of this exhibtion was to challenge these artists to re investigate this much used image and ask the question what can it convey about the Ireland of today.
The results are brilliant in their diversity, with the exhibition displaying a collection of techniques and materials. The piece that stands out for me is Christina Brosnan’s. This flowing leather and brass piece combines the essence of a torc with contemporary forms. I also loved Sam Hamilton’s silver interpretation of ipod headphones. As I haven’t been able to visit the exhibition I have only seen a selection of the work but hopefully when I get back form Birmingham I’ll be able to take a trip to Kilkenny. I decided to include it in my blog so you all get a chance to plan your trip to the National Craft Gallery before the exhibition ends on 28th July. It’s a great time to visit Kilkenny as the graduate show from the jewellery and goldsmithing course will also be running.