This exhibition contains more than 300 works by approximately 140 artists from 23 countries. The works are all from the jewellery collection of the art historian Jorunn Veiteberg (b. 1955), and this is the first time the collection is on public display.
The exhibition is organized chronologically, according to when Veiteberg acquired the jewellery. It shows how a passionate interest has been allowed to develop through several decades and result in what is now a collection of outstanding international art jewellery.
The exhibition begins with Veiteberg’s early use of jewellery in the 1960s and ‘70s. When she is 15 years old, her father comes home from a study trip to Finland with a bronze necklace made by the well-known Finish producer Kalevala Koru. This sparks her interest and courage to wear jewellery. She then starts buying her own bronze jewellery, but now in Finish contemporary designs. This she continues with as a young university student in the 1970s. At the same time, a strong involvement in political and feminist issues comes to expression through frequent use of buttons with slogans, of the sort worn on a jacket.
In the 1980s Veiteberg establishes herself as an art historian, and already at this time she is known for always wearing jewellery that challenges the conception of what jewellery is or can be. During this decade and throughout the ‘90s, she becomes an important exponent for Norwegian art jewellery. Five Norwegian jewellery artists come to prominence: Toril Bjorg, Liv Blåvarp, Sigurd Bronger, Konrad Mehus and Tone Vigeland. By following their careers, writing about them and engaging them in discussion, Veiteberg’s understanding of jewellery expands. Whether the pieces can be worn or not becomes less important.
In the 1990s Veiteberg is one of the few freelance art historians writing about Norwegian craft artists. She writes texts for artist catalogues and is often paid with art rather than money. In 1994 she falls in love with a Dane, moves to Denmark and establishes herself in a country that is closer to the European art scene. Veiteberg starts to define herself as a collector and gains an international network through art jewellery. Naturally enough, she begins more frequently to buy works by international jewellery artists.
From 1998 to 2007, Veiteberg is the editor of Kunsthåndverk, the journal of the Norwegian Association for Arts and Crafts, and the job further strengthens her position internationally as a theorist for contemporary craft. Parallel to an ever-increasing number of international projects, the number of jewellery purchases also increases. Key themes begin crystalizing in the collection. For example: pearls and diamonds used in informal and unconventional ways; the use of derelict objects that, when transformed into jewellery material, gain new and lasting value; humour as a strategic tool; and jewellery that questions what jewellery is (meta-jewellery). Veiteberg continuously expands the concept of art jewellery and becomes more aware of her own identity as a collector.