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SOMA x SKOLIMOWSKI x TENSING x VALTER

Sofia Hallik / SOMA Jewellery, Birgit Skolimowski, Harry Tensing, Ene Valter 26.11.2020–02.01.2021

In December the windows of A-Gallery host exhibitions by SOMA Jewellery (Sofia Hallik), Birgit Skolimowski, Harry Tensing and Ene Valter. The exhibitions are on view between 29 October and 21 November 2020.

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NEW WORLD Sofia Hallik / SOMA Jewellery   Estonian jewellery brand SOMA presents a new collection New World. The concept is based on a utopia about a symbiosis of Man and the Planet without the threat of environmental and man-made disasters. In the course of self-improvement cycles, each new generation of artificial intelligence emerged faster and faster, generating a kind of “intellectual explosion”. Ultimately, a planet endowed with super-intelligence, superior to that of all mankind, appeared. 

The amorphous form of the New World, flowing from one to another shape, is reflected in the jewellery from the new collection. The author allows the software to determine the shape of the jewellery by setting certain parameters in the software. The process of creating goes on in a new way, where the machine takes upon itself the role of a creator. 

Gender fluid jewellery from New World collection is 3D printed from recycled sterling silver.

Sofia Hallik (1991), the founder and CEO of SOMA Jewellery brand, is a jeweller, designer and PhD researcher at the Estonian Academy of Arts. In her doctoral thesis, Sofia examines the impact of digital technology on jewellery making.

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WHAT IF… Birgit Skolimowski

In 1891, goldsmith Joseph Kopf opened here, at Hobusepea Street 2 one of the most notable and fine jewellery shops in Tallinn. For example, a decorative plate for Swedish crown prince Gustav Adolf as well as the chain of office of the first president of Estonia, Konstantin Päts, were made here. By today, almost 130 years have passed since the jewellery shop opened. If only we could go back in time and work in the environment and atmosphere of that time… 

What if…

….we as jewellery artists of today could go back and create jewellery for people of the past?

What was the significance of jewellery at the time? What was considered jewellery – was it only diamonds and gold? Would jewellery of today have spoken to people of the past? How much has the meaning of jewellery changed since then? Does jewellery protect or decorate us? Can ugly be beautiful and does form determine content? Can aesthetics and beauty be trivial? Do you always need a reason to adorn yourself?

Form must be discussed, the content is evaluated by the viewer. The maker of jewellery always has a story but when a piece of jewellery is commissioned by someone, their story is revealed through the maker’s interpretation.

I imagined myself meeting and talking to the people commissioning jewellery in those years, with joys and sorrows long gone by now. I listened to their stories and made those ideas into jewellery.

Birgit Skolimowski (1977) graduated the jewellery department at the Estonian Academy of Art 2006 (BA) and a year later she enrolled in the MA programme. Soon her daughters were born and for a couple of years she focused on being a mother.  This, however, never stopped her from creating jewellery. By now she has worked in her studio, here at Hobusepea Street 2 for almost 13 years.  Her daily work is divided between creating small series and commissioned works. Skolimowski has worked with numerous Estonian fashion designers and created jewellery for their shows as well as for their clients for special events.  She describes herself: “I love to create feminine and romantic jewellery with simple and minimal form. I’m inspired by life – people, architecture and, of course, nature. I will probably stay here, at the studio at Hobusepea Street and create jewellery for the rest of my life – I have still not grown tired of it.“

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THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF TURNING BACK Harry Tensing  

The artist is intrigued by the question whether there are ways for turning back to something that is gone. During his artistic research, the artist engraved arbitrary motifs onto silver plates; the play with random thoughts created a fictitious meaning. After having sawed the plates into small pieces, the artist recombined them and constructed new stories in the form of jewellery. Imprints taken of the plates beforehand serve as the only proof of their existence.

By adding semi-precious stones to the silver details a collection of jewellery was born, confirming the impossibility of turning back. 

Harry Tensing (1972) graduated from the department of sculpture at Tartu Art School (1992) and the department of jewellery and blacksmithing at the Estonian Academy of Arts (1998. He is currently working as a goldsmith in a historical enterprise Roman Tavast and as a freelance jewellery artist.

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EUREKA Ene Valter  

In preparation for each artwork, intense creative thinking is required. I love taking a particular material, precious stone, metaphor or symbol as the starting point when creating jewellery and then thinking around it, trying out forms, techniques and visuals. Often this testing period can be quite long and completion of the works needs to be put on hold. The antique corals in this exhibition waited for their time before becoming a piece of jewellery for several years. But finally, the long-awaited clarity arrived, I came to a solution and was able to exclaim with great satisfaction: EUREKA!

Ene Valter (1952) graduated from the Department of Jewellery and Blacksmithing at the State Art Institute of Estonian SSR in 1977. After graduating she worked as a freelance artist and in 1986 she became a member of the Estonian Artists’ Association. Ene Valter is one of the founders of A-gallery and is currently working as a CEO at ARS-Vasetööd OÜ. A large part of Valter’s work is designing and making coats of arms for boroughs, medallions, awards and badges of honour, which she has always seen as a subset of jewellery art. In jewellery Valter values clarity, simple form and timelessness. Alongside silver, she uses high heat enamels when creating jewellery and badges, as that allows to satisfy her “colour hunger” in the rather monochrome choice of materials.

Above all, she enjoys designing and making chains of office for mayors, rectors of establishments of higher education and presidents of organisations. Valter significantly contributed in creating the gold chain of office for the President of Estonia for the republic’s 90th anniversary. She also authored the 5 kroon metal coin with the image of Jaan Koort’s deer. Ene Valter has presented solo exhibitions in Finland, Hungary and Estonia and has been nominated for the Jewellery of the Year Award in 2018.

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SOMA x SKOLIMOWSKI x TENSING x VALTER

26.11.2020 – 02.01.2021

Artist talks at agalerii.ee and on Instagram @a.galerii

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The event is supported by the Estonian Cultural Endowment