Sally Marsland<br/>
<em>Flat colour, brooches</em> (2002)<br/>
epoxy resin mixed with powdered pigment<br/>
4.5 x 4.5 x 0.8 cm (average)<br/>
Collection of the artist<br/>
Photo: Jeremy Dillon<br/>
© Sally Marsland
back to Media Releases
Sally Marsland
Media Release • 20 Apr 12

Unexpected Pleasures: The Art and Design of Contemporary Jewellery

On 21 April, the National Gallery of Victoria will open the highly anticipated contemporary exhibition, Unexpected Pleasures: The Art and Design of Contemporary Jewellery.

Unexpected Pleasures displays almost 200 works by important Australian and international contemporary jewellers who have pushed conceptual and material boundaries within their practices.

Dr Gerard Vaughan, Director, NGV said: “This is a remarkable and exciting exhibition, brilliantly installed in the Gallery’s newly redeveloped Contemporary Exhibitions space at NGV International.”

This Design Museum, London exhibition is curated by Guest Curator and Melbourne jeweller Susan Cohn, and is complemented by a selection of NGV Collection works and private loans.

The exhibition explores the essential meanings of jewellery, bypassing traditional perceptions and instead tracing the radical experiments of contemporary jewellers who have challenged the conventions of jewellery design.

The exhibition is curated through a number of themes:  Worn Out – celebrating the experience of wearing jewellery; Linking Links – looking at the ways in which ‘meaning’ and narratives are invested and expressed through sub-themes such as Social Expressions and Creative Systems, and; A Fine Line – offering insight into the origins of contemporary jewellery today, highlighting key instigators of the Contemporary Jewellery Movement that started in the late 1970s.

Each theme within the exhibition provides an outline of current thinking and offers a unique view on how people use and interact with objects, through which design and production processes come to light. Photography in this context becomes a vital instrument for expressing the ‘wearability’ and the performative aspects of jewellery, and a selection of photographic works are also included in the exhibition.

New techniques and experimentation continue to question the relevance of preciousness, highlighting the shifting values from material worth to the personal associations that jewellery holds. The exhibition celebrates jewellery from the point of view of both the maker and the wearer. It considers the pleasures of wearing jewellery and the many meanings associated with jewellery which are at times unpredictable and, in turn, unexpected.

Unexpected Pleasures: The Art and Design of Contemporary Jewellery will be on display at NGV International, St Kilda Road from 21 April 2012 – 26 August 2012. Open Wed–Mon, 10am–5pm. Entry is FREE.


Download media release

Download media kit

Exhibition generously supported by the Joan and Peter Clemenger Trust.

A Design Museum, London touring exhibition.