Collection and Collecting and Gold – Aura of Preciousness

Proceedings of the ŠperkStret International Conference of Contemporary Jewellery 2016 –

The new publication of the ŠperkStret team – peer-reviewed Proceedings of ŠperkStret International Conference of Contemporary Jewellery 2016 – 2018 brings a selection of texts from the 8th and 9th editions of the conference dedicated to the topics Collection and Collecting and Gold – Aura of Preciousness.

Both topics, viewed in a broad interdisciplinary context, offer inspiring reading supplemented by photo illustrations and literature references from the fields of philosophy, history, theory of art, collecting and jewellery. The topic of collecting is reflected in the contributions of Heidi and Karl Bollmann, leading collectors of contemporary jewellery from Vienna, Slovak art theorist Naďa Kančevá from the Academy of Fine Arts in Bratislava and Portuguese artist Carla Castiajo. The topic of gold is coved by: Dušan Buran, art theorist and chief curator of the Collection of Old Art of the Slovak National Gallery in Bratislava, Petra Matějovičová, art theorist and chief curator of the Collection of Metals and Various Materials at the Museum of Applied Arts in Prague, Czech art theorist and curator Tereza Vernerová Volná and ethnologist Ivana Šusterová.

The conference proceedings are published in Slovak / Czech and English language versions.
Editors: Mária H. Nepšinská and Katarína D.F. Siposová
Reviewer: Timotej Blažek
278 pages
Jeweller´s Association AURA
Bratislava, 2021
ISBN 978-80-89762-11-8

To order the proceedings please write to

The publication can also be purchased at the ExLibris bookstore (SNG, Bratislava).

Price: 12 eur

Wrap-up of ŠperkStret 2020

10th edition of ŠperkStret 2020 was special. It took place internationally and intimately at the same time, worldwide and at our homes. We were, within three days, connected virtually in time and space, for one particular reason – that we simply wanted to be “here”, listen, learn and share.

In times of pandemia of coronavirus, we’ve chosen to make this conference online, rather than postponing it until the return of “normality” as we know it. By this I feel we kind of accept the impossibility of our previous plans, plans we stick onto, and we’ve decided to adapt upon this “new reality”.

This years’ edition was focused on the topic of Body Politics and Jewellery. It’s difficult to compress what has been said, universally, so I will write about what I remember and what has stayed with me. I think the start can be: Why do we even adorn ourselves? Why do we take materials from deep down the earth and put it on our body? (as Pravu Mazumdar put it in his talk). It’s strange enough.

The meeting point for most of the presentations was Communication. We heard about jewellery as a social sign on the body, the act of social ritual, by which we communicate. Be it communicating a message – strengthening one’s identity, or stressing international otherness, power of the body. Be it expressing thoughts that can otherwise not be spoken (for political reasons), or simply communicating faster than a political decisions that needs to be taken and concluded on. Jewellery can communicate norms, even newly made-up cultural ones. It works with time-tested conventions, testing our sensitivity and awakeness. Jewellery is a vehicle for the transmission of complex contents and reflections (as Ilaria Ruggiero mentioned).

Question to consider: What an object is able to carry and convey? What weight is it able to hold?

Another keyword was Performativity. Pravu Mazumdar saw jewellery as a force that could shape our behaviour. Both him and Katarína D. F. Siposová were talking about jewellery as a process – not an object, but acts of intervention. This process includes the awareness of the body – the body that is never politically neutral. An activated body – of the maker in the whole process, but also of the viewer / perceiver / wearer. Performativity is the way to inhibit his or her reaction, an attempt for creating a social dialogue. We can also see performativity as a process for transforming the way we may define – and break certain norms, and even the boundaries of the medium (of jewellery).

Questions to consider: Rather than asking “Is it jewellery?, let’s try this one: “What does it say?” and “What does it do?” – performative surface of the piece and a potential of inhibiting an action – provoking to change the way we consider normal.

Part of the context of performativity of jewellery is its potential to act upon or against a certain conventions on our conscious or subconscious level. We are aware of our message, or we may follow the norm without knowing that there is any, and by that, reproduce it and confirm it. This is what Karen Pontoppidan pointed out in her lecture. She discussed her main point – Jewellery has always been a socio-political statement, as it has always been about normative behaviour – it is either norm-confirming or norm-critical. By this behaviour we simply mark our position in a society and our relation to others, our place as an individual. In Karen’s lecture we could also read the importance of our memory, knowledge and awareness of how norms can be manipulated. In situations when nobody really remembers where the norm has come from, we sometimes tend to simply follow it, as it has always been there.

Pravu Mazumdar was talking about more widely spread universe of forces of dispositive, the context of social, societal and political that jewellery is part of. As well as buildings, bodies, institutions are part of it. Nothing is in isolation. Jewellery is never an isolated object, even in a gallery – it is always part of the bigger disposivite. He named the purpuse of working on the dispositive and that is to increase the social knowledge. He also discussed performativity in a context of performative utterance – words that take function as actions. In this understanding, objects can function like words – as signifiers, capable of impacting their sociocultural environment.

Question to consider: How do we wear our bodies?

To be political means to be public, in general meaning of the word, to actively participate on public affairs. As makers we are often processing our own attitudes towards different issues and trying to express them, imprinting them into object – that is where political meets personal. Personal is political. This phrase has been used as a rallying call by feminists since 60’s to change the agenda of politics in terms of who and what is included – personal reflects the political status quo. Ilaria Ruggiero presented the project Nuda Vita as a potential platform for reflection on the body and expressed that the jewellery discipline could use the body in a completely innovative way.

The project has gathered selected artists and gave space for their reflections on different political issues related to their own cultures of origin, their own individual refection of some form of oppressions or injustice of collective or individual freedom.

Question to consider: What accounts as political for you?

Katarína D. F. Siposová has brough an interesting thought about the current position of jewellery in the fine art world: Position of an outsider. We can see this outsiderism as one of its biggest powers – jewellery that is socially and politically engaged can operate from this position and surprise, as it is both thinking from and “hitting” from the outside, from the position of undominant tendency.

Katja Prins brought in an anthropocenic point of view where our body is the measure of everything and technology is acting upon that. By that she touched antropocentristic’s counterpart – that is object onthology – from our point of being a subject – and technology is our way to survive in this world. Her speech was unrolling from her ongoing fascination about the ambivalent powers of technology, that is more and more going from the surface of our bodies (as body extensions) underneath and inside of us. Healing-protective and toxic-desctructive. We are coming more stronger and more vulnerable. She was talking about pushing the boundaries of our perception of the body, as well as the boundaries of where do we want to go with it, with our bodies, our lives, constantly enhanced by technology. In order to survive, we adapt the environment to our needs.

Questions to keep in mind: Do we want to go somewhere just because it is possible? And how fast are we capable of walking – running…?

I wish this year’s session has made us all a bit more sensitive and aware about the entire network of relations, including those between jewellery and our bodies, and our body towards other bodies.

Thank you,

Hope to see you and hear you in 2022
Dana Tomečková (moderator of ŠperkStret 2020)

„Body Politics

and Jewellery“

Is contemporary jewellery an artistic reflection of the social conditions in which it is created?

Does it reflect social and environmental issues related to the manual production, sustainability and ethical extraction of precious materials? Or is its material expression identifiable as a critical tool and commentary on political and social problems rather than a symbolic expression of value, status, or capital?

The depth of critical reflections also leads to a fundamental question. Why are we decorating ourselves?

What social impact does it imply? Can jewellery be a medium of social, cultural significance and a reflection of a certain social behavior? The critical examination of the concept of jewellery is based on the non-verbal interaction between the creator, the object, the wearer and the viewer, as well as on the way of consciously placing jewellery on specific parts of the body. Political Body and Jewellery refers to the power of communication or provocation in the context of current political and social conditions expressed and commented on or through wearable objects.

The mission of contemporary jewellery is to reflect and explore issues that are fundamental to contemporary culture, including the change of view of ornamentation and the human body.

What seems to be particularly important is the relationship between jewellery and the current social events in the context of the expression of the personal identity and opinion of the wearer. While wearing jewellery is generally a private gesture, it can be also viewed as a public manifestation commenting on the social, political and cultural problems of the society as a support, protest, non-verbal critical gesture, or generally shared memory.

Jewellery represents a person´s determination to express their attitude towards political events, membership of social groups or subcultures and to speak in a way that no other wearable object can.

The generally shared will to ornament the body with jewellery is compensated by the desire to express some sort of message through it. This gives it the power to become a powerful communication tool in the public space. Even a simple piece of jewellery- a badge, can be serve as an active symbol of identification with an equally minded group of people. It is a political manifestation of social and political solidarity. It relates to our urgent desire to identify ourselves as a sympathizer or an adversary and our impulsive effort to define ourselves against something or someone. These small objects are not merely visual mechanisms for different social schemes, but there are identification objects characterized by their power of symbolic gesture.


Based on the current COVID-19 situation and the actual restrictions regarding travel arrangements as well as on the organization of public events, we decided that the lectures of ŠperkStret 2020 will take place just ONLINE.

Registration for the ŠperkStret 2020 lectures HERE

3/nov/2020 GMT+2

5 pm – 6 pm
Katarína D. F. Siposová (SK)
Every body counts. On the social value of jewellery

6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Karen Pontoppidan (DK/DE)
Jewellery: A socio-political statement

4/nov/2020 GMT+2

5 pm – 6 pm
Pravu Mazumdar (IN/DE)
How to do things with Jewellery. On the power of objects

5/nov/2020 GMT+2

5 pm – 6 pm
Katja Prins (NL)
Brave New World

6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Ilaria Ruggiero (IT)
NUDA VITA. The practice of collective and political body

Online lectures moderated by Dana Tomečková will be given in English with simultaneous translation.

Anyone interested in the lectures can participate free of charge after registration in the individual online rooms via a link sent by e-mail.

We are looking forward to seeing you!

If you want to receive more information about the upcoming events and join our mailing list let us know at

Your ŠperkStret team


Pravu Mazumdar

How to do things with Jewellery
On the power of objects

Jewellery affects the way the body of the wearer is experienced. But in doing so, it also affects the body of the observer. The form and location of an object on a body affect the senses and transform the movement and behaviour of the observer. In the process we call jewellery, bodies and objects intermingle as constellations of forces.

In my talk I would like to focus on the connection between jewellery and power. That includes the way an object is crafted and worn to create shifts in the bodies, understood as constellations of forces, involved in the jewellery process. To understand such processes, I will apply certain trends in twentieth century philosophy to concrete objects created by contemporary studio jewellery and try to delineate how these unfold their impact on the level of the political materiality of the body.

Pravu Mazumdar

Pravu Mazumdar (India, 1952) is an Indian freelance author, philosopher, writer, translator and lecturer. He studied physics in New Dehli and Germany, obtained a doctorate in philosophy at the University of Stuttgart and currently works mainly in Germany. His interest revolves around art and philosophy and their interpretation. He focuses mainly on French postmodernism and the philosophy of Michel Foucault.

He is devoted to the philosophy of contemporary jewellery, writes about its experimental forms or about its social overlaps, migration and consumerism. His book Gold und Geist: Prolegomena zu einer Philosophie des Schmucks (“Gold and the Mind: Prolegomena towards the Philosophy of Jewellery”), Berlin: Matthes & Seitz focuses on jewellery and discusses above mentioned topics.


Karen Potoppidan

Jewellery: A socio-political statement

The origins of jewellery went hand in hand with the emergence of the earliest civilizations one hundred thousand years ago. In this context, jewellery was an indication of individual positions within the society and at the same time it represented a marker of a specific group belonging toward other communities.

By wearing jewellery an individual person marks a position within the setting of a social system, also in present times. Jewellery is not about individuality; jewellery is about an individual’s relations to others. Enhancing this thought, makes it easy to identify the strong relation between jewellery and society, and therefore also to recognize the political potential of jewellery.

The lecture shows the usage of jewellery in past and present societies, in order to examine
to which extend jewellery is and always has been political!

Karen Potioppidan

Karen Pontoppidan (Denmark, 1968) is a contemporary jeweller and professor. She currently runs the jewellery studio at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich and previously worked for several years at the Konstfack University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Sweden. In her work, she changes attitudes and styles taking into account the connection between the personal and the public. Her jewellery has social and political interconnection.

She graduated from the Berufskolleg für Formgebung, Schmuck und Gerät, Schwäbisch Gmünd in Germany and later undertook further studies in Munich with Prof. Otto Künzli. She lives and works in Germany and Denmark and is an active part of the art jewellery scene – exhibiting, giving lectures and conducting workshops internationally.


Katarína Defeo Fiúza Siposová

Every body counts
On the social value of jewellery

Jewellery perceived socially and politically while preserving its identity. The lecture approaches performativity of jewellery as a material object and examines the principles and consequences that result from this.

Performativeness opens up the social aspects of jewellery making it possible to get rid of its resentiments and to transform itself into a light-hearted form while still making responsible and socially engaged statement. The lecture is a reflection on jewellery from the other side, from the side of the author and the side of the performativeness, interaction and social engagement of the small object. To stand on the other side means to look for new meanings, links, or wit life situations for better orientation in the world.

Katarína Defeo Fiúza Siposová

Katarína Defeo Fiúza Siposová (Slovakia, 1988) is one of those contemporary artists who approach the methods of postconceptual thinking and intermediate forms from the position of a specific medium, in her case the medium of jewellery. The central theme of her work is a question of performativeness of jewellery, which she examines through the exhibition practices of this specific art medium. She graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava, Metal and Jewellery Department, where in 2019 she finnished her doctoral studies devoted to the Context of Contemporary Jewellery.

In 2017, she completed a 6-month Fulbright Fellowship at the New York State University, New Paltz. She is a member of the organizational team of ŠperkStret, a gallery pedagogue, a jeweller, the holder of the Art Gallery Award, Legnica, Poland and an active promoter of contemporary jewellery.


Ilaria Ruggiero

The practice of collective and political body

The lecture focuses on the presentation of the Nuda Vita project, an experience of artistic production that stages the work of some of the most interesting contemporary jewellery artists. The initiative was held for the first time on the occasion of Munich Jewellery Week 2019 and it explored the value and the role of the public, collective and political body, starting from the expression Nuda Vita, coined by Benjamin and then developed by the philosopher Giorgio Agamben, interpreted here as an impossible condition, unspeakable concept, and artistic action.

Nudity is not conceived as a physical condition, but as a symbolic event of resistance and sensitization. Concretely the project aims to be an artistic movement, an open and continuous platform of reflection and stimulation to give substance to those studies, which see the body and existence as an area of exploration. The goal is to compare the most varied experiences and to broaden social and political awareness. The great wealth of perspectives and themes addressed by the various participating artists, presents jewellery as a means of raising questions relating to major issues of life. It is an act of provocation and resistance, subversion and sensitisation, which focuses upon the body, through the medium of the jewel, as a statement of politics, identity and humanity.

Ilaria Ruggiero

Ilaria Ruggiero (Italy, 1981) is an Italian cultural and project manager, curator and organizer of various projects related to contemporary art. She studied theoretical philosophy, art administration and later on fundraising at the New York University. She is the founder of several platforms focused on contemporary jewellery and its expanded field with the emphasis on the social role of jewellery, such as. A/DORNMENT Curating Contemporary Art Jewelry. She worked at the La Bienalle di Venezia in Italy and for the Guggenheim Museum in New York. She is actively involved in publicizing jewellery, writing for Art Jewellery Forum and other prestigious platforms.


Katja Prins

Brave New World

Katja Prins will discuss her practice as a jewelry artist, which has evolved over the last 22 years. This lecture will focus in particular on her fascination with the relationship between technology and the human body. Specifically engaged with how technology functions as our support structure, she is both anxious and excited about the simultaneously healing-protective and toxic-destructive properties of technology. This ambivalent fascination provides her with imagery that is reflected through her work.

Katja Prins

Katja Prins (Holland, 1970) is a contemporary jeweller and artist. She graduated from the Gerrit Rietweld Academy in 1997 and has been intensively involved in her own art work ever since. She currently lives and works in Amsterdam. Her artistic practice focuses on creating jewellery and objects for the body, sometimes moving freely from object to installation. She is particularly fascinated by the connection between technology and the human body and their ambivalent relationship, which she subjects to critical examination.

With her objects she comments on today´s world and the role of the outer body in the over-technological world. She exhibits in Europe, the USA, Asia and Russia, holds lectures and conducts workshops internationally for various institutions. In 2009, she summarized her work in the publication “The Uncanny Valley”, and won several prestigious awards for contemporary art and jewellery.


Accompanying program

Show Me The Face

Jana Machatová a Peter Machata
10. 9. 2020 – 8. 11. 2020
exhibition opening 10.9.2020 at 17:00
introduction of the catalog 25.9. 2020 at 17:00
Pálffyho palác GMB
Panská 19, Bratislava

Facebook Event

Star Dust

Karol Weisslechner
10. 9. 2020 – 8. 11. 2020
exhibition opening 9.9.2020 at 18:00
guided tour 24.9.2020 at 17:00
Galéria Čin Čin
Podjavorinskej 4A, Bratislava

Facebook Event

Like a broken record

Maya H. Nepšinská
29. 9. 2020 – 7. 11. 2020
exhibition opening 29.9.2020 at 18:00
Galéria NOVA
Baštová 2, Bratislava

Facebook Event

Schmuck wander vol.5

International traveling exhibition
22.9. – 4.10. 2020
exhibition opening 22.9. 2020 at 18:00
guided tour 26.9.2020 at 13:30
Galéria X
Zámočnícka 5, Bratislava

Facebook Event


Martin Grosman
24.9. – 26.9. 2020
exhibition opening 24.9. 2020 at 18:30
guided tour 26.9.2020 at 11:00
Galéria Cit
Heydukova 15, Bratislava

Facebook Event


Ondrej Ďurian
9.9. – 27.9. 2020
exhibition opening 9. 9. 2020 at 17:00
guided tour + extra jewellery presentation 26.9. 2020 at 16:00
Galéria Umelka
Dostojevského rad 2, Bratislava

Facebook Event


Soňa Kabáňová
21.9. – 9.10.2020
exhibition show 26.9. 2020 at 14:30
Klemensova 5, Bratislava


Primate invites you to the workshop: **Statement dressing**, even a small protest feels good.

In the context of the current topic “Body Politics”, we have prepared a workshop for you that will focus on the phenomenon of body extension and its energy scope, or how to communicate your thoughts publicly using the clothes you have on the body. There is a “statement T-shirt” phenomenon which means that sharing your opinion, or the opinion of someone else with whom you identify on your T-shirt, is a guaranteed start of a mutual conversation.

We will teach you how easy it is to transfer text, sign or image on a T-shirt using the techniques of linocut and stencil. So bring your thoughts and T-shirts (ideally light in color) on which we will print. This workshop also takes into account the responsible consumption and reuse of things (upcycling), so it is ideal to bring clothes that are laying in your closet and are not used much. This way you can renew and reuse them.

12:00 – 16:00 galéria Umelka
Dostojevského rad 2, Bratislava
duration 4 hours
max. 10 people / price 10 Eur


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Chief executive – Mária H. Nepšinská, chairman at AURA / +421 902 615 785
Responsive mediator – Katarína D.F. Siposová / +421 908 548 998
Creative coordinator – Slavomíra Ondrušová / +421 944 976 679
PR – Simona Svitková / +421 917 845 841
Conceptual thinker – Pavol Prekop / +421 905 185 066
University delegate – Kristýna Španihelová / +421 097 072 256

Graphic design – Lucia Mlynčeková, Lenka Navrátilová
Photo visual 2020 – Juraj Figura
Photo/Video credits – Juraj Starovecký, Marie Kuklová

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