The exhibition 'Radical Softness' showcased at the Lisbon Contemporary Jewellery Biennial

June 19, 2024
Author Echo Gone Wrong

On Wednesday, June 26, fifteen Estonian artists will open a joint exhibition titled “Radical Softness” at the Lisbon Contemporary Jewellery Biennial. The jewellery and exhibition design conceptualise a world where artists explore how to soften prevailing cultural clichés.

A jewellery artist thinks with their hands. Contact with the material, its processing, and the artist’s touch become intertwined with the surrounding environment and the materiality of life itself. In this way, creativity confronts interpersonal separation, emphasising the fact that culture and personal traits mutually influence each other, and neither exists in isolation. The mutual influence of culture and personality helps us understand how our perceptions of dominance, power, and personal identity are formed.

“Estonian jewellery has become a mark of quality in the jewellery world, a meaningful and sensitive statement in the fast lane of superficial ideas. ‘Radical Softness’ brings together artists with the backbone and suggestiveness to address significant themes that touch on the fundamental principles of being. In an era of cultural and identity wars, a thoughtful pause holds increasing weight. Fifteen jewellery artists make an existential statement through their material, inviting us to pause and seek answers — and the resilience to remain true to oneself — more from within than without,” notes curator Tanel Veenre.

The exhibition “Radical Softness,” showcased at the Igreja da Madalena church, features: Darja Popolitova, Ketli Tiitsar, Erle Nemvalts, Eve Margus, Hansel Tai, Julia Maria Künnap, Kristi Paap, Kristiina Laurits, Maarja Niinemägi, Maria Valdma Härm, Nils Hint, Piret Hirv, Taavi Teevet, Tanel Veenre, and Villu Plink.

In 2024, the Lisbon Jewellery Biennial focuses on politics and power. Thus, the event has become a platform for discussions and new interpretations, offering visitors a unique opportunity to see how these topics can be conceptualised through jewellery art.

Estonian and Portuguese jewellery communities share long traditions: Estonian artists’ works have been consistently represented in Lisbon, and a joint exhibition “Border City” (2011) was created in collaboration. Young Estonian jewellery is also featured in a satellite programme introducing the university, with a presentation by Estonian Academy of Arts students at the exposition titled “Political Jewellery and Jewellery of Power.”

The exhibition is open from June 26 to July 1, 2024.
Church opening hours: Monday closed, Tuesday 10:30-19:30, Wednesday to Sunday 10:00-18:00.
Igreja da Madalena church is located at: Largo Madalena 1, 1100-404 Lisbon, Portugal.

Curator: Tanel Veenre
Exhibition Designers: Villu Plink and Kristiina Laurits
Graphic Designer: Hansel Tai
Media Manager: Darja Popolitova

Supporters: Ministry of Culture of Estonia, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Estonian Academy of Arts, Estonian Cultural Endowment