body, movement, structure. contemporary jewelry and its construction [at the MAXXI, Rome]

Giampaolo Babetto
Giampaolo Babetto

How exciting that one of the more important contemporary art museums in Italy, the MAXXI National Museum of 21st Century Art, is dedicating an exhibition to contemporary art jewelry in relationship to architecture… two of my passions!


November 15, 2017 – January 14, 2018

Curated by Domitilla Dardi, partnered with Galleria Antonella Villanova

Connections, relationships, balance of weights and volumes: a common lexicon shared by jewelry and architecture.

A “jewel” is a personal object that lends itself to many interpretations, traditionally an aesthetic one, which primarily concerns the beauty of the work itself but also the idea or concept of ​​what the piece aims to convey. In addition, there is the structural and technical research done during the making of a jewel in which the complexity of the form is to be considered. In this sense, the design drawing and construction has many elements in common with architecture, although with different purposes and scales, jewelry and architecture relate both to the moving body, to which they respond with a structure able to “inhabit” it or to make it inhabit a space.

Helen Britton
Helen Britton

The exhibition recounts this link between small and large scale, investigating some peculiarities of the contemporary jewelry world highlighted in the works of great international jewelry masters such as Giampaolo Babetto, David Bielander, Helen Britton, Monica Cecchi, Peter Chang, and Philip Sajet.

Each piece is presented together with the preparatory drawings in order to emphasize the process of designing and the execution of unique and limited works of art, the opposite spectrum from the industrial jewelry of the masses. Adjacent is a selection of architectural models from the collections of MAXXI Architecture Archives that converse with the jewels structurally and formally in the expressions of their designs.

Image at top by Giampaolo Babetto (born 1947 in Padua), one of the protagonists of the Padua School and has significantly formed the image of art jewelry in Italy and around the world. He has had a marked influence on the avant-garde goldsmiths’ scene since the late 1960s.


MAXXI National Museum of the Arts of the 21st Century
Via Guido Reni 4A – Rome, ITALY

Tuesday to Friday 11am-7pm
Saturday 11am-10pm
Sunday 11am-7pm
Closed: Every Monday, December 25th, May 1st
The ticket office closes one hour before the museum.

Tickets: 12 euro

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