When worlds Colide

Märta Mattsson

Märta Mattsson

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''During my second year at HDK  (University of Gothenburg) I made my first jewelry piece based on the feeling of attraction and repulsion. Of course at this time I did not really know that this was the theme. I just knew that I really disliked maggots and I made a big green maggot bracelet made out of plexi glass, with movable parts so that it mimicked the movements of a real maggot. I was trying to turn something that I disliked into something that I liked. I continued with a whole series of maggots made out of rubbers and silicones and this work opened up something within me. I became really fascinated with human emotions and how we feel towards different materials and subjects. I also realized that I enjoyed hearing stories about what people are repulsed by.''

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''Insects have a long history in jewelry design. To the ancient Egyptians, the scarab or dung beetle was a symbol of the sun and of rebirth or eternal life. For protection in this life and the life to come they wore scarab amulets made out of dried beetles. Butterflies are also a common symbol in jewelry because of their beauty but also because of their status as a symbol for life, death and rebirth. In the Victorian era it was even popular to wear living bejeweled beetles attached to chains as brooches. In Mexico you can still buy this kind of jewel. The insects used are beetles that do not need to feed after a certain time in their life. And the expected life of one of these jewels is about one to three years. I also think there is something about the size, colors, shiny surfaces and patterns of insects. They kind of look like small jewelry pieces just by themselves!''

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''I think all these schools and all the professors and teachers that I studied under have helped me develop as an artist enormously. Some might say it gets confusing to study under so many different professors but for me it has been great. You just have to learn how to stand on your own two feet and to listen with both a critical and an open ear to the advice that is given to you.''

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Märta Mattsson was born in Stockholm, Sweden and has studied jewellery art at HDK-School of Design and Crafts in Gothenburg, Hiko Mizuno College of Jewellery
in Tokyo, Rhode Island School of Design in Providence and at the Royal College of Art
in London. She has exhibited her work internationally at galleries and fairs including, Schmuck in Munich, Velvet da Vinci in San Francisco and at Gallery Marzee in Nijmegen.

Someone once told Märta: “You make jewellery for children, not for adults.” Given that
she draws inspiration from her childhood experiences of playing with stuffed animals
and slugs, her fellow students in Tokyo were right when they described her work as: ‘KimoKawaii’, which is in fact a combination of two words kawaii (cute) and kimoi (disgusting). Märta’s work is based on the tension that exists between attraction and repulsion. She translates her bizarre fantasies into ornament and invites people to
marvel over their oddity.

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''Sometimes I see beauty in things that other people find strange or are even repulsed by. I become fascinated when there is something you do not want to see and the feeling you get when you do not want to look at something, yet you still do. My jewellery deals with the tension that lies between attraction and repulsion. I take seemingly inappropriate materials, making ordinary and familiar objects seem extraordinary and unfamiliar.

In the 18th century many new breeds of animals and plants were discovered and it was the main era of cabinets of curiosities. People collected rarities because it gave them the feeling of being in the presence of something extraordinary and marvellous. The cabinets of curiosities were not meant to sympathize with the creatures on display, only marvel over their oddity. In a world where not many new and exotic breeds are discovered I use dead creatures in my pieces to evoke wonder. The creatures are transformed and reborn; given a new life as objects of astonishment.''

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