architecture as jewelry, jewelry as sculpture

Architecture as jewelry, jewelry as sculpture / Berta Urdang / Bertha Urdang Gallery, New York / 1991

“And in small measures, Life may perfect be…”

                                              Ben Johnson


Deganit Schocken studied architecture and creates jewelry.
Three periods of her work are shown. The changing emphasis, the fresh challenges, the sheer inventiveness, all serve to inform the development of each new phase.The first group, from the early eighties, creates taut frames of silver in which the “obvious” is pushed aside and new relationships are forged. The tiny hinges of the open and closed “doors”, the clasps – unusually hidden as mere mechanical devices – take their place as elements, often obviating a front and a back. These works remind me of Paul Klee, often echoing Klee’s scale, whimsy and humor.
The middle period establishes a magical relationship between the jewel and the cloth into which it is threaded or on which it is hung. It may be worn in endless ways, answering the challenge of the wearer’s personality, mood, and even the fabric of the dress.

These works invite dialogue and it is perhaps well to quote from a letter to the gallery about her work from The Curator of the Department of Decorative Arts at The Brooklyn Museum: “I do love the Deganit Schocken piece called ‘Story Jewelry’. It is wonderfully conceived and beautifully executed and it really does cross the line between jewelry and costume with its originality of form, and I would be thrilled to acquire this piece for the collection…”

The playfulness, the unselfconscious fun, the sheer joy of creation make these works very special, dare I say unique.
The newest works seem to immerge as art despite the artist’s obvious determination to break with all her previous achievements. They are medium in size, almost flat, superbly textured and “peopled” with cloth, shaped and framed in place, tiny stones, tiny gems mounted and in formation ready to move swiftly off the surface; yet they are frozen in place – movement choreographed but denied.

Two final observations about Deganit’s works:
•    They are small, but their scale is such that they are models for infinity.
•    Her promise of movement is a quizzical dialog for there is nothing kinetic in any one of them.