Everyone knows that museums are places where objects are exhibited, researched and preserved for the enjoyment and cultural education of current and future generations. As a result, these objects, especially art objects and one-of-a-kind items, are off limits for private acquisitors. An exception is made at in-house fairs staged by museums of crafts and applied arts, where visitors can not only look at or study the displayed items, but also touch or even caress and always purchase them. The package also includes face-to-face meetings with the objects’ creators. Such encounters are hardly possible anymore in an economy based on the division of labor.
This unusual format is traditionally offered in Germany for the entire spectrum of arts and crafts at the Grassimesse Leipzig (late October) and the MK&G messe Hamburg (late November). The management of the fair in Hamburg explains: “This tradition creates and supports the long-term relationships between collectors and artists that are crucial to today’s craft practice.” Both fairs are of considerable non-material and economic value to the select group of designers chosen by the expert jurors.
Fifty-four German and international participants, including four collectives, were selected to present their work at the MK&G messe. In addition, five “Young Talents” will be sponsored for the second time. The quintet can exhibit at the fair and on the premises of MKG Hamburg without paying booth fees. The fortunate five are Sho Ota from Japan, who lives in the Netherlands and will be showing furniture objects; Davide Ronco, an Italian ceramic artist based in Copenhagen; Sophie Jungkvist from Sweden; Emma Cogné, France/Belgium; and Yohann Piccardi from Belgium. Both Cogné and Piccardi will show examples of textile design. The selection alone makes it clear that, in contrast to the past, Hamburg now has a much more international orientation, and this also holds true for Leipzig. Another new feature in Hamburg is so-called “Pop-up Talks,” where visitors can get to know the artists and find out about new trends in contemporary arts and crafts. These are complemented by “Design Talks” with knowledgeable interlocutors such as Prof. Axel Kufus.
The solo show in the “Contemporary Craft” exhibition series is dedicated to the jewelry artist Margit Jäschke from Halle an der Saale. Following on the heels of the ceramist Young-Jae Lee, this will be the second time that the exhibition series is focusing more strongly on the topic of handicrafts, this time with works of jewelry art.
The MK&G messe annually awards two prizes to selected exhibitors: the Justus Brinckmann Prize, endowed with 7,500 euros; and a promotional prize of 2,500 euros for recent artistic positions. The award ceremony will take place in the context of the opening at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, November 28, 2023.
The fair’s “contemporary and international significance” as well as its “artistic and social relevance” were reviewed in 2020 and the event has been organized with a new concept since 2021. “The MK&G messe sees itself as a forum for the highest quality of design and craftsmanship, and as an experimental space for young artists. In addition, arts and crafts fairs gain new relevance through the ongoing discussion about values related to ecology and new luxury, unique and mass-produced items, and production and working conditions.” Situated between tradition and innovation, these fairs are central venues for exploring and questioning cultural knowledge about craft techniques, the properties of materials, and sustainable processing.
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg