Life Work

Fortunate indeed are those who labor on their life’s work or can already look upon it with pride. The autumn 2023 issue of Art Aurea presents several grandiose examples.

An artist’s life work is often synonymous with their entire oeuvre. It includes all the works produced in the course of a lifetime, whether they be paintings, sculptures, films, texts, jewelry, music, etc. An artist’s life work usually also includes several other areas of human endeavor, which ideally combine to produce a unified whole of which the creator can be proud at the end of their life and which subsequent generations can look back upon with appreciation and gratitude.

This also holds true for the life work of art collectors, which is seldom limited solely to the acquired artworks. Collecting is typically a secondary activity that is linked to other fields of endeavor. For example, Laura Borghi’s collection of antique and contemporary ceramics is associated with her career as a gallerist and with her workshop, where she produces works for artists and designers and where workshops are taught. There is currently a call for entries for the Officine Saffi Award, which biennially draws the public’s attention to ceramic art. Laura Borghi not only opened the doors of her gallery and workshop to Katharina Perlongo, but also opened her stylish apartment in Milan.

Two ceramics by Picasso in the kitchen: Paolo Riolzi photographed the apartment of the gallery owner, collector and patron Laura Borghi for Art Aurea.

The life’s work of Marion Delarue is still in the making. Although this French jewelry artist is only 36 years old, clear contours have long been discernible. These include unabashed play with the disconcerting intersections between nature and artificiality and between authenticity and imitation, as well as grappling with the concepts of fake, imitation and counterfeit. The results are distinguished by perfect craftsmanship and consummate aesthetics, even if some pets have to surrender a few feathers in the process. An article by Julie Metzdorf.

Marion Delarue recently began working a few days each week in a small house in the country, where she finds the peace she needs to make her unusual jewelry. © Elisa Jasmin.

Paul Derrez declared “I’m still alive!” while we were selecting the images for his contribution Chain Reaction. From his founding of Gallery Ra in Amsterdam in 1976 until its closure in 2019, Derrez tirelessly championed contemporary auteur jewelry and silversmithing. For his services to jewelry, he was made an Officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau by Holland’s King Willem Alexander in 2021. To round out his life work, however, he still regularly sits at his worktable, where he creates jewelry and silversmithing objects (see p. 36 ff.).

We encounter the life work of Elisabeth Bähr and her husband Lindsay Frost in a massive printed volume that weighs 2,755 grams. Here too, this publication was preceded by many years of gallery work on behalf of contemporary indigenous art in Australia. On the book’s 494 pages, the pair has now comprehensively documented the current state of research, with gorgeous images and well-informed texts. Henriette von Holleuffer’s review starts on page 44.

Establishing an international art gallery can easily rank as a life work, but Jörg Johnen was not content to leave it at that. After handing over his Johnen Gallery to his Berlin-based colleague Esther Schipper in 2015, he wrote books, devoted himself to his art collection, and recently donated some 60 artworks to Lenbachhaus in Munich. Jörg Johnen has not only collected paintings, installations and photography with great expertise, but also amassed a collection of ceramics. All this is now wonderfully united in an exhibition titled Fragment of an Infinite Discourse (see p. 80 ff.). The show is nothing less than a milestone for thinking across the boundaries of art genres – a viewpoint that we have been advocating ever since Art Aurea was founded in 1985.

Arts Crafts World – this time with jewelry, utensils and glass

We invited the gallery owner Noel Guyomarc’h from Montreal, Canada to introduce an artist for this iteration of Arts Crafts World. He chose the German jewelry artist Alexander Blank, whose new works En Vague mark a departure from the theme of his earlier years. 

Dr. Christianne Weber-Stöber, Gesellschaft für Goldschmiedekunst, Deutsches Goldschmiedehaus Hanau, chose Isabelle Enders, a Nuremberg-based silversmith who understands excellently well how to question and view quotidian utensils for the culture of cooking and eating in a completely new context. With her imaginative salt and pepper mills, she transforms an everyday object into an eye-catcher, Weber-Stöber says. The exhibition Isabelle Enders. Werkschau continues at the Goldschmiedehaus until October 15, 2023. 

Dr. Helena Horn, ArtLight Magazine, Quedlinburg, opted for Thierry Boissel, a French-born artist who lives in Munich. Although Boissel works with light, glass is his material. Helena Horn explains: “The reduction to light and color with refractions, superimpositions and reflections creates choreographed compositions in context to space and to architecture.” Boissel’s creations can be admired in many churches and other public spaces.

Thierry Boissel, self-supporting glass facade, St-Joseph, Montigny-Lès-Cormeilles, 2019, 18.5 x 6 meters. Without metal structure, enamel painting on LINIT glass. Photo: Sukyung Jung, copyright Thierry Boissel.

New. The Arts Crafts World series will grant a reader’s wish in each upcoming issue of Art Aurea. Write to us and let us know whom you would like to see in the ACW section and briefly explain your choice in about three sentences. We welcome your suggestions at 

Review – exhibitions and awards that unite art and craft

Galerie Göttlicher in Krems-Stein presents its anniversary exhibition White Space – Fragments of Unrest with glass art and installations by Anne Petters. “Diaphanous clouds, seemingly conjured from ice crystals, have a delicate transparency that stands in stark contradiction to the material from which they are formed: glass – hard, crystalline matter, rolled paper-thin, inscribed with the help of forms and models, charged with content,” writes the publicist Dr. Maria Rennhofer in her article for Art Aurea.

2,700 craftspeople from 117 countries and regions competed for the Loewe Foundation 2023 Craft Prize. The thirty finalists, who represent sixteen countries and regions from around the world, work with ceramics, wood, textiles, leather, glass, metal, jewelry and lacquer. Eriko Inazaki from Japan won the €50,000 prize for a filigree ceramic sculpture. Special prizes went to Dominique Zinkpè from Benin and to Moe Watanabe from Japan.

Margareta Daepp’s Simply Radical exhibition at the Musée Ariana highlights ceramics that look like examples of functional product design. In reality, however, many of these works raise questions, for example, about form as a carrier of meaning, memory or aesthetic norms. In addition, this Swiss artist’s monochrome artworks frequently combine Near and Far Eastern influences with minimalist, Western ideas.

We take a retrospective look at Ute Kathrin Beck’s exhibition in Schwäbisch Gmünd. Her solo show at the Galerie im Prediger 2023 was part of the Baden-Württemberg State Prize 2022, with the Stuttgart-based ceramic artist’s Twelve Apostles receiving an award. The text was written by the art historian Schnuppe von Gwinner from Leipzig. 

Fragment of an Infinite Discourse exhibition at the Lenbachhaus in Munich. Ceramics by Johannes Nagel in dialogue with a series of works by Mario García Torres. Photo: Simone Gänsheimer, Lenbachhaus.

Fragment of an infinite discourse. As mentioned above, the exhibition at Lenbachhaus in Munich is also a milestone for the equal status of artistic genres. 

A preliminary report on the second Art Salon Zurich concludes the Review section in the autumn 2023 issue of Art Aurea. The art fair, which also appeals to younger audiences, is also open to ceramic art and similar disciplines.

The autumn issue has 92 pages including the cover and is available in leading galleries and stores for 12 euros (EU 14 euros). For mail orders, please send an email to  

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