13 December 2023 – 9 March 2024
Opening Reception: Wednesday 13 December, 6 – 8 pm
Opening 13 December 2023 at Hauser & Wirth Zurich, Bahnhofstrasse, ‘Fausto Melotti. Jewelry’ will be the first comprehensive survey of the Italian artist’s jewelry oeuvre. Organized in collaboration with the Melotti Foundation, the exhibition will highlight his meticulously crafted jewelry from the 1960s, ‘70s and early ‘80s, featuring exceptional creations in gold, silver and brass, complemented by a focused selection of sculptures in the same materials. Admired for his unique contribution to the development of mid-century European Modernism, the versatile Italian artist, sculptor and poet worked in a variety of media. Oscillating between abstraction and figuration, Melotti developed a unique artistic language based on Renaissance principles of harmony, order, geometry, and musical structure, which is reflected in his jewelry making practice.
Melotti’s first jewelry pieces are a series of necklaces in glazed ceramic or terracotta that he made for his wife in the 1940s. From 1959, the artist turned to brass and later gold, using the malleability of the materials to create jewelry with slender lines that mirrored his sculptures of the period. These are characterized by curved and spiraling note-like forms that seem to dematerialize in space. The shapes of the jewelry pieces are derived from Melotti’s sculptures—metal grids, curls, ellipses, twisted wires, moons, circles or triangles—that have been transformed into the wearable earrings, pendants or brooches, which will be on view in Zurich.
Image: Collana (Necklace), ca. 1971, Brass, 25 x 10 cm / 9 7/8 x 3 7/8 in © Fondazione Fausto Melotti, Milano. Photo: Sergio Anelli, Milano
Italian sculptor, painter and poet, Fausto Melotti is considered a pioneer of Italian art and is acknowledged for his unique contribution to the development of mid-century European Modernism. Coming of age in prewar Milan, and living through the horrors of the Second World War, Melotti metabolized wartime devastation in his work by returning to Renaissance principles of harmony, order, geometry, and musical structure, which he integrated into a highly personal yet universally accessible artistic language that expresses the full range of emotional experiences in modern human existence.