Mirren Kessling, Archive of Unreal Objects
28th October - 11th November, 2021
Cube Gallery, Crawford Street, London
Few historical objects of jewellery and metalwork reach us in their original form: precious metals, stones and ornaments are often dismantled, metal melted down and stones reset into new mounts. These elements, being highly prized, are continuously reassembled as tastes and fashions evolve. In many instances, historical examples of jewellery and metalwork can only be accessed through images, such as paintings and studies, which may have been embellished or exaggerated. These depictions create a new mythology surrounding the object, requiring a leap of faith in trusting the source when the original object itself is absent.
Artist Mirren Kessling has created the Archive of Unreal Objects, presenting a new body of works which resemble archival studies of metalwork and bejewelled objects. The meticulous ink drawings employ a strange sense of tromp l’oeil, creating a tension between what appears to be real and what is imagined. The studies depict objects which are excessive in ornamentation and size, giving the illusion of extravagant fantasy; but they are developed through re-assembling and reimagining historical images and source materials from archives and reproductions of absent objects.