The Fat Booty of Madness: The Jewellery Department at the Academy of Fine Arts Munich

The Fat Booty of Madness: The Jewellery Department at the Academy of Fine Arts Munich

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Cover of The Fat Booty of Madness: The Jewellery Department at the Academy of Fine Arts Munich

Texts (English and German)
by Florian Hufnagel, Maribel Königer, Ellen Maurer Zilioli and Otto Künzli
Arnoldsche Art Publishers
Stuttgart, Germany
$75

Otto Künzli is known internationally for his art or studio jewelry, or, in German, Autorenschmuck (auteur jew­elry)-work loaded with meaning and a strong conceptual edge. The Swiss-born artist is perhaps equally famed as a teacher of the influential class for jewelry and hollowware he has overseen since 1991 at the Munich Academy of Art. The class, which requires that students have already trained as goldsmiths or silversmiths or completed a relevant internship, has attracted students from around the world and then sent them forth as independent-minded provocateurs in their approach to materials, form and meaning in their work.

The colorful, rambunctious spirit of the Künzli class is visually captured in this eye-popping survey of the results of this training from 1991 to the present. More
than 1,000 works by graduates and current students are reproduced. In his essay, "L'academie, je t'aime," Künzli suggests how he has gone about encouraging the extreme heterogeneity-"the fat booty of madness"-of the works shown here. "I do not know of any other postgraduate course lasting up to five years of this kind in the world. Growing takes time. Growing is expensive. Art cannot be taught. Lecturing doesn't do it. Can't do it. On the other hand supportive mentoring and accompanying with constructive criticism... Follow yourself, don't follow me." And underscoring the point, he continues, "I am inclined to maintain that I have no philosophy of teaching. That would not appear to be true. A former student recently pointed out to me that, whenever she was unsure about how to go on with her work, I used to spur her on tersely: 'Imagine the opposite.'"