Helen Britton is a collector of trinkets and a maker of note. All those plastic and glitzy reinventions of the precious and rare, fresh from fleamarkets and places more humble fill her studio – a treasure trove of the banal awaiting reinvention themselves.
She loves this glitziness, this cheap beauty, the flashy shine – for her it is full of sentimentality, of wannabe-ness, of wistfulness and humour. For her, it is full of humanity, of all that humans hope for and dream of, and for that it deserves respect. And so, she elevates each component reverently through placing it in fine pieces of contemporary jewellery.
With these pieces comes beautifully balanced compositions of colour, form and texture – some quiet, some dazzling – and always with excellence in craftsmanship.
Helen is from Perth, but for the last 10 years has made her home in Munich. Her studies have taken her from Perth to Amsterdam to San Diego, and in 2002 she established a studio in Munich with David Bielander and Yutaca Minegishi. She also studied under the luminary Otto Kunzli.
Helen has recently opened an enormous show at the New Museum in Nürnberg, called The Things I See. The show includes a complete new body of work called “Dekorationswut” with drawings as well as jewellery. The Things I See also includes a presentation of the “industrial series” (part of which was shown in Melbourne in 2011) in a custom built showcase, and in a second room there is a selection from her archive dating back to 1991, along with sketchbooks, photos and films. You can check out the video below of the opening night. Although the sound track is not fabulous, it is entirely made up for by the trip through the vast enormity of what is the show. The work runs from quiet to wild to surreal, and demonstrates the variety and breadth of Helen’s work, and I am left a bit breathless considering the hundreds and hundreds of hours of spent making, and bringing such a huge show together.
You can also see more of Helen’s work on the wonderful Klimt02 website.