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Best known in international jewelry and metalsmithing circles, Iris Eichenberg has made an enormous contribution as an artist and educator. Addressing significant current issues such as identity, gender politics, and Heimat—a German word denoting the personal happiness and fulfillment found upon reaching a safe haven—the show Iris Eichenberg: Where Words Fail is particularly timely.

Eichenberg has never practiced one medium or process. Whether taking the form of jewelry, objects, installations, or even video art, her relentless interrogation into materiality seeks to identify that craft process and combination of materials that best suit the idea at hand. Starting with materials, Eichenberg searches for answers to her inner conflicts and insecurities

by mining childhood memories and adult experiences for recognizable imagery that she then maps through mark-making. Eichenberg has a powerful and particular notion of beauty, a constantly recurring theme in her work … [she] finds beauty in the realities of aging, decay, and deformity as well as the ideal and the poetic. In today’s world with its outcry for social justice, her work merits particular attention. 

Iris Eichenberg: Where Words Fail was made possible, in part, by the Susan Beech Mid-Career Artist Grant, which the artist won in 2021. You can purchase a hard copy of this exhibition catalog here.

Author(s): Benjamin Lignel, Davira S. Taragin
Topic: art jewelry, exhibition catalog, Iris Eichenberg, material exploration
Publication Year: 2022
Institution: Museum of Craft and Design
Discipline: Art, art jewelry, Installation, Materiality, Sculpture
Relevant Country(s): Germany, Netherlands, United States

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