Jiro Kamata’s pendants, brooches and necklaces are all about reflection and refraction – of colours, surfaces, and lights. It’s a fascination that the Japanese-born, Munich-based artist has explored in various forms over the years. In his early works, he turned reflective sunglass lenses into rings and pendants; his Momentopia series from 2008 repurposed camera lenses into new jewellery forms.
Kamata moved from Japan to Germany in 2000 to study jewellery design. He decided to stay on, and is now an assistant professor at the Munich Academy of Fine Art and head technician in the gold and silversmithing studio.
“He’s also a really talented graphic designer and photographer,” says Katie Scott, director of Gallery Funaki, where Kamata’s latest work is on show.
“He’s known for the insanely highly technical finish on his pieces, which are all made painstakingly by hand. He’s a bit magpie-like and is considered to be pretty idiosyncratic; he definitely dances to his own beat. His interest is in the material itself, and how we interact with it. The designs are slick, minimal, perfectly executed and really beautiful.”
“Material selection is the starting point for me,” Kamata says in his artist’s statement. “I have to fall in love with a material. The new pieces are made using dichroic mirror, which reflects two different colours. I was immediately fascinated by its unusual colour reflections, and knew immediately that I wanted to make jewellery with it.”
One of the most fascinating pieces on display, the BI pendant, is quite simple in shape: round, with a forged silver frame and coloured string. But the idea behind the work is a little more complex.
‘’The title BI comes from the English prefix meaning two: like bi-cycle, bi-lingual, or bi-sexual,” Kamata says. “For me, BI has a very open meaning: after this word always comes another word. So this piece is not only about its two colours, but also about the openness of perception.”
Jiro Kamata: Dark to Light to Dark is at Gallery Funaki until August 1.