press release

SKMU Sørlandets Kunstmuseum is proud to present a retrospective exhibition devoted to the jewellery artist Lise Schønberg. For 50 years, she has surprised, delighted and challenged us with her jewellery and objects characterized by humour, imagination, serious reflection and a love of storytelling.

She has developed her own "method," a very original apporach to the creation of jewellery: "I collect materials wherever I happen to be," says Schønberg, "in order to use them in my works." To her mind, use is not the most important aspect of a piece of jewellery. She prioritizes play and challenging our conception of the function and meaning of jewellery. Her works are not meant as decoration, nor do they symbolize wealth and status: they invite reflection and wonderment and question contemporary culture. In doing so, she has gained an unique position among Norway's jewellery makers and craft artists.

Schønberg’s artistic expression started taking shape in the early 1970s. She established her artistic universe by combining traditional handcrafting techniques with the possibilities for conceptual content and storytelling that jewellery allows. Early on, she drew inspiration from insects and used fossils such as ammonites and trilobites. She combined silver and gold with non-traditional natural materials from Southern Norway such as crab shells, lobster claws and fishbone. After spending a few years in Ghana (1981–84), African culture and materials also became important sources of inspiration. In the 1990s, dried kelp from Africa offered even more possibilities for artistic expression. After the year 2000, both enamelling in combination with silver as well as recycling of materials and found objects gained an increasing place in her production.

Schønberg’s father was a goldsmith, so it is not too surprising that she chose the same career path. In 1975 she joined a dynamic group of craft artist in her home town, Kristiansand. This happened at the same time as there was remarkable development in the professional identity of Norwegian craft artists: they began focusing on the artistic process rather than the use of objects. This development is also embedded in Schønberg’s works.

Lise Schønberg (b. 1945) studied goldsmithing at Oslo Yrkesskole (1964–65) and then did her apprenticeship with Emil Lytskjold in Bergen (1965–67) and Iver Nilsen in Oslo (1967–68). She established her professional practice in Kristiansand in 1976. She has participated in numerous exhibitions at home and abroad and is still an active jewellery artist.