Aid to development, in the broadest sense of the term, seems to be the specialty of Norway’s most famous jewelry gallery owner, Anne Line Bakkevig. Earlier, she worked as a social worker with young people, and now she is committed to the social breakthrough of expressive design.
Probably the most innovative and original combination of gallery and goldsmithing business in Norway, Expo Arte Smykke-design has existed in the capital city, Oslo, for 19 years. But it was only when Anne Line Bakkevig bought the gallery in 1988 that the business – and, since 1995, the gallery – took on the image for which it is known today. The story of this dynamic businesswoman and how she got where she is today is more than unusual: at the beginning of the 1980s, the trained social worker took time off to start a family. When her second child, Henrik, had just turned two, she decided to train as a goldsmith. She had barely completed her course of study and was expecting her third son, Harald, when she bought the gallery. Since then, Bakkevigs remarkable mixture of style and daring has lent the gallery an influence unparalleled throughout Scandinavia. Regarded by competitors and new arrivals on the scene with an eye that is sometimes critical and often envious, Anne Line Bakkevig has built an international position of leadership during her career – as gallery owner and trendsetter alike.
Located among small specialty shops and galleries in the Solli Plass area of Oslo, Expo Arte occupies 60 square meters of space. The bright, open atmosphere of the gallery welcomes the most diverse clients. The pieces and concepts on exhibit draw students as well as established designers and personalities from industry and show business. The staff is made up of four employees, one a trained goldsmith from Germany and another a trained designer from the United Kingdom. Alongside production of individual jewelry pieces and serving customers in the area of precious metals, the owner places special emphasis on being able to offer her clients a broad assortment of jewelry pieces by well-known European designers and manufacturers. Among them are names such as Maier and Beck, Andre Ribeiro, Bunz, Zebra, C.F. Dau, Monika Seitter, Andrea Frahm, Eva Maisch Jewelry, Aninka Harms, Uta Knoop, Angela Hubel, Hilde Janich and many more.
In addition, Bakkevig initiates an average of eight themed, individual, or collaborative exhibitions per year, showing not only the best of the Scandinavian jewelry artists, but also giving young talents a chance. The international jewelry designers presented to the public in recent years included Millie Behrens, Heidi Sand, Louise Nippierd, lnger Blix Kvammen, and Peter Rust, all from Norway; Lori Talcott, from the U.S.; Monica Pdres, from Chile, Daphne Krinos and Ruth Thomlinson, of the U.K.; Martina Bach, Lydia Hirte, Elgin Fischer, and Barbara Simon, all from Germany; Karina Noyons, Mikala Djarup, and Helle Bjerrum, of Denmark; and other representatives from Sweden and France. One of the numerous successful themed exhibitions was “Culture on the Agenda,” held in 1999. The gallery owner had invited a number of designers to create a jewelry piece specifically for the former culture minister Åse Kleveland. The resonance among the designers and the audience was tremendously positive. Another exhibition was not as extraordinarily well liked, but delivered a large measure of food for thought: It was not only the creators who reflected on their personalities and masculinity during the presentation “From man to man.” The exhibition provoked lively discussions and altered both the demand for men’s jewelry and its trends, as Anne Line Bakkevig had observed.
Always on the lookout for new ideas and talents, Bakkevig travels extensively and attends most of the international jewelry exhibitions and trade fairs. Particular favorites are the Inhorgenta, in Munich, and certain innovative jewelry designers based in London. Bakkevig shows outstanding staying power in her support of new talents; she regularly enters into dialogue with both new and established designers in order to explore and further develop their creative ideas. She is similarly persistent in discussions centered on integrating new exhibits into the gallery. It is important to her to increase her selection of modern jewelry – while always offering a specific challenge to traditions and customs. The shifting trends at the gallery create ideal conditions for flexibility and new ideas. And perhaps it is precisely this impartial approach that keeps Anne Line Bakkevig and her gallery a step ahead of the rest of the Norwegian design and jewelry market.
- 08/16 – 09/07/03 “New designers” from London (new graduates from all over the UK).
- 09/13 – 10/15/03 “Pluss minus” by Kaja Gjedebo, Norway (Bachelor of Arts in Design and Applied Arts – with Honors of the First Class, furniture and Jewelry design, Edinburgh College of Art, UK).
- a 10/22 – 11/30/03 “Mann” by Lars M. Larsen.
- December 2003 Group exhibition, new and established designers.