She is just as passionate about abstruse stories as she is about droll jewelry. Bruna Hauert and “Friends of Carlotta”, her gallery in Zurich, have gained an international reputation with a combination of these two aspects.
“After 24 lengths of backstroke in her former husband s swimming pool – currently off trekking with her daughters best friend – something cold and slimy tapped against her shoulder”, it says in the leaflet that comes with a conspicuously large ring by the gallery owner Bruna Hauert. “Ooops”, is that anyone would say in this situation if they were to bounce off a penguin while swimming backstroke and “Ooops” is also the name of the ring by Bruna Hauert – a snowball, set in silver, whose inner space is shared by a water-nymph and a penguin. The 45-year old loves inventing stories to go with her jewelry – or vice versa. After all, the starting points and integral elements of her work are always the most absurd of situations she experiences, funny conversations she picked up on or crazy circumstances she observed. One glance at the two times mothers career explains her love of the bizarre and the humorous: trained as an advertising designer, the passionate storyteller worked as a copywriter for several years and then took to the stage for over a decade with her cabaret “Firlefanz” (frippery). Her first jewelry designs were created at the same time, and she has always linked them with humorous and cryptic stories.
Nowadays, Bruna Hauert presents a lot more than just her own jewelry creations in her gallery “Friends of Carlotta” in the Old Town in Zurich. Ranging from Brigitte Adolph to Andreas Zidek, she constantly holds temporary exhibitions of jewelry by over 80 jewelry artists from Switzerland and elsewhere. Since it was founded in 1995, the gallery has advanced to become a forum for international, contemporary jewelry design, used by visitors and jewelry designers in equal measure as a platform for communication. But the reason for the international interest lies deeper than the uniquely large variety of the over 1,000 items of jewelry on show. Instead, the Swiss gallery draws its inimitable character from the extraordinarily relished and humorous range of jewelry and the playfully droll character of the topical exhibitions held once or twice a year. The proud gallery-owner can look back on 18 topical exhibitions since 1995. In regular intervals, between forty and ninety jewelry designers and other designers draw inspiration from the set topics. “Each of the topics is selected in such a way that the participants break out of everyday life and are forced to investigate new areas and thought patterns”, is how Bruna Hauert explains her exhibition concept. Creating content through topics instead of degrading jewelry as a simple accessory is the imaginative gallery owner’s philosophy. “Using a joint topic lays the foundation for recognizing the broad spectrum and the imaginativeness among designers and also for being in a position to compare and assess the created work.” Apropos assessment: The Friends of Carlotta Prize was awarded for the first time as part of the current topical exhibition “Unique Item”. A high-profile jury with a fine sense of taste awarded the inaugural prize to Spencer J. Gaudoin. His pendant, which erotically depicts an angel – cut in gemstone and set in gold with wings spread wide in a sexy pose – as selected due to its most unique principles and its irresistible charisma.