Bettina Speckner began her studies in the painting department of the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. After a few years she moved to the jewelry department under Professor Herman Junger receiving her diploma from Professor Otto Kunzli. Bettina has received many awards and accolades for her work including the prestigious Herbert Hoffmann Prize, commendations for the Danner Prize and The Prize of the State of Bavaria. Since her first solo exhibition in 1995, she has shown internationally, both in numerous solo exhibitions and group shows including Brooching it Diplomatically, curated by Helen Drutt English and Micromegas curated by Otto Kunzli.
Selected Public Collections
Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas TX, USA
Danner Foundation, Munich, GER
Design Museum, Helsinki , FI
Jewellery Museum, Pforzheim, GER
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Berlin, GER
Museum of Applied Art, Neue Sammlung, Munich, GER
Museum of Art and Design, Chicago, USA
Musée de l’Horlogerie et de l’Emaillerie, Geneva, CH
Museum für Kunst u. Gewerbe, Hamburg GER
Mint Museum of Art and Design, USA
The National Gallery, Cranberry, AUST
Nordenfjeldske Kunstindustrimuseum Trondheim. N
Röhsska Museum of Decorative Arts, Gothenburg,
Rotasa Foundation, USA
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, NL
Victoria and Albert Museum, London, GB
2017 Kitchen Gods (two person exhibition with Priya Kambli
2015 Things of This World Keeping Their Difficult Balance solo exhibition
2014 Bettina Speckner + Daniel Spoerri @ Schmuckmuseum Pforzheim
2011 Solo Exhibition | A Rose is a Rose is a Rose
2006 Solo Exhibition | The Everyday and Faraway
Bettina Speckner doesn’t like to talk about her work. When pressed, she speaks of process, or of the parts that compose the whole, in terms of universals of form, color, and structure. Not an unusual response from a jeweler, except that most of Speckner’s work involves mediation of psychologically super-charged photographic images, preciously worked materials, and carefully considered comments on adornment. Photographs inevitably invite speculation and interpretation and each piece offers seductive opportunities to communicate narrative or suggest emotional content. However, in most of the work the image is her subject only as it functions related to its own disruption and abstraction.
The photographically based work, particularly those pieces that incorporate portrait ferrotypes, reflect Speckner’s primary struggle with the inherent authority of the photograph. In The Power of Images David Freedberg speaks of the power of the “accurate image” in reference to legends surrounding portraits “unmade by the human hand.”… The existence of these images is proof of the miraculous, conferring credibility. As the direct heir to this phenomenon, the photograph allows us to believe in events, visit sites and enter spaces occupied by people we have never met. More than evidence, the photographic portrait is a document, bearing witness and demanding respect…While the ferrotype was a common product of the industrial revolution, it may have accrued some of Benjamin’s famous “aura” in the last hundred years or so. The specific identity of the individual has been lost over time, becoming instead a signifier of a lost culture. Our response to these images may also reflect a conditioned nostalgia, generated by films and romantic literature and filtered through the mechanisms of popular culture. Speckner’s approach to her “loaded” materials has to contend with both implications.
Each piece is the record of a complex negotiation between the artist and the shifting elements of a visual conversation. Her tools are formalism, abstraction, and a strong sense of visual integrity. She is aware of the documentary authority of the photograph and works with that quality in very specific ways.
Kate Wagle, excerpts from Bettina Speckner, Deliberations and Negotiations. Metalsmith 26.2