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Under the Counter has been curated and designed by Intelligent Trouble – an ongoing collaboration between four makers: Helen Carnac, Lin Cheung, David Clarke and David Gates. With their own practices originating from various disciplines, they all have an inquisitive and open approach to practice, seeking to explore definitions of making today.

They have asked five jewellers to show their work alongside a selection of Intelligent Trouble works from their 2010 collaborative exhibition: ‘A Curious Exchange’.

Intelligent Trouble aim to explore collaboration, seeking to interrogate and subvert conventions of authorship, ownership and trust and to question the autonomy of singular artefacts when considering and showing creative work. Their works seek to establish a site of collaborative, social production.

The works exhibited here are an edited ‘conversation’ of works that were passed between the artists earlier this year when they gave each other ‘permission to (re)-interpret, continue or dismiss any given passage’.

‘During the recent editing of this work we found, that like many conversations, there were forgotten phrases, mistakes and repairs but also memorable excerpts, discoveries and jokes. Shown in London in February 2010 as “A Curious Exchange”, after five months on hold we feel that the pieces shown here speak most eloquently of our interactions’

Alongside these works the exhibition seeks to explore contemporary studio jewellery that takes an outward-looking view. On the premise that contemporary studio jewellery practice has excelled in its exploration of materials and value, use, meaning and materiality in recent decades, and with a focus on examining the artist’s making of the work or the owner’s act of wearing – can it be argued that much jewellery is a project of the self?

Through the work of these five artists this exhibition seeks to explore jewellery’s communicative role and potential in a wider social field. Beyond notions of personal ownership and adornment can wearing and meaning-making be taken further and can we look beyond a practitioner’s relationship with her or his materials to understand something more of the work?

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