Tobias Rehberger and GEMS AND LADDERS

The Design Museum
London, UK
22- 23 November 2017

A new series of art jewellery pieces conceived and designed by German sculptor Tobias Rehberger will be exhibited at the Design Museum in London, alongside works by other internationally renowned contemporary artists, including Carol Bove, Claudia Comte, Alighiero e Boetti, Jean Dubuffet, Liam Gillick, Martin Boyce, Meret Oppenheim and Lawrence Weiner that form part of the GEMS AND LADDERS collection.

The series is the result of a close collaboration between Tobias Rehberger and GEMS AND LADDERS and features three rings entitled YES, NO, MAYBE, made of either gold, silver or bronze, which the artist has covered with a layer of paint reminiscent of plastic. A reflection on the (in-)visible value of jewellery, the precious metals underneath only appear, if at all, through wear and tear; or on the inside of the rings, where the words YES, NO and MAYBE, are engraved.

The GEMS AND LADDERS exhibition offers a unique opportunity to see over 40 pieces of wearable works of contemporary art in juxtaposition with the minimalist surroundings of the Design Museum – a space that celebrates and explores the made and the visual, the objects that shape our lives, and the skills and forces that are behind their creation.

German artist Tobias Rehberger (b. 1966) studied with Martin Kippenberger and Thomas Bayrle at the Städelschule in Frankfurt – where he now teaches – and has exhibited at prestigious venues including the Whitechapel Gallery, Stedelijk Museum, MCA Chicago, Leeum Samsung Museum in Seoul and Schirn Kunsthalle. Themes of authorship, collaboration and the visible and invisible are key in his practice; his work is as likely to be unseen as it is to assault the senses. His dazzling architectural design of a café within the international pavilion of the Venice Biennale in 2009 won the Golden Lion for best artist and became a permanent installation, while a famous 2001 work consists of a huge lacquered container, entitled Maserati Quatroporte, which may or may not contain the titular car.

Initiated in 2014 by art collector Thomas W. Bechtler, and creative thinker, Alexander Pertot, GEMS AND LADDERS is a collection of art jewellery designed by well-known contemporary artists and crafted in a variety of materials. The project is driven by a philosophy that combines creativity with skilled craftsmanship, reviving the long tradition of artists’ jewellery and bringing together this history with the potential of new materials and contemporary creative thought. At the production stage, every single piece created for GEMS AND LADDERS is hand-made in Switzerland.

Art jewellery conceived and designed by American artist Doug Aitken, winner of the inaugural Frontier Art Prize, will be the next GEMS AND LADDERS collection to be launched in June 2018.


Tobias Rehberger, YES, NO, MAYBE, courtesy GEMS AND LADDERS, photo Nicolas Duc