JULIA MARIA KÜNNAP
Julia Maria Künnap graduated in 2004 from the Estonian Academy of Arts, Jewellery Art Department under Prof Kadri Mälk. Before this she studied at Konstfack, Stockholm and in 2006 was the Artist in Residence at Alchimia School of Contemporary Jewellery in Florence.
She applies her mastery of lapidary stonecutting to form gemstones that visually defy and denature the material itself. Through an incredibly precise and time-consuming process, she captures a sense of wonderment in her work, creating gemstones that appear to be in an eternal state of melting, dripping, and splashing. By capturing impossibilities that seem conceived of in a dream state, her pieces hold a strong conceptual link to some of the most famous visual strategies of Surrealism, such as the "melting" clocks represented in Salvador Dalí’s seminal painting, The Persistence of Memory (1931).
Her work has been exhibited in various group exhibitions throughout Europe and in the USA. She was recently awarded the Herbert Hofmann prize 2018 in Munich. Her work was recently featured in a duo exhibition with artist Mickael Crowder entitled "Treachery of Material: The Surrealist Impulse in Craft" at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft (HCCC).
I am inspired by imperfection. It is a strong source of motivation. If I see a perfect thing—an artwork, a poem—I just breathe in and breathe out. It just comes and then goes. But if I see something that irritates me, I start analyzing. Why am I irritated? Why isn’t it perfect? Where is the "mistake" made? Usually, once I have deconstructed the whole piece in my mind, I already have so many good ideas. In the end, these ideas don’t have much to do with the source of inspiration.