1492 – When Mickey Mouse Was Born – 1992, 1992

Contemporary jewellery
polymer and silicate foam, silver
6 × 4.5 × 4.5 cm
Date of acquisition
shoulder jewel

Are you familiar with the expression “Columbus’ egg”? According to some, during a meal attended by Christopher Columbus, a guest belittled his discovery of the New World by saying anyone could have done it. Columbus then challenged the guests to make an egg stand on its tip. No one succeeded except the explorer, who simply crushed the tip of the egg and said: “Anybody can do it – after he has been shown how.” Considered one of the masters of conceptual jewellery, Otto Künzli, a Swiss designer based in Munich, questions the obvious and criticises our society’s shortcomings with irony, breaking conventions. He uses jewellery as a means of expression without forgetting its ornamental function. He plays with symbols and collective references. On the 500th anniversary of the discovery of the New World, Künzli created this metaphor for the birth of America. Mickey’s head is superimposed on Columbus’ egg for a brooch that is worn on the shoulder. This is what Künzli is all about: clever hands and a mischievous mind; a cunning and funny social critic; jewellery that is excellently crafted and whose meaning is immediately understandable, its title is a hint, like a riddle; refined shapes, linked to the function of the item itself; a desire to go to the essential and ingenious technical discoveries. Anybody can do it…