I met Anna Schetelich, on a brisk winter’s afternoon in Cafe Bravo, where we warmed up with some ginger tea and spoke about her journey from student, to curator, to her passionate pursuit as the founder and owner of OONA.
OONA Gallery on Auguststraße is a gallery for contemporary jewellery, exhibiting beautiful jewellery crafted by carefully selected international artists. Though Anna herself doesn’t create the jewellery, it seems like she’s pretty much in charge of everything else; from connecting and communicating with the artists, to running the gallery and curating and setting up the displays. Despite her multitasking abilities, she is firm in the fact that she’s not a jeweller; “I would never be able to make jewellery, I come from the theoretical background and so I consider jewellery a huge spectrum of human culture.”
Anna goes on to explain how prior to studying science and art history, she worked in several museums around Berlin, which is where she grew to love the art of curation. “I loved the part of setting up objects and seeing how the objects relate to each other, this part was very exciting to me and provided me with the inspiration and knowledge to start my own gallery.” She explains how the ‘real’ art world is tough, but that art jewellery provides the perfect balance between, design, craft, art and even fashion.
If you’ve ever strolled down Augustraße and peered through the windows of OONA, you’ll notice a strikingly clean, minimalist aesthetic. This is something Anna works hard to achieve and is what defines the space as a gallery; “I come from East Germany and we didn’t have much design, we had designers who made industrial and product design. They created very minimalistic products that can be produced in mass production, I liked this very much. You could say this is where my minimalist taste comes from.”
The artists Anna works with each have their own ‘minimalistic language’, though they are all different due to the range of materials they adopt. This year, OONA has had success with several artists, from Berlin based Christian Metzner, to Noon Passama in Thailand, to more recently, Helen Friesacher. Anna explains how each of their unique works, exist in harmony in the gallery, and compliment one another.
This is something I notice when I browse the gallery, each piece is so carefully placed it becomes a statement with its own autonomy. Anna explains how the jewellery in OONA looks just as beautiful on as it does displayed, “the artists I work with love to make jewellery that can be worn and they love the craft, but if it’s not worn, it also works as its own object. It’s a small subject that is free, so you have these little works of art that you can move around. You can move display your bracelet on the coffee table or in the bathroom, for example.”
While art jewellery might sound niche to the rest of us, Anna has to be very selective with the artists she works with, attending exhibitions, art academies and awards to seek out artists. Once she’s established a connection with one though, it remains strong; Anna has worked with ‘Master of Minimalism’, Marc Monzo, for more than fifteen years. Marc is exhibiting his work currently in the gallery, where you can view and shop his simple, essential pieces. ‘Level’, the exhibition title, relates to the theme of balance and some of the angular, strict pieces that will be for sale.
Since the YUN Journal often refers to balance, Marc’s exhibition lead our conversation conveniently towards the theme. I asked Anna how she keeps her balance, between raising three girls, running a gallery and communicating with artists, she simply tells me: I love to swim. “One very important thing for me is to swim, in the Garten Straße, Stadtbat in Mitte. It provides me with the balance of relaxing and being focused on rhythm and speed. It’s super important for me. Afterwards, you feel full of energy and while I’m swimming I can think of things ahead of my day.”
Her second down-time ritual is classical music. “We are so close to all of these fantastic places where talented musicians play, I’d really recommend the Pierre Boulezsaal which is a small audition hall with a private atmosphere and really beautiful architecture. It’s pretty hidden but central, it’s a very special place.”
‘Level’ is open now to the public, so do swing by the gallery for a look around ahead of christmas.
Auguststraße 26, 10117 Berlin
Tuesday- Friday, 2-6pm