International exhibition “Conceptual Jewellery”
from 23 September to 22 October, 2011
For the first time, the art gallery PUTTI is offering the opportunity of familiarising with a trend poorly known in the jewellery art in Latvia – CONCEPTUAL JEWELLERY. The participants of the exhibition are recognized and successful conceptual jewellery artists from different countries of the world.
The conceptual art is a European and US trend of art emerged in the late 1960s. Its representatives aimed at dematerialising art by popularizing the new principle “art -idea”, prevailing over the traditionally aesthetic and material tasks. Instead of visually aestheticized enjoyment, the conceptual art is based on contemplation, thinking and intellectual effort that is not always comfortable. It is not affirming, the conceptual art is interrogative, thus creating a form of a dialogue with the viewer.
The beginning of the conceptual jewellery also traces back to the 60s. The conceptual jewellery is founded in traditions, history of jewellery art and handicraft, and it also has a contemporary nature – the artists of conceptual jewellery are catalysts of reality, promulgators of an active position and ideas. The task of art galleries is to continue the dissemination process of these ideas.
In conceptual jewellery, like in contemporary jewellery, precious metals, precious stones, natural materials, plastic, porcelain, threads, etc. are used. Beauty is something more than just decorating and embellishing. Conceptual jewellery can be found in different forms and is been included in the category of ‘art’. All statements in jewellery – aesthetic, politic, ideological and social – are sentimental and provocative, thus are to be called as conceptual.
The pieces selected for this exhibition have also been displayed with the aim of involving the viewer in a mediated way to become an active partner of the conception, message, questions, irony, and attitude expressed by the artists and having obtained a shape and physical existence in the form of jewellery.
Adam Grinovich / United Kingdom
The works in the series “Atavism” respond to this sense of perception in contemporary culture. Pitch, a utilitarian material loaded with an olfactory element is the main element in the works. Through the process of creation the pieces degrade; or rather they bloom in a way that suggests repair, annihilation, or possibly even birth.
The jewelry in this series convey some sort of symbolic truth, be it a tool, an emblem, or a noticeable material that links a sense of age with an element of delicacy; to question the existence of some form of grace.
We live in a world full of objects. Some objects have a specific use, a purpose, a meaning, an identity. Some objects rely on their appearances, some objects claim integrity, authenticity, value. Some objects promise us that they will function, that they will perform, that they will live forever.
The idea of change, of some sort of fragility or response to the passing of time is often a difficult conversation. Jewelry is fundamental in this dialogue; a wedding band embodies a timeless bond, regardless of the wearer’s physical condition. “Atavism” attempts to move both forwards and backwards in time. One can be reminded of something ancient, something preserved, something impermeable to the passing of years. Something that acknowledges its age while at the same time disguises it; an exchange that we as individuals participate in on a daily basis
Jewelry lives through its use, a wearer supplies the context and environment for communication and understanding. “Atavism” endeavors to give back. The jewelry pieces respond with a specific smell. They respond with an element of fragility. They suggest though both their material quality and their formal expression that they could last forever, or could fragment into dust.
This dialogue between wearer and object is principle in my motivation to express the particular elements of contemporary society. We as people instinctually break down the world into two categories: what is important to us and what is not. My artistic goal is to try to apprehend this sense of value, and to call into question the parts of this world that affect us.
Ana Cardim / Portugal
The work “Not For Sale” is born out of the analysis on the clash between the economic crisis that can now be felt globally and the growing crisis of values that accompanies it. In a time when “I think therefore I exist” seems to have been replace by “I have therefore I exist”, all seems to be for sale, and all seems to be monetarily valued on the “stock market of perversion” generated and managed by the existing capitalist system.
This system doesn’t give due importance to the needs of the individual because the individual itself is compelled to integrate that very same materialist system to ensure his survival on the stage of useless looks, leading to suffering and sense of desperation when they cannot be achieved. The “empire of matter” is predominant, but it does not truly value the Human Being is its authenticity.
It’s important for me to empathize that there are “immaterial things” that cannot be traded has products, like trust, friendship, love, memories, dreams, joy, innocence, hope, etc. Trust, for instance, you either have it, or you don’t. Not even the richest man on the planet can buy another individual’s trust. They are values whose true essence bans any kind of financial valuing, but that manifest themselves as values that permit the satisfactory and genuine richness of the Human Being.
Anastasia Young / United Kingdom
I use a combination of cast and fabricated elements in my work. The cast elements are sourced from deconstructed (and therefore recycled) plastic mechanisms, and it is the transformation of these components into precious metal objects which is crucial; the role of the ‘machine’ changes entirely when it is dissected and divorced from its function.
I am intrigued by the narratives which are conveyed by function, and the ways in which an object describes this function by its form, but my pieces are often subversive because they do not function in the expected manner and very often are no more than aesthetic pseudo-machines, reduced to decorative curiosities.
Inspiration often comes from the elements themselves, and I allow them to dictate how they will be used by their form – the forms also suggest the positions of the gemstones used within the pieces, which compliment the colour palette of the patinated metal. It is important to me that the jewellery has a sense of age to it, and the patinas I use induce an almost industrial, rusty quality to the pieces; I am also influenced by antique objects, especially those with mechanisms of some sort which I can analyse.
I enjoy working with mixed materials such as wood, bone, porcelain and horn and the challenges involved in combining them with precious metals; I revel in technical problem-solving and the challenges thrown up by complex construction. My philosophy incorporates the use reclaimed materials wherever possible, self-sufficiency in making, and the design of fittings and findings which are integral to a piece.
Eugenia Ingegno / Italy
I look at unlived second lives, something that did not happen but that could have happened. Situations seen for just a brief moment and then left waiting.
Portraits glimpsed, dreamed or only imagined.
A series of objects, real or not, accumulated and broken up to extract what is essential for me: a decorative detail or a fragment, just enough to trigger a memory.
As the Sunday photographer takes snapshots to capture the present, pursuing life as it flees, as if everything that he couldn’t photograph had never existed. Lost forever. I live the present as a future memory like a professional photographer, making it posed, manipulating reality, tries to photograph some memories, to give a body to recollection, replacing it for the present before his eyes (Italo Calvino).
I catch the shape impressing the material into the mold as the photographer captures the image impressing light on the film.
All that this has been and this is what remains. This thing exists or has existed.
This is the reality and the past at the same time; an emanation of the real past: magic.
Felieke van der Leest / Netherlands
Animals have a special place in Felieke van der Leest’s heart. She provides many animals with a busy social life as ornaments, gives a select group a nice home in museums and she placed a few oversized specimens in the centre of everyone’s attention in meeting rooms and stairwells. Jewellery, object or light fixture, the scale or function is not the aspect that inspires Van der Leest: the telling of unusual stories is always her main motivation.
Van der Leest has enriched jewellery design with the introduction of textile techniques. Combining this with gold, silver and plastic, in ten years time she developed her own idiom. She drew from her childhood in Emmen where she would visit the local zoo and also from her metalsmith education in Schoonhoven. Her unbridled imagination later came to full bloom at the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. For someone who normally works with hand sized pieces it is remarkable to develop monumental installations. Nevertheless, Van der Leest has already produced some ‘jewels’ for public spaces, cooperating with her cousin in NeefNicht Design.
Isabell Schaupp / Germany
„…about funnels and months‟
In this series, the funnel becomes a prominent feature. Being like an artificial „organ” to communicate between inner and outside world, every day of a month gets one funnel for itself, meaning that every jewellery piece consists of 28 to 31 funnels = days.
Since most of these delicate cone-like wire structures are flattened you will just recognize them as such on a second look, being parts of an interesting play between two- and three-dimensionality.
Margherita de Martino Norante / Italy
I’ve chosen to make jewellery beacause I was curious. It’s amazing what one can be willing to wear. The wonderful thing is that everyone can decide what bonds and limits exist with his/her work: I’m looking for mine.
Materials, shapes, colours, memories, the mood of the day, anything can be inspiring… I use different materials and techniques, from fur to reconstructed coral, from silver to enamelled copper wire. The element that my pieces have in common is the inspiration. They represent clothes or masks, things that people wear to appear in a certain way, to reveal, hide or disguise themselves.
Maria Cristina Bellucci / Italy
I think of what I do as a game. In the same way that games for children are the means of learning and growing, a way of overcoming difficulties, I find profound philosophy in play. In life and in my work, I am in a state of research that satisfies my interior need for knowledge, above all through my more instinctive part. There is a lot still to explore beyond our rational side, and it is there that I find source of inspiration.
In this period I feel the need to use common everyday materials that we use and are familiar with. The starting point in my works is the material. I am attracted to its inherent beauty. What I do is made simple and is gratifying to me. I let myself go and interact with the materials used. It is the material that guides me in what I do.
I saw that cutting coloured pencils and fitting them together I obtain a surface with a lot of colours and light wood around, I’m interested to work with this particular surface.
Hexagon shaped coloured pencils fit together perfectly and become a whole just like the cells of a beehive. The techniques used are those traditionally used in goldsmithing and woodworking. Once the pencils have been glued together, they are worked as one piece of wood. A patina is applied to protect the wood, to make it waterproof. It is wax mixed with oils used in bio-architecture, a natural non-toxic product.
Poly Nikolopoulou / Greece
My work is a way of communicate with the people and also with myself…
When I am making a piece, is very important the process, the feelings that I am experimenting at the moment and all the energy that those are reflecting in each object; the mistake of the moment, is something that I enjoy and I support from my work. I like the idea of making something that when is finished can give me different images, ideas, forms and the complete definition of my concept.
I prefer to use hard materials like silver, playing with the hammer and with the fire obtaining as an outcome shapes and colors that make them alive… sometimes in an abstract way or another in figurative.
Silke Fleischer / Belgium
The recent series of jewellery artist Silke Fleischer embraces the everyday object as a precious thing. She focuses and zooms in on our relation with mass-produced objects, usually lacking our attention, but intrinsically sharing a hidden and purposeful design.
A lot of these ‘things’ do not even have a name, exemplary for their daily ‘invisibility’. By picking them up and de-contextualizing them, Fleischer is redefining these ‘objects’ to ‘things’ (referring to Martin Heidegger on ‘things’: a thing is an object we appropriate and link closely to our personal life). What she creates is above all a ‘rendez-vous’, a fortuitous encounter with a thing that was plucked from its habitual context and promoted to another status.
/ Evelien Bracke/
Dace Vītola / Latvia
So many different things surround us – some are more necessary, some are less. A reflector, however humble and ordinary it is in its essence, is ranked on the top of our must-have list. It saves lives and makes it possible for us to meet our beloved ones again and again.
The BLING-BLING reflectors collection combines beauty with functionality. It is aesthetic pleasure, colourful enjoyment for visual gourmets as well as a safety feelings set.
Safety is not a subject to fashion. However, if it becomes one – there won’t be anything more fashionable in this world.
Nora Rochel / Germany
She draws inspiration from the miracle of life, the cycle of growth, bloom and decay. The emphasis is on life affirming energy and the positive symbolism of plants and flowers representing growth and fertility.
For Nora Rochel, working with wax and exploring the potential of the material are key steps in the metalsmithing process. First of all she shapes her models in wax by kneading, dripping, fusing and melting. She works with a variety of waxes from synthetic plasticlike waxes to fragrant high quality beeswax.
After preparing the model and adding the feeding channels, the second step is to convert the model into metal by a technique known as “lost wax casting“. After years of experience with this technique she now creates elaborately formed necklaces and sets the channels in the right places so that the necklace can be cast in one piece.
She likes working with the traditional materials of a goldsmith, including silver, gold, bronze and steel because of their timeless, solid qualities. Although these are serious metals Nora Rochel achieves an element of lightness by adding playful details or even a few bizarre touches such as leaving her fingerprints on the pieces.
She works with fair trade gold whenever available because protecting the environment, fair trade and sustainability are topics very close to her heart. Although she works only with metals, her jewellery still has a surprisingly rich colouring due to the use of various alloys and patination. Her pieces range from snowy white to shades of grey to dull jetblack in some pieces combined with reddish bronze colours or warm tones of gold.
Ara Kuo / Taiwan
I grew up in a world surrounded by brushes; they were designed, made and sold by those I loved the most, my parents and grandparents. Today, something as simple as brush, something so soft, warm and precious is reassuring. In this series of jewellery I chose to work with the traditional Chinese calligraphy brush a little piece of home no matter where my painted journey takes me…
Colorful kaleidoscope that interlines the presence of precious moments in life.
Ironical metaphors that magnify the senses and add other dimensions.
As some circus arriving to the moon.
Doris Betz / Germany
My jewellery making feels like having a mystery-flight-ticket in the pocket, not knowing where one will end up. But there is an aim. In the end there should be a damned good piece of jewellery. I always try to invent processes I cannot controll, I try to make things happen, I´m spontanious and attentive, I follow my instinct and also my experience.
This process of not knowing, not wanting, just playing, staying free, being without intention, casual ……….and suddenly getting excited………..and then recognizing the point when one has to take controll again, is a balancing act.
After a period of working with plastic and other materials (where the new is already in the material) I can say now, I am going back to metal! And especially there, it is a complex challenge to develop something new.
I trust that all this is visible and noticeable in every single piece!
Liisa Hashimoto / Japan
Most of my pieces get images from the nature living things and something organic. Little bud coming out from little seed, tiny moss growing around the water area, etc. I feel a lot of energy from these little nature living things.
And most of all, I like to make something that can make people smile or give some energy out of my works. That is my jewelry is dreaming as well.
I studied jewelry making at School of Museum of Fine Arts Boston and graduated in 1996. Since then, I have been making jewelry for over 15years mostly using silver, copper and brass.
Nicolas Estrada / Spain
In Nicolas Estrada we find an artist with his own voice and definition. His artistic direction comes from a deep foundation of fine irony mixed with a profound sense of reflection.
Nicolas is a jeweler that is respectful of his sources of inspiration. He is a passionate artisan, always seeking new interpretations to the mundane and looking to distance himself from the simple world of artistic merchandise. He finds creativity in the unstoppable instinct of movement. The fluidity of this instinct has led him to dominate technique in its most variable and subtle aspects.
Emmanuel Lacoste / France
Among all types of artistic creation, there is one essential thing that sets jewellery apart: its direct physical contact with the body. We wear it on and sometimes within our skin. This proximity creates a very intimate and personal relationship between ourselves and the piece.
My approach follows this line of research: the relationship existing between the body and the piece, the piece and the body.
The Body is a pet.
Dressed up, hair-styled, tattooed, adorned.
The Body is one of the last havens of individual creativity remaining to us.
A landscape expressing an egocentric eccentricity we accept.
“After the pleasure of being surprised, there is none greater than that of causing surprise.” Charles Baudelaire
Gigi Mariani / Italy
I utilize antique and unique goldsmith techniques, such as NIELLO and GRANULATION, personalizing them in order to distinguish my work from others. I work with precious metals combining them with other metals such as iron, copper and brass. My jewelry is usually finished by material textured, which hides to the naked eye the precious metals. As a painter uses his canvas to express his or her feelings, I use my jewelry as base for expressing mine.
I have been a goldsmith for over twenty-five years in Modena, Italy. Since I was a young man, I’ve been interested and attracted to metals and it’s infinite capabilities, especially it’s overlapping, oxidation, and sequences of layers. With my work, I try to transfer every day emotions into contemporary jewelry and unique pieces in a simple, informal and spontaneous way. This permits me to develop new situations and the art appreciators to develop feelings from these situations. My goal is to move from the concept of simple jewelry, to a larger concept of sculpture and art piece.
Sigurd Bronger / Norway
A propeller, a safety pin, a balloon, a kay, a voltmeter – with these objects Sigurd Bronger rewrites the idea of art jewellery. This Norwegian „jewellery engineer” gives his fascination with machines and instruments free rein in his witty jewellery pieces, in wich he transforms natural materials and everyday objects into ingenious and meticulously executed constructions. In his Laboratorium Mechanum, Bronger creates his inventive „wearable devices” – an entirely new form of expression at the interface of jewellery, art, design and engineering.
Tarja Tuupanen / Finland
The idea and the material go hand in hand, but sometimes the stone piece offers something you can´t pass, a colour change or a line or a structure. Then you have to change the original plan. Sometimes I search for these treasures to be used. And in the other hand there is always the need to control, need to do a perfect shape, a perfect oval.
Stone is my main material as a jewellery artist. I have worked with it ten years, and still it offers me challenge and surprises. I love it for its versatility, and hate it for its limitations. Working with stone is slow and it suits me. I don´t want to romanticize it that the timetaking working process would be meditative or spiritual, but the slowness has its value and the concrete grinding work helps me think. In the first working years I disliked the stone for its heaviness and clumsyness, and I wanted to change these qualities to the opposite by pushing the material to its edge by making it as thin and light as possible. Nowdays I´m already asking what the stone wants to say.
The white cacholong has offered the theme for me for the last 5-6 years. In the natural material there are all the white shades you can think of. When you look its whiteness long enough, you start to see some colours. This stone has the perfect athmosphere, it is minimalistic and quiet, stagnant but not boring, quite noble even. It looks soft and gentle, but it is not the truth. In a white stone all details show more clearly. In the emptiness there is content. Where is the limit of your expression or form, where is the limit in minimalism?
The white is waiting, it is silent, quiet and calm, it is clear and comforting, and frighteningly empty. Can a blanco portrait tell more than a photo? Is there something more to look at in white scenery than in the view from your balcony.
I do love the northern winter, when everything is covered with snow. It is silent, quiet and calm. Clear and comforting and frighteningly empty.
Fabrizio Tridenti / Italy
I want to exploit our bigger attraction for what we cannot see, for what is not there, for what is indefinite. “It seems to me that ’Nothing’ is the most powerful thing in the world”, said Robert Barry. For me, art is not an exact science. There is no evidenced truth. Art is a field where creativity experiments infinite directions towards freedom. Art responds to the stimulations of contemporary culture and uses the scientific and technological progress and knowledge in all their branches.
“The most important event in the field of visual arts during the last decades is certainly the achievement of conceptual art.
From the radical experiences of minimalism and processes, the first examples of conceptual art appear only apparently in contraposition with the experiences. In reality, these are two extreme poles of an artistic subject aimed at finally overcoming the traditional forms of the figurative plastic language. Reinhardt’s claim Less is more is brought to the extreme consequences, going beyond the monochrome surfaces and elementary volumes, and beyond the artwork as pure physical presence, with no other meaning connotations. The search for pure essence of art can only be based on the intangible dimension of the idea, in the legitimation of the artwork conception as the artwork.”
( Francesco Poli “ Minimalismo, Arte Povera, Arte Concettuale, Laterza Edizioni, free translation by Giorgio Tomasi)
Jewels cannot be confined within the limits of their function. Through liberating jewels from these limits, infinite experimentation fields are opened, which may lead to fruitful artistic experiences. The founding assumption of these attempts is the wish to return the central role to the intangible aspect in relation to the tangible aspect of jewels.
By asserting the primacy of the intangible aspects, jewels are seen from a different perspective, an entire scale of values is refounded, with the privilege for the finest perceptions.
Another aspect combining these attempts with conceptual art is the indifference towards the aesthetic value, which is strictly connected with the formal value.
The main purpose of this work is to provoke reactions, start discussions, rouse considerations, and open new debates on jewels. The point is shifting the focus from the aesthetic to the intellectual experience, or rather the aesthetic experience is the intellectual experience.
To obtain this result, the direction followed was to confute the traditional aspects of jewels: the functional, formal, and aesthetic values.
“Virtual” is a way to create the visibility of what cannot be realized in the tangible dimension. The new technology offers these new expressive opportunities.
The idea of the body or body parts as jewels also develops: a sort of zero degree of jewels. It can also be considered as an inversion operation: the body changes from traditional support of jewels to jewel itself; from background, it turns into protagonist (subject).
In the photo “the room as bracelet”, the concept of jewel is reversed: traditionally, hard materials are made to surround the body. On the contrary, in this case the body is an accessory of an architectural structure. This inversion appears not only as a limitation of movements, but universally as the present condition of human beings suffocated by structures produced by the society. A house is not considered as a shelter and protection, but as a limit to our ability to move, expand, an inorganic, static, and unchangeable shell for an organic, dynamic, and continuously growing creature. In this condition, these barriers can only be crossed through thought.
In the photo “ring”, the concept of ring is brought to the extreme consequences of dematerialization. Not only the ring does not exist, but also the part of the body supporting it is removed. The visual result is anyhow that of a ring, a ring of “absence”. However, while the object is self-limited in a shape, here the absence of the object gives space to the observer to imagine something, a personal ring. Therefore, this creatively activates and interacts with the observer.
The photo “impressions” shows a performing action on the body presenting (non-permanent) marks left by elastics. The intention is to implement a recognition of actions on the body, such as scratches, bruises, etc. considered as graphic signs on the body, which is considered as a blackboard on which the transitory marks of fashions or coincidence are drawn. The memories it recalls to us refer to irreversible actions performed on the body: fleshing, tattoos, piercing etc… found in both tribal societies and in our contemporary society.
Pawel Kaczynski / Poland
From the beggining with the jewellery design I established myself to search for new forms of expression in jewels. I experimented by mixing silver with many different kinds of fabrics.
My jewellery is mainly produced of silver and steel. I use also bronze.
Many different technics of steel colouration (fex. acrylic, oxyd, smoky steel)
For the last few years I concentrated my activity directly to steel as a main and single fabric in the jewellery design. I use many different kinds of structures tu add a new aesthetic and plastic value.
Coco Dunmire / USA
My body is the instrument which allows me to relate to physical space around me. Creating an object to be worn on the body influences my concept of reality as it changes the physical space around us; how we interact, with whom and in which way. And how we interact with the jewellery. This is why I make jewellery.
I believe in one of a kind. Jewels like people are particular and unique. I create pieces that belong to larger families, but must eventually go out into the world on their own. My most recent body of work is called Modern Ruins. These pieces are constructed from Resin, Pigment, Iron, Fine Silver and 18k Yellow Gold.
Curiosity rules our mind. My pieces take their form from a process based on deliberate chance. I employ pigment, resin, pure silver and iron to create dense lightness. Peeling open the waxed paper wrapping from a piece of resin is always surprising, like a memory I haven’t yet created.
Beppe Kessler / Netherlands
As is often noted, Beppe Kessler is a multi-faceted artist with a great sensitivity to materials and textures, who alternates seamlessly between the precious and the monumental. Light as a feather yet hard as a rock – this is the nature of Beppe Kessler’s jewellery. It has a distinct autonomy.
Not surprisingly, in recent years Kessler has found her form in the brooch – the most autonomous category of jewellery. While a brooch by Beppe Kessler can be seen as a beautiful boulder polished smooth by the ceaseless movement of water, it is also patently clear that such a ‘stone’ could never have been fashioned by nature. The combinations of materials, colours and shapes could only have originated in the hands of an artist.
Daniela Boieri / Italy
Mostly I work with metal which I believe has its own energy and I establish a deep dialogue with it that always brings me to solutions full of surprises; when I have control and when I loose it. I have the feeling that either what happens by chance or what I try to find, make me face myself and knowing me always better. Jewels are my illness and my cure.
I love this job in all its facets, I believe that the greatest satisfaction is born from giving form to thoughts and sensations I live with.
Making jewels is, every time, like leaving for a journey without booking………..a story to tell
….. or hide…………..
A momentary marriage.
Lisa Björke / Sweden
I work with jewellery because I think it´s a clever and never-ending way of expressing my thoughts in.I like the fact that I always have the body to relate to….but it doesn’t have to be a human body…..just a body to adorn.
I love the fact that I can choose any material, if I say it is a material for
jewellery…well, then it is. The value is not the price of the material….it’s the time and
love I put in the material that makes the piece valuable.
To make jewellery is to love and to be inspired of the world around me or the world
I have in my mind….
Ted Noten / Holland
Ted Noten is a Dutch jewellery designer that constantly explores the boundaries of his profession. Once a bricklayer and a psychiatric nurse, he graduated from the Amsterdam Gerrit Rietveld Academy in 1990 and started working on an oeuvre that has certainly influenced the contemporary jewellery field.
Noten has participated in a number of exhibitions worldwide, and a broad spectrum of galleries and museum collections now represent his oeuvre. Sawing up a Mercedes Benz car into brooches, sealing a little dead mouse wearing a tiny pearl necklace inside a block of acrylic: his work is never far from controversy. Still, Noten honours the specific qualities of jewellery design that centers around emotions, humour and small stories.Since 2005, Atelier Ted Noten has extended its exclusive jewellery creations towards (interior) design projects, installations and assignments for both private collectors and art institutions.