Preziosa 2006: No-Body Decoration
Exhibition / 22 Sep 2006 - 22 Oct 2006
- Maria Cristina Bergesio
Exhibition of the creations of a group of artistic contemporary jewellers ...and a wonderful exhibition of jewellery from 19th-century Indian tradition, originating from the Heritage collection of Ganjam.
Artist listFriedrich Becker, Bruno Martinazzi, Gerd Rothmann, Gijs Bakker, Christoph Zellweger, Naomi Filmer, Frédéric Braham, Ruudt Peters, David Watkins, Marjorie Schick, Noam Ben-Jacov.
Le Arti Orafe, jewellery school in Firenze and Lucca, organize the second edition of Preziosa contemporary jewellery exhibition.
With a wealth of content and a strong group of partners, Preziosa 2006 is characterized by its focus on the theme of the body (No-Body Decoration), and provides for different exhibition contexts which complement each other: on the one hand, there is an exhibition of the creations of a group of artistic jewellers who are among the foremost representatives of the contemporary international scene, and on the other a wonderful exhibition of jewellery from 19th-century Indian tradition, originating from the Heritage collection of Ganjam, the famous jewellery maison – an opportunity for intercultural and historical comparison.
Plan for the contemporary jewellery exhibition:
Compared with the other arts, jewellery has one peculiarity: its final destination is the human body.
The exhibition highlights the evolution of the body-jewellery relationship in the field of artistic research and innovation, in contrast to the usual perception of jewellery as decoration or fashion accessory.
The human body acquires a fundamental role as a source of inspiration and a necessary completion of the creative process. It is not simply decorated, but is made to participate in an aesthetic transformation, itself becoming an exhibition space for works born out of experimentation.
Wearing a piece of artistic jewellery requires the awareness that one is using one’s own body as a tool for non-verbal communication. The ornament becomes a dual sign, both of the creative universe of the person who made it and, simultaneously, of the personality of the person who has decided to wear it.
Research jewellery is the expression of a Weltanschauung, an outlook on life, just as paintings, sculpture and architecture can be. The Dutch artist Gijs Bakker sums this attitude up perfectly: “The painter uses the canvas as a means of expressing his ideas; jewellery is exactly the same for me” (Zeichen am Körper, 1987).
The design of the exhibition highlights the nature of jewellery detached from its purely ornamental function: the objects for the body collected together in the prestigious setting of Villa Bottini are works by ten artists of of consolidated reputation, chosen because of the special relationship they establish with the human body.
Organized into three thematic sections, the exhibition looks into the presence of the body in jewellery (Martinazzi, Rothmann, Bakker) and the natural movement of kinetic jewellery (Becker), but is also a reflection on the possibilities of body alteration/transformation through prostheses, extensions and incorporations, until we reach a representation of the vital breath, the “Pneuma” (Peters). The third section features research leading to the conquest of the body by jewellery as a piece of sculpture (Bakker, Schick), and performances that decree the disappearance of the jewellery-object and become happenings in the space around the body.
Section I – The body in jewellery.
- Movement: Friedrich Becker
- Parts for the whole: Bruno Martinazzi
- The skin: Gerd Rothmann
- The image: Gijs Bakker
In this section the human body is the inspiration for the jewellery. Its characteristics and peculiarities, its “physicalness” and representation are all present in these creations. From the kinetic studies in the works of Friedrich Becker, we move on to the parts of the body (hands, eyes, mouth) of Bruno Martinazzi, to the skin reproduced by Rothmann and to the photographic content in Gijs Bakker’s jewellery.
Section II - Inside/Outside.
- Prostheses as jewellery: Christoph Zellweger
- Technological extensions/new spaces: Naomi Filmer
- Incorporating jewellery: Frédéric Braham
- The vital breath: Ruudt Peters
The theme of the second section is the relationship between the body’s internal and external space, with works characterized by a more conceptual, philosophical approach to jewellery.
The body considered in its anatomic form: the prosthesis is the central theme of Christoph Zellweger’s reflection on the boundaries between object-jewellery for the body-prosthesis.
New spaces are explored, widening the traditional categories of jewellery with technological elements (telephone headphone, LEDs …) and creating a dilation of the body structure itself (Naomi Filmer).
The starting point for Frédéric Braham’s study comprises the various aspects connected with cosmetics – the group of products designed for external use – and goes on to develop the aesthetic, psychological and interior implications which make up the complex scenario of the subject, leading to the “Inner Beauty” performance.
Ruudt Peters’ Pneuma series passes over corporeity to represent what is not visible in the body: the vital breath, the essence of life.
Section III – Theatricalization of jewellery.
- Sculpture to wear: Gijs Bakker
- Orbits around the neck: David Watkins
- Constructions for the body: Marjorie Schick
- The object becomes space around the body: Noam Ben-Jacov
Since the ‘60s a tendency has developed which questions the concept of jewellery as something to wear, crossing over the very boundaries of wearability that belong to the traditional conception of jewellery as ornament. The body becomes an exhibition space for sculpture-objects, as in the works by Bakker and Schick. Jewellery acquires a predominant role in bodily architecture, as in the case of David Watkins’ necklaces, which frame the head as if in orbit, and finally becomes objects which the body enters and relates to, as in Naom Ben–Jacov’s videos.
The exhibition area will also contain photographs, installations and videos.
Occasions of particular interest will be the open seminars which each artist will be asked to hold, in which they will talk about themselves and their art.
Beyond Body Decoration.
Jewellery from Ganjam’s Heritage collection
As occurred in the previous exhibition with the exhibition of historic jewellery from Lucca, some of which came from the Florence Silverware Museum, Lucca Preziosa 2006 again intends to expand the scenario, both geographically and culturally, by hosting a selection of 19th-century Indian jewellery from the Heritage collection of the prestigious Indian company Ganjam.
Long necklaces, head ornaments linked to marriage rituals, forearm bracelets, belts…: these objects of great importance are witness to the technical ability and craftsmanship of their creators, and highlight the central role that jewellery had and continues to have in Indian society.
An integral part of daily life, worn by women, men and children, jewellery has a position beyond purely aesthetic gratification: in its forms, in the motifs portrayed and in the act of wearing on the body, it represents the essence of Indian spirituality, sending clear messages via a codified series of legible signs.
Jewellery is recognized as having the power to maintain body and mind in equilibrium and harmony; its forms are designed to be worn on all the joints and pressure points so as to stimulate the flow of vital energy.
The human body takes on absolute relevance: in both the contemporary research works and the creations from Indian tradition, we see the semiotic complexity of jewellery, which refuses to be reduced to pure ornamental accessory and highlights aspects linked to the decision to “adorn”, to clothe one’s own body – one’s own ego – and display it to the world.
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