Think Twice: New Latin American Jewellery

Exhibition  /  06 Mar 2014  -  29 Jun 2014
Published: 09.03.2014

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The Arocena Museum in collaboration with the Otro Diseño Foundation are pleased to invite you to the opening of the traveling exhibition Think Twice: Contemporary Latin American Jewellery.

Artist list

Mirla Fernandes, Kehisha Castello, Helena Biermann, Tota Reciclados, Udi Lagallina, Martacarmela Sotelo, Kika Alvernaga, Silvina Romero, Elisa Gulminelli, Zinna Rudman, Célio Braga, Martha Camargo, Maria Paula Amezcua, Magali Anidjar, Walka Studio, Mauricio Lara, Gabriela Horvat, Jorge Castañón, Nilton Cunha, Jimena Rios, Thelma Aviani, Alcides Fortes, Samantha Fung, Alex Bourttiea, Marie Pendaries, Renata Porto, Martha Hryc, Teresa Margolles, Paula Isola, Beate Eismann, Aurelie Dellasanta, Giselle Morales, Fiorenza Coredro, Francisca Kweitel, Alina López, Ana Paula Campos, Dionea Rocha Watt, Eduardo Graue, Mariana Shuck, Stella Bierrenbach, Hugo Celi, Luis Acosta, Isel Mendoza, Dani Soter, Linda Sánchez, Andrés Fonseca, Ana Videla, Alex Burke, Benjamin Lignel, Alejandra Agusti, Lucia Abdenur, Claudia Cucchi, Chequita Nahar, Ariel Kuipfer, Ximena Briceno, Julieta Odio, Guigui Kohon, Nuria Carulla, Santiago Ayala, Carlos Martiel, Jorge Manilla, Henna Lee, Alejandra Hernández Montoya, Andrés Quinones, Laura de Alba, Mariana Acosta, Valentina Rosenthal, Laura Alvarado, Carolina Martínez Linares,  Leda Daverio, Alejandra Solar, Carolina Hornauer,  Raquel Paiewonsky, Lorena Lazard, Miguel Luciano, Ma. Constanza Ochoa, Ursula Guttmann, Gaston Rois, Aline Berdichevsky, Carolina Gimeno.
The Arocena Museum in collaboration with the Otro Diseño Foundation are pleased to invite you to the opening of the traveling exhibition Think Twice: Contemporary Latin American Jewellery.

The opening will be preceded by a lecture dictated by the curator of the exhibition Valeria Vallarta Siemelink.

The exhibition has been seen by over 50 thousand visitors in all its combined venues in New York, Seattle, Tallinn and Monterrey. Few jewellery exhibitions receive such a large audience. It makes us extremely happy to see that the mission of Otro Diseño is being fulfilled: to promote the contemporary visual culture of Latin America and bring the fascinating converging fields of art, craft and design to a growing audience.

We are particularly honored to count with he support of the extraordinary artist of Think twice, who have made this exhibition possible. We hope that you can join us to see their work, which represents the cultural and material diversity from our continent.

Think Twice will end its journey at the Franz Mayer Museum in Mexico City, in the fall of 2014. This will make a perfect closure for an exhibition that has helped to strengthen the field of contemporary jewellery in Latin America and, thus, enrich the international arena.

Objects of adornment have long played a significant role throughout Latin America's history, from the spiritually potent jewelry of the pre-Columbians to the eye-catching ornaments worn by Mexican drug gangs to advertise their status and menace. Bringing together more than 125 works by over 50 artists from 23 countries, Think Twice is the largest collection of contemporary Latin American jewelry to be seen in the United States. BAM is the only museum in the Northwest to showcase this fascinating exhibition!

Think Twice aims to bring the audience a clear picture of the landscape of contemporary jewellery in Latin America and its development in the last 10 years, showing the way in which visual artists and jewellery makers born or living in Latin America view and relate, through jewellery, to such a vast and diverse continent. 

The exhibition, conceived by Otro Diseño, is born out of a passion for jewellery as a medium of personal and cultural expression and of the conviction that the fresh, intense and highly creative work of Latin American jewellery makers outstandingly represents and nurtures the culture they live in and therefore greatly enriches and diversifies the international landscape of contemporary jewellery.

The show has been guest-curated by the Netherlands-based, Mexican-born architect and historian Valeria Vallarta Siemelink.

“The new Latin American jewelry must be appreciated for what it is. One shouldn’t impose stereotypes or resort to clichés,” says guest-curator Valeria Vallarta Siemelink. “Far from being an imported concept from the West, jewelry-as-art in Latin America is very much a product of the region’s history and its diverse and dynamic modern societies.” 

To bring clarity to Latin America’s complex culture and history, the exhibition is organized around three themes, addressing the region’s past, its unique fusion of ethnic influences, and its ever-changing socio-political realities.

History, Memory, Tradition
The tension between tradition and modernity is crucial to Latin American history. Heritage and memory, both personal and collective, are among the subjects expressed by these artists through pre-Columbian and colonial jewelry methods and traditional craft techniques. Take the Colombian Mariana Shuk. She has made a series of rings using traditional ring shanks ordered from mega-jewelry suppliers. She creates a ring by interlacing two identical shanks. Its shape determines which techniques—stone setting, enameling, filigree—she will employ to customize it in the Colombian colonial style. The process has produced a perplexing assortment of rings that confronts past and present, value and insignificance. By contrast, another Columbian artist, Linda Sanchez, creates her jewelry pieces by employing weaving techniques that have been used by an Amazonian tribe since ancient times. 

A Flair for Invention
The artists in this section are some of the boldest jewelry makers anywhere. Skilled at improvisation, they make brilliant use of a rich variety of native materials along with such everyday objects as balloons and drawer handles. A spontaneous attitude and a contrary vision are central to their daring approach. The Mexican Andres Quiñones can make an exquisite choker from sticks of bamboo, a few broken guitar strings, a handful of freshwater pearls and silver wire, all of the materials collected from garbage dumpsters in Mexico City. Colombian Helena Biremann presents Hit the Road, a series of brooches that collect the insects stuck to a car in its 286 km trip from Munchen, Germany to Domaslav, Czech Republic. 

Forging Identity: Latin America as a Source of Inspiration 
These jewelry makers are creating an individualistic language, expressive of who they are and where they come from. Art, religion, money, violence, tradition, family, gender are among the themes that define their lives, uniting their collective and individual identities. Foreign-born artists, who are somehow bound up with Latin America or have had a profound impact upon it, are included in this section. Alcides Fortes, for example, was born in Cape Verde, trained as a gold and silversmith in the Netherlands, and today lives and works in Mexico. He specializes in politically charged jewelry, creating such works as a necklace made out of the porcelain portraits recovered from the graves of a family killed in the Mexican revolution. The piece reveals both an admiration for Mexico’s culture and history as well as a loathing of its corruption, economic disparities, and veiled racism. By transforming the common objects of his native land into fetishized commodities, Miguel Luciano examines how American consumerism has affected Puerto Rican culture. Plantainum, for example, is a series of necklaces and pendants featuring a platinum-covered plantain. The shell is seductive and pristine, but underneath the fruit is rotting. 

Figurative and abstract, conceptual and symbolic, traditional and experimental, contemporary Latin American jewelry is tremendously varied, and it is this diversity that enables it to communicate its ethnicity and to transcend it.