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Benjamin Lignel : You are now leaving Switzerland Workshop

Workshop  /  04 Feb 2013  -  08 Feb 2013
Published: 02.07.2013
Benjamin Lignel : You are now leaving Switzerland Workshop.
St Lucas University College of Art & Design Antwerp
Management:
Hilde De Decker
.

© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.

Intro
With this workshop, participants gained insight into the artist’s approach to the communication of his work, specific to the field of contemporary art jewellery. The augmentation of their mediation skills will help them further establish their career in contemporary art jewellery.
Review of the workshop by Benjamin Lignel: ‘You are now leaving Switzerland – Or a crash course on how to occupy the public space’ (4 – 8 February 2013)

French contemporary jewellery designer, writer and editor of Art Jewelry Forum, Benjamin Lignel came to Antwerp to lead the workshop ‘You are now leaving Switzerland – Or a crash course on how to occupy the public space’, in connection with the research project ‘Afterschool’ by the St Lucas University College of Art and Design Antwerp, Jewellery Design|Silversmithing department. Jewellery professionals and first-year Master’s students from various disciplines were invited to take part.

In order to gain an understanding of what this workshop entails, Benjamin Lignel started the workshop with a substantial lecture on what happens to a piece of contemporary art jewellery after it has been constructed, and what the role of the artist is in that process. This is so-called mediation in art, i.e., the various instruments used by artists, and their commercial or institutional partners, to explain their work to the public. The subjects in this lecture were supported by numerous examples in the field of contemporary art jewellery. Due to the intimacy of the group it was possible to ask questions immediately and discuss the topics involved.

Participants were asked to choose one of their own finished pieces to work with throughout the workshop. This piece was used to illustrate what jewellery artists can do with their work when they are ready to communicate to the public. As an opening assignment, students were to write two emails about this piece: one to a curator they did not know, and one to a friend who knew their work, but not this (new) one. Participants needed their full attention for this. Most of them had written about their work before, but this assignment forced them to carefully weigh every word, and to form a concise message.

Benjamin Lignel also gave a lecture on the second day of the workshop, focusing on the significance of 2D media to communicate and distribute (jewellery) artists’ 3D work.

The next assignment proved to be an additional challenge: participants were to write a critical text on a fellow participant’s work. After showing each other their respective pieces, they set to work, again cautiously weighing each written word.

Once participants had finished their texts, it was time to work on other forms of representation. First, the piece needed to be photographed in a context meticulously staged by the students, one in which they could control the perception of their work. Then another photograph was taken, of the staged setting only, without the piece in it.

The next step in the process of ‘mediation’ concerned the distribution of the piece. Students were to box their work and, with illustration and/or text, add an accurate description of how the work should be installed for presentation.

After these five intense days (the atelier at St Lucas had never been this quiet!), it was time to exhibit the participants’ efforts. A display was set up in the St Lucas school library (again, a quiet place). Surrounded by so many books and images on (contemporary jewellery) art, more representation of art jewellery seemed appropriate. Since no 3D pieces were made during the workshop, there were none on display. However, upon entering the exhibition, visitors were unaware of this. All the features of a regular exhibition were there; on the tables were texts by the artists and curators accompanied by photographs, and images were displayed on the library computer screens. Only one table filled with boxes seemed odd. On closer inspection, visitors saw the ‘empty’ photographs next to the description; these were the second photographs taken by the participants, without the piece in it. In order to see the works that the texts referred to, visitors had to look at the computer screens. Then the boxes on the table started to make sense: the work was packed in there! None of the visitors tried to open the boxes (although some did pick up a box and did weigh it to see if the work was actually in it).

With this workshop, participants gained insight into the artist’s approach to the communication of his work, specific to the field of contemporary art jewellery. The augmentation of their mediation skills will help them further establish their career in contemporary art jewellery.

-Broes van Iterson-


Benjamin Lignel : "You are now leaving Switzerland - or a crash course on how to occupy the public space"

As soon as you leave the relative safety of school, you will become an expert in translating your work into image and texts, or setting it up in exhibitions. This is called ‘making public’, and the general point of the exercise is (1) to substitute to a physical object you made the manufactured evidence of its existence or (2) put it ‘on show’ in such a way that advertises its qualities without the benefit of touch, let alone use.

In about 98% of the cases, people who know about your work will never handle it. Which does not mean that it won't be ‘seen’ in the wide sense of the term: in fact, it will be seen often and well, but in media that are not its own: in text and images mostly, on video sometimes, or immersed in someone else’s curatorial efforts. And so, we will consider all the equipment (discursive or physical) that surrounds, protects, modifies, promotes, exaggerates the work you produced as so many arguments, stating a particular claim about your work, and what it means to do.

During this five-day workshop we will look at the curious and exciting transformations that take place when a work is photographed, written about, exhibited. We will discuss - and hopefully help you test - your own approach to these supposed ‘filters’: the text, the image, the environment in which your work is ‘received’. The workshop will be concluded by a presentation of your experiments in the medium you have chosen.

What is this workshop about? Taking control of all that is transmissible in your work: view this as different stages in a process of making the work disappear, and reconstruct it on the other side of the mirror.
Benjamin coaching Silke and Robin on the first day of the workshop.
Benjamin coaching Silke and Robin on the first day of the workshop

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About selecting pictures.
About selecting pictures

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and making appropriate boxes.
and making appropriate boxes

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Setting up the exhibition with digital communication.
Setting up the exhibition with digital communication

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and analog....
and analog...

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Opening the exhibition with a performance.
Opening the exhibition with a performance

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and some explanation by Benjamin himself.
and some explanation by Benjamin himself

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Appreciate APPRECIATE