Interview with Tore Svensson

Interview  /  Artists
Published: 03.01.2007
Interview with Tore Svensson.
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(...) As my objects or items of jewelry speak for themselves, I try to keep narratives out of my work. (...)
From paper to metal: Do the pieces change much? Have you had the need of theorizing on your work: first is the idea / concept and afterwards the implementation? How is that process?
I regard my creative artistic work as a process that began while I was at art school in the 1970s. Small changes lead to novel ideas, objects and jewelry. At first, I made large abrupt changes, but now variations come most often from small shifts.

I like to work in long series. My“7 x 7 cm” series continued for ten years; after some 250 brooches it may not yet be ended. My final results can be far from the ideas I sketch at first; in the meantime I work with, puzzle over, and re-arrange paper cut-outs.

I think I always work with three or four inter-related projects.

Is a great deal of the work concentrated on the treatment of the colour and surfaces? What role does geometry play?
As my objects or items of jewelry speak for themselves, I try to keep narratives out of my work.

Their geometrical forms are neutral, despite being filled to bursting with symbolic content. Departure from a geometric form leads into narrative.

When I have worked with other sorts of concept, such as Helen Drutt’s various projects “Brooching it diplomatically” or “Chatelain” I have tried to adapt my results to forms that feel familiar. I myself set the bounds within which I create.

My treatment of surfaces expresses in part my interest in painting, and my objects and items of jewelry are as much images as they are sculptures.
Working with surfaces and colour naturally influences interpretations of the content of jewelry: this reinforces or creates contradictions.

Jewellery and objects: what differences do you find when it comes down to work each one of them? The connection is: jewellery and objects, jewellery or objects or perhaps jewellery versus objects?
While working with my iron bowls during the mid 1980s, I became increasingly fascinated by surfaces: blackness, contrasts, and the effects of hammering.

Wanting to try to convey this to jewelry, I chose a neutral format: this gave rise to the “7 x 7 cm” series of brooches.

Nowadays there is more a process of exchange between jewelry and objects, for parts of the one can be conveyed into the other.

Working with bowls takes much time and effort, but jewelry takes me less time to get from an idea to a finished piece. In practical terms, they complement one another.

What has iron got that you cannot find in other metals?
Various things I like about iron or steel:

• It’s inexpensive metal that my work refines and enhances in value, appreciation.

• The blackness given by annealing and firing with linseed oil and also when it contrasts with gold.

• Iron’s strength and endurance contrast with its natural decay through rust.

• The metal has throughout history been enshrouded in mystery.

These aspects of the material do not necessarily need to be seen in my work but they interest and fascinate me.

You have said that the time spent working is an important part of the expression...
Making my iron bowls demands much time. I can work on a larger one during a two-month period. Forms are simple and decoration minimal. I persuade myself that my time-consuming work with the hammer creates the bowls’ expressions.

I wish observers shall feel this and perhaps reflect on time: unhurried stillness contrasting with the excessive activity of contemporary life.
I regard my bowls as objects for contemplation.

Do you think you belong to a tradition? What is there of local and universal in your artistic work?
Having been educated as a silversmith in Sweden, I may perhaps be said to belong to the tradition that includes the simplicity and technology of Swedish silversmiths at their most skilful in the latter half of the 17th century and for a time in the mid 20th century. On the other hand, my work has been said to have a Japanese or an African expression.

The thought pleases me that traces of an artist’s origins appear in his or her work.
All art in the contemporary communicating world, including jewelers’, tends to be similar.

Why should be necessary art jewellery?
An interest in embellishing the body and clothes with aesthetic and symbolic expressions can be traced to the Cro-Magnon people who existed some 32,000 years ago. Jewelry can thus be one of the oldest of the forms of art: perhaps human beings need to wear it.

For myself I like to work in a small format, and to think that individuals go about wearing my works of art.

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Tore Svensson. Brooch: Untitled. Iron, etched, gilt or silverplated.. Tore Svensson
Brooch: Untitled
Iron, etched, gilt or silverplated.
© By the author. Read Copyright.
Tore Svensson. Ring: Untitled, 2002. Iron, etched, gilt or silverplated. 30-40 x 30-40 mm. Tore, SvenssonRing: 2002Iron, etched, gilt or silverplated30-40 x 30-40 mm. Tore Svensson
Ring: Untitled, 2002
Iron, etched, gilt or silverplated
30-40 x 30-40 mm

Tore, Svensson
Ring: 2002
Iron, etched, gilt or silverplated
30-40 x 30-40 mm

© By the author. Read Copyright.
Tore Svensson. Bowl: Untitled. Iron, fired with linseed oil, gilt or silverplated. Tore, SvenssonBowl: UntitledIron, fired with linseed oil, gilt or silverplated. Tore Svensson
Bowl: Untitled
Iron, fired with linseed oil, gilt or silverplated

Tore, Svensson
Bowl: Untitled
Iron, fired with linseed oil, gilt or silverplated

© By the author. Read Copyright.