A cultural project: PREZIOSA Contemporary Jewellery

Article  /  Curating
Published: 19.05.2017
Giò Carbone Giò Carbone
Giò Carbone
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To talk about PREZIOSA, without talking about LAO, the school I founded in 1985, is impossible to me. The two activities are closely related. PREZIOSA exists because LAO exists, and in turn the school feeds on and enriches in contents and history, thanks to the PREZIOSA project.

I founded the school in 1985. It was the first Italian school entirely dedicated to the study of jewellery culture, and to the contemporary practice in jewellery creation.

Through and thanks to the didactic activities, we have brought in Italy the study and the acquaintance of contemporary jewellery research, primarily through our original and innovative teaching method, and in parallel with an intense cultural activity, since the 80s covered the organization of meetings and conferences, exhibitions, workshops with international artists and creators, so as to realize a favourable environment for the diffusion of study tools that up that moment had no any space in Italy.
This pioneering work has created the conditions for the diffusion and knowledge of contemporary jewellery in Italy, for the formation of goldsmiths with an innovative vision, and has served as an example for many small schools that have begun to be founded here and there in Italy since the late '90.
From 2000 to 2005 LAO has been managing the first art gallery dedicated to jewellery in Florence, with the organization of significant exhibitions and important artists, some of whom never appeared before in Italy, for example Terhi Tolvanen, Xavier Monclús, Nel Linssen, Yanna Syvanöja, Helen Britton, Jacqueline Ryan, and the Italians Anna Maria Zanella, Giovanni Corvaja, Giampaolo Babetto, Maria Rosa Franzin, Carla Riccoboni
In 2005, once again with a genius intuition and the courage typical of enthusiastic people, we decided to make a leap forward, with the launch of the PREZIOSA exhibition project.

PREZIOSA was the first Italian exhibition project repeated all long the years with regularity, with a precise objective: for each edition a specific concept was defined, according to which we chosen and invited the best and most interesting artists of the international scene.
An important catalogue was published for each edition, and invited artists attended the opening and presented their work to visitors, including lectures and workshops.
An innovative formula, never seen in Italy, which has defined a standard for the Italian scenario of contemporary jewellery exhibitions.
With the thematic exhibitions held from 2005 to 2013 - and since 2008 also with the YOUNG section -, PREZIOSA presented in an organic way the best of the artistic research carried out in little more than half a century of history, and filled a gap from which Italy had suffered.
The most important names in international artistic research were featured, from the “fathers” of the 1950s up to this century, with the generation of the 1970s.

Pinton, Becker, Hiramatsu, Pavan, Rothmann, Visintin, Watkins, Dahm, Dobler, Bronger, Bielander, Chang…. These are just some names of the artists we hosted, and the full list is really impressive, as are the catalogues with the critical text by Maria Cristina Bergesio and the settings designed by Mauro Vegliante, in an integrated concept that has established a benchmark for curators of contemporary jewellery exhibitions in a country which had been significantly left behind in this artistic sphere.
For to the richness of their contents and their original point of view, the catalogues published for the collective exhibitions organized from 2005 to 2013, represents an irreplaceable cultural reference for studious of the art, teachers, artists and students.
“To attract the public to this form of art, thematic exhibitions were presented from 2005 to 2013, each one dedicated to a specific concept and represented by artists who had been part of the history of this specific form of art: a piece of jewellery conceived as an independent type of artistic research, the recognizable sign of a certain personality and its creative universe. The works presented in the various PREZIOSA exhibitions bear witness to the different creative approaches of the most interesting and affirmed representatives of the three generations of artists from the 1950s until today” (Maria Cristina Bergesio)
PREZIOSA – Florence Jewellery Week

Since 2015, PREZIOSA experiences a different formula from that of a long-term exhibition, and focuses on a series of exhibition events, conferences, meetings and workshops, all of them concentrated in a short duration of time. External curators are also invited to organize exhibitions to further enrich the program of this four days international convention.
The first “Florence Jewellery Week” was held in the Spring of 2015.
Compared to the usual "Jewellery week", FJW is an event conceived and structured in a very special way, free of commercial aspects, and with a rigorous selection of artists and curators. There is no a "call for project", and all the artists, the curators and the speakers are selected and invited according to a criterion that ensures quality and diversity. There are no exhibition spaces for sale, and all the costs are an exclusive organization load: LAO assumes all the costs for travel and stay for all the invited artists and lecturers, for the set-up of the exhibitions, and for the catalogue.
This formula assures high-quality contents to the project, and creates the best premises to answer to the objectives of the event: to facilitate the environment for a meeting dense of opportunity for artists and visitors, a fertile atmosphere for the exchange and the discussion around the jewellery world.
This finality is pursued through exhibitions which hosts artists or groups of artists conducting personal and meaningful researches, but also with an intense program of conferences for which LAO invites personalities able to express their original points of view so as to offer to the public a wide range of suggestions and ideas: FJW is not just about the research jewellery, but about everything that revolves around the Jewellery world, seen from different angles, sometimes even apparently divergent.
The program also includes demonstrations of artisans of various disciplines, concerts, guided tours (the most important to the Boboli Park), and of course many socialization and after hours moments.
An appointment not to be missed!