- Jiří Šibor
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Czech jewelry does not present a unified picture in the 1990s and it is very difficult to define it briefly, to name it or set its characteristics. The work of preceding generations had more unifying then dividing features; the trend of the last two decades is quite opposite.
Czech jewelry does not present a unified picture in the 1990s and it is very difficult to define it briefly, to name it or set its characteristics. The work of preceding generations had more unifying then dividing features; the trend of the last two decades is quite opposite. It does not bear any traces of any particular Czech specify; the materials, initial ideas and eventual shape are different. It is original, international and difficult to identify when placed alongside its foreign counterparts. It possesses an inexhaustible number of shapes. It does not avoid precious metals and stones but these are not the aim, simply the means. Gold and silver are put on the same qualitative level as common metals, wood, leather, plastic, paper, enamel, glass, stone and other natural substances. New aesthetic values come into existence through their mutual combination. At the beginning of the 1960s, the actual material ceased to be essential. However, the way in which it is used with regards to visual art, combined with the ability of the artist to capture it properties and suitability for the message of the jewelry, has steadily taken on far greater degrees of importance. Artists have been dealing with the relationship between jewelry and the human body ever since jewelry ceased to be a conventional decoration with a passive role. In the new approach, jewelry should not be a neutral pendant on a chain or a string of universal dimension, but an original work of art that influences its owner in a certain way. By being made “to measure” as it were, it is respects the body specifics of the one who is wearing it, but at the same time it forces her or him, in some cases, to submit to a certain discomfort arising from the unusual size of the piece or close bonding with the body.
Two tendencies can be observed in contemporary Czech jewelry. One identifies with the traditional conception of jewelry, as treasuries of precious materials with the prime function of decoration in the best sense of the word. The second tendency is connected with the approximation of jewelry to a free art or small sculpture, without denying it its capacity to be worn. Only limited space forces the artist into a concise and economical expression of the idea conveying the artistęs world view, his or her feelings, moods and longings. This approach imposes greater demands on the user of a work of art that is not an indiferent accessory and is not confined to private use but it is to be exhibited to the public, thus becoming subject to confrontation with general, often still conservative, opinion. Those wearing the jewelry are representatives of the artist‘s philosophical attitude towards the world, and they must often adapt by their clothing and the mode of its presentation.
In the second half of 20th century, jewelry has come a long way, from a traditional handicraft product to an individual piece of art. In these few decades it has gone through a transformation that eludes comparison with any other historical period. Integral to this were not only changes of style in external shapes, but the radical transformation of decorative accessory into a real of art. Although Czech artists had to wrestle with many specific problems that artists abroad were spared, they had to find a solution to general human and private questions and, above all, a solution to the relationship between inner and outer space.
The jewelry of the end of the millennium is a complex and multilayered phenomenon. No art-historical or iconographical interpretation can adequately interpret it; one must approach it in a far wider philosophical, sociological, psychological and cultural-historical context.
Abridged text by Alena Krizova, from the book Metarphoses of Czech Jewelry at the End of the 20th Century. Academia, Prague, 2002.
Translation: Jana Fortova
Alena Novakova *1929 - †1997.
Brooch 1986, silver, paper, ink.
Collection of the Museum of Bohemian paradise, Turnov.
Jaroslav Kodejs *1938.
brooch 2001, mold-melted glass, gold, kanthal.
Jiri Drlik *1938.
Ring 1979, gold, crystal.
Collection of the Moravian Gallery, Brno.
Prof. Vratislav Karel Novak *1942.
Glass Chips 1983, face jewel, glass, rubber, stainless steel.
Svatopluk Kasaly *1944.
Necklace 2000, cut glass, gilded brass.
Eva Eisler *1952.
Mobius series, 2002, bracelet, stainless steel.
Pavel Opocensky *1954.
Fragilitas Gradatim, brooch 2002, carved jade.
About the authorJirí Šibor, 1966 Brno, Czechoslovakia. Since 1990 exhibited abroad and home, occupy mind by theme "Cold Connected Constructions" in jewelry; occasionally graphic designer, sculptor, curator of exhibitions and correspondent.
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