Strategies For The Promotion of Contemporary Jewellery. A Review Of The Round Table Discussions at JOYA 2014

Article  /  Review   MariaJoãoJerónimo   Fairs
Published: 21.10.2014
Maria João Jerónimo Maria João Jerónimo
Maria João Jerónimo
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During JOYA 2014 specialists, jewellers, collectors and the general public, gathered around the Round Table to discuss the recent relationship between jewellery and social media, the status of contemporary jewellery nowadays and new possible solutions to reach a new public and spread this art form.
With the presence of Klimt02, Current Obsession, Marianne Gassier from the blog Bijou Contemporain and Montserat Lacomba from Mar de Color Rosa, this was an opportunity to discuss the different points of view about the subject and reflect about our own conceptions. This essay doesn’t pretend to give answers but only to think over about the position of contemporary jewellery among the other creative disciplines and the diverse public.

Communication is a primary and basic need of the human being. We use our bodies to communicate, we produce art as a physiology response to the necessity that constantly implodes in ourselves. In this way, lately we have seen a boom of channels of communication related to social media. They’re present in our everyday lives and we learn from and with it.

But can social media be a channel to communicate jewellery? Can contemporary jewellery be promoted in an online space, with all the convenience and inconveniences that this kind of channel has? Answering to the necessity of a wide communication and spread of the contemporary jewellery, some platforms had been created, such as Klimt02, Current Obsession and a large amount of blogs that collect information from each other. These platforms mark the current scene and aim for expansion of the field, although a lot of times just among jewelers. Each platform has its own statement and goals, collaborating sometimes and also discordant in a healthy way. They coexist in an environment where there is space for all and even for more, they also have different targets and opinions. Being distinct with the same purpose, there are spaces for different types of artists and publics. At this point, the jeweller, in order to create a good network and promotion of his or her own creations, must be self-conscious and critical enough to choose properly the space for themselves. And, it’s not enough to be a critic to one’s own work and style, but to also be critical about the way we present ourselves. With the large amount of information placed on the web, accessible by all to the distance of a click, we must learn ways to stand out to be able to have a chance to reach the right public. If being in one of these platforms is halfway to the successful promotion, taking care of the statement and selecting the right works, photographs and words is arguably the key for success.

The last word is always given by the public; the viewer interprets the information received and decides what fits better with him or her according to personal aesthetic conception.

At this point, I would like to bring up to the discussion the contribution of Ezra Satok-Wolman, [1] for his thoughts on contemporary jewellery. Transversal to this whole matter is how to captive the audience and reach a diverse public, instead of making jewellery for a small circuit of “knowers”. According to Ezra Satok-Wolman, the big question is here. Quoting the author: “We have “broken the circle of jewellery” by removing the wearer from the equation, not only by neglecting the wearability of jewellery, but by assuming that people will want to wear what we make just because “We” have made it.” This is a very sensitive question that implies the close definition of art, jewellery, aesthetics, self-expression and beauty.

Should the artist, create something for the public or just something for self-expression? Should the artist make contemporary jewellery with a reflection of the creator and its environment and concerns, an immanent genius, or a way to pleasure a defined public? Must jewellery be wearable or intersect with other creative fields? Are there borders to these concepts and acceptations or should the commonsense prevail? According to the opinion of Klimt02 and Current Obsession, with which I could not agree more, as long as the human race exists there will be a search for beautiful things and, as long as this demand exists, there will always be an art market.

The definition of beauty is for sure ambiguous and subjective; the concept is changeable along with the times and it differs to each person, being found not only in the form but also in the technique, the concept, the materials and forms of expression. Besides, contemporary jewellery should not only respond to the personal needs but also to educate and to give tools to the viewer, so as to make the subject known. In every artistic field there are multiple layers of understanding, some of them very coded. If we show and explain to the public a new beauty and a different aesthetics conception, this will allow reaching a wider audience and, with this paradigm shift, a new way of communication is also needed. It’s in this scope that these platforms work and with the change of public’s taste they also adapt themselves to a new vision of contemporary jewellery. They act like living organisms that aim to expand and push borders of a field so constrained to itself. Going back to Ezra Satok-Wolman’s statement, contemporary jewellery acts like a “bubble”; in other words, the jewellery circuit works and moves among jewellers and an elite audience. Outside the “bubble”, the economic and social participation of others structures and institutions beyond the jewellery has decreased. And this closed circle doesn’t affect only the economic foundations of this field of work but also the way the artists see themselves and interact with one another.

At this point of the discussion, Current Obsession brought up something very important: the interdisciplinary that should exist in the arts. A jeweller needs other areas, and not only artistic areas, for presentation and recurrently even for the production of a piece. Photographers, web designers, and specialized people in certain materials, are needed. And just with a wide collaboration between a large range of disciplines the best communication is possible. As these platforms involve professionals from different areas of knowledge, also the contemporary jewellery must learn how to interact with the diverse camps of interest.

These are questions far from being solved. We need to invest in events of greater reach, such as fairs and symposiums; we need to learn a better way of communication and use these platforms to our advantage. Essentially, we need to be able to look at ourselves and find new ways of improving our work. Quoting Leo Caballero from Klimt02, “There is no formula, enjoy the path.”

[1] SATOK-WOLMAN, Ezra, Identity Crisis: An Essay about the Current State of Art Jewellery and the Future of it, Barcelona: Klimt02, 2014

About the author

Maria João Jerónimo has a Master in Museology, New University of Lisbon, Bachelor Degree History of Art, New University of Lisbon and Artistic Studies of Jewellery, School António Arroio.