- Roberta Borghesi
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As we wanted to communicate Simone Frabboni’s work with referring to a symbol of rupture, we designed a video where a girl broke a wooden bangle with an axe, in a context of nature and abandonment. Suddenly the slogan “Nothing is forever” came to our minds and seemed perfect.
This article tells about a communication project that we developed with Simone Frabboni, a contemporary jeweler. Simone makes jewelry in wood, resins, and other non-precious materials. Our purpose was to communicate his wooden jewelry to a wide public with a video. Working on this project we recognized that an artist’s work and its kind of communication are deeply connected. We cannot use classical patterns and tools to communicate something different. So we started with the desire to go beyond stereotypes about conventional jewelry and we ended up with a model breaking our wooden bangles with an axe into an abandoned wooden shed. The process of making this video accompanied us throughout a journey into awareness of our work and its communication.
Simone had the idea of a video with a girl breaking one of his most famous wooden bangle with an axe. Then the slogan “Nothing is forever” came to our mind. Finally, we saw that all the elements falling into place and our project revealed a deeper sense.
Now we want to tell you the full story.
The bangle “Faun”, made by Simone Frabboni and broken for the video. Pictures by Simone Frabboni.
Jewelry and advertising
We imagined our video for a wide public, to share on social networks, with a target that had never heard about contemporary jewelry. Everybody knows commercial jewelry brands, but contemporary jewelry actually is well known by a more little niche, people with an artistic education or culture. Except for collectors, artists, or people passionate about contemporary jewellery, the big public still needs to be “educated” to art in jewellery, to feel free to risk and be original in their choices of accessories, instead of choosing an established brand because it’s well known, because of its name, signature and the values that all this represents. So we wanted something that could create attention, sounding familiar but overturning conventional visions.
Contemporary jewelry’s creations are unique, they come from artistic research and more and more involve non-precious matters, as seen also in a recent article written by Saskia Van Es on Klimt02. The research in contemporary jewelry is about concepts, shapes, aesthetics, materials, meanings: art moves from big spaces to the body, to daily life, we can wear it every day.
This world, as it happens for independent music, cinema and literature, moves throughout different channels and languages. It’s not easy to find good ways to communicate something new, something different, to a wide public. A research project developed in jewelry school Sint Lucas Antwerpen for instance reports that ecology is not often communicated in contemporary jewlery and because of this often contemporary jewellery is hermetic:
“Contemporary social references such as sustainability and ecology are not at all or hardly communicated in a presentable fashion in jewellery or its display. The denial, neglect or omission of these references seemed to the researchers to be one of the reasons why contemporary jewellery today is seen as hermetic.” (Research project’s presentation on the web page).
So, as we wanted to communicate Simone Frabboni’s work with referring to a symbol of rupture, we designed a video where a girl broke a wooden bangle with an axe, in a context of nature and abandonment. Suddenly the slogan “Nothing is forever” came to our minds and seemed perfect.
“Nothing is forever”
Surely this can sound familiar to you, even if a bit strange. Do you remember the slogan “A diamond is forever” by De Beers? It’s really historic: it appeared the first time in 1948. A successful advertising campaign, that helped to create the mith and ritual of engagement (as it says also this review). The slogan had been studied in universities all around the world and proposed again and again by the brand until the new millennium, with a few variations on the theme. The most precious stone, a diamond, became the symbol and means of a promise for life. A promise made to a partner (a female partner) and to the whole society.
From 1948 to the first years of 2000 the plot hasn’t changed very much: it’s always a man who gives the woman a jewel; a woman that certainly changes over time – she graduates, changes attitudes and looks – but in front of the precious stone she always appeared in the same way: dreamy. By the way, nowadays relations and social roles have changed so much. Choices of men and women have changed, also in fashion and jewelry. People’s choice for non-precious matters often has also ecological reasons, hopefully. One of the meanings of Simone Frabboni’s work with wood jewels is that nature is the most precious thing we have. Wood it’s not like gold, it’s not like diamonds, it doesn’t last forever.
But actually… nothing is forever!
We started to see that this video and its slogan could have many subtle meanings. As an artistic work, its interpretation is left open, but all go towards new visions about jewelry, relations, environment.
During the shooting of "Nothing is forever" 4 bangles of the "Faun" collection were broken, but we think that it was worth. Pictures by Simone Frabboni.
Breaks and liberations
We used a strong image – not just a provocation – to express a break with visions that are typical of the past and that maybe don’t belong to the wide public anymore nowadays. The end for us is opened, interpretation is left to the viewer. We don’t want to give solutions, we want to invite to think.
It’s not a cynical representation, the end of a romantic dream, rather it’s the end of a romantic illusion. It’s a realistic look, disillusioned, that face nowadays society and natural change, where nothing is fixed. A break that wants to represent a liberation, also from feminine stererotypes, looking for a different syle, more personal and free.
“Nothing is forever” communicates best our jewels because Simone makes them thinking about men and women who are unprejudiced, that is to say free of prejudices, about their look and life choices. Men and women that follow their intuition, their taste, and that look for harmony with their intimate, true, nature.
Studio of Simone Frabboni.
1. Saskia Van Es, “Material Stories: Alternative Materials. Something They Are Not”, 2021
2. J. Courtney Sullivan, “Why ‘A Diamond Is Forever’ has lasted so long”, 2014.
3. Sint Lucas Antwerpen jewelry school, “Precious dialogue”, Research project’s presentation on the web page.
About the author
Roberta Borghesi is a freelance researcher in social sciences and works with Simone Frabboni, contemporary jeweller, especially in communication. Simone Frabboni’s work is based on wood handcraft tradition, local and recycled wood essences and new ecological and technical materials like resins.
In her research, Roberta has a multidisciplinar approach, founded in communication sciences, human geography, sociology and anthropology.
She’s interested in ecological lifestyles, agro-ecology and local food networks, eco-design and traditional crafts. Between other works, she has published a collective book on food sovereignity movements in Italy. Now she’s working on two new books, one about communication for independent brands, artists and freelance workers and another one about wooden jewelry, together with Simone Frabboni.
You can find her on www.simonefrabboni.com, on her blog www.radure.net or on her professional page www.roberta.radure.net.
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