In my Notebooks the Sign was Born as Graphic Elaboration of a Noise, a Sound, a Word. Carla Riccoboni Guest of the Florence Jewellery Week 2020

Interview  /  Artists   AliceRendon
Published: 09.04.2020
Carla Riccoboni Carla Riccoboni
Alice Rendon
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Carla Riccoboni. Set: Untitled, 2020. Silver 925 with heat white lacquering. ø 5 cm. Photo by: Alessandro Molinari. From series: Tavolette  Madreforme series. Earrings and brooches. Carla Riccoboni
Set: Untitled, 2020
Silver 925 with heat white lacquering
ø 5 cm
Photo by: Alessandro Molinari
From series: Tavolette Madreforme series
Earrings and brooches
© By the author. Read Copyright.

The Italian jewellery designer Carla Riccoboni will be one of the main guests of the Florence Jewellery Week 2020, a cultural event organized by Le Arti Orafe Jewellery School and completely devoted to contemporary body decoration. It will take place from 28th May to 4th June, located around the city, in historic buildings and art galleries. Particularly, Riccoboni’s jewels will be displayed in a solo exhibition in the Cartavetra Gallery in Via Maggio.
Alice Rendon had the pleasure of asking Carla about her work.

You are a goldsmith and a designer, an historical self-producer of small series jewellery since the 80s. Your mark is the sequence of the same module, repeated in order to form chains. In the “Alphabet” series you used single elements as they were letters, studying the linguistic value of the image in an interdisciplinary vision. Do you think that art jewellery could be considered as a potential and alternative form of communication? 
Yes, without a doubt, in my opinion. I hope to communicate an emotion through jewellery and then the interest for a story. A friend of mine who lives on the Asiago plateau brought me a strange object of quadrangular stone form, found in an isolated place in the mountains by his father. The smooth shape adhered perfectly to the palm of the hand and the slightly curved tips found a perfect match with the base of the fingers. The object was very simple, very beautiful, very unusual. I was pleased to hold it. It excited me… I then discovered that it was an object dating back more than 3000 years ago, a feminine, stylized form, probably ritual. A square, an object, a sign, which has projected me into a remote and mysterious story…

In my notebooks the sign was born as graphic elaboration of a noise, a sound, a word: a kind of automatic writing that, without intention or project, has gradually generated more interesting, more “dense” images. Later, it came ROTOLO, a work of visual poetry that documents the stages of my creative process, my daily emotions, the amazement in discovering “beauty” in every aspect of reality.

Carla Riccoboni, work of visual poetry, Rotolo, 1979, ink drawing on acetate, 30 x 100 cm.

Carla Riccoboni, Necklace, Rotolo Series, 2011, black silver 800 with galvanic treatment, 2,2 x 110 cm. Photo by Sergio Maraboli.

The ‘sign-module’ of the Alphabet chains, on the other hand, is a geometric element that defines a system of chains. Changing the shape of the module the shape of the chain changes too. The modules, thanks to a central cut, can be coupled in pairs without welding. Their different shapes, named with the letters of the Greek alphabet, allow to build homogeneous or inhomogeneous chain sequences with the richness and variety of alphabetical combinations. It is a study on multiplicity, on the various possibilities of the same shape. An imaginary, open, practically infinite alphabet that does not want to convey a linguistic message, but only the beauty that comes from the combinatorial possibility of a few elements, a process that takes place in many aspects of nature.

Carla Riccoboni, Necklace, Ellisse Alphabet series, 1994, black silver 800 with galvanic treatment, 2,2 x 110 cm. Photo by Paolo Buffa.

In the latest Madreforme series, the sign is charged with collective memory. Memory of a territory: the goldsmith district of Vicenza; memory of an obsolete technique: the industrial printed matter; memory of a repertoire of shapes patiently engraved by hand in the “creators” (the basic equipment for making the molds). They are symbols, archetypes, religious motifs, natural forms, animals, etc., which until the last century were very popular and understandable, because linked to important events, to the stages of the life cycle.

Carla Riccoboni, 8 pieces mechanical equipment, Madreforme series​, tempered iron.

Carla Riccoboni, Double Brooch, Cornici-soli Madreforme series, gold 750, 5 x 6 x 0,5 cm. Photo by Sergio Maraboli.

These symbolic meanings within a century are being lost. I reproduced them as imprints, manually printed on thin plates of precious metal. I have imprinted flowers, hearts and many other shapes in a free and asystematic way as textures, as surfaces characterization, which maintain or confuse the traces of history. A new material for contemporary jewellery, which “physically” contains the memories of the past. A material that I use as opposed to the artificial materials of our era, such as in the Double brooches. A desire to transmit, through beauty, memory and humanity, especially in this time of coronavirus.

About the Interviewee

Carla Riccoboni approaches goldsmith's art through graphics and design. Pioneer of the self-produced jewel, from 1987 to 2018 she has directly commercialize her collections in Europa and other world countries, reaching international recognition in the 90s with her ALPHABET chain collection. The models of Carla Riccoboni, made of gold and silver and sometimes in other materials (plexiglass, titanium, paper, etc.) are jewellery pieces whose design is guided, rather than limited, by the technical constraints of the production processes. In 2013, Alba Cappelleri, Jewellery Design Professor at the Politecnico in Milan and director of the Jewellery Museum in Vicenza, selected her as one of the “masters” of Italian contemporary jewellery, presenting her work in important exhibitions both in Italy and abroad. Always interested in the topic of seriality, Carla Riccoboni has coordinated for AGC (Contemporary Jewellery Association) from 2011 to 2016 the research GIOIELLI COME MULTIPLI, published in 2019 in the book MULTIPLI SINGOLARI ed. Design Experience. Carla Riccoboni lives and works in Bassano del Grappa. 

About the author

Alice Rendon was born in 1991 in Varese, Lombardy, Italy. She graduated in art history at the University of Florence with a thesis about jewels by Italian artists of the 20th century. Now she is teaching history of contemporary jewellery at Le Arti Orafe Jewellery School in Florence and she is writing for Preziosa Blog, a web platform dedicated to the universe of contemporary jewellery."