Crossing Paths with Contemporary Jewellery has given me the Chance to Return to the World of Art. Kazumi Nagano guest of the Florence Jewellery Week 2020

Interview  /  Artists   AliceRendon
Published: 10.03.2020
Kazumi Nagano Kazumi Nagano
Alice Rendon
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Kazumi Nagano. Brooch: Untitled, 2019. Left: Paper made of Pine thread, Nylon thread, Goldthread 18 kt, 950 Silver, Color with Japanese New Urushi; Right: Brooch, 2019, Bamboo Tape, Nylon thread, Goldthread 18ct, 950 Silver. 80 x 90 x 50; 80 x 80 x 40. Photo by: Ryota Sekiguchi. Kazumi Nagano
Brooch: Untitled, 2019
Left: Paper made of Pine thread, Nylon thread, Goldthread 18 kt, 950 Silver, Color with Japanese New Urushi; Right: Brooch, 2019, Bamboo Tape, Nylon thread, Goldthread 18ct, 950 Silver
80 x 90 x 50; 80 x 80 x 40
Photo by: Ryota Sekiguchi
© By the author. Read Copyright.

The Japanese artist Kazumi Nagano 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. Nagano’s masterpieces will be exhibited in the former refectory inside the Santa Maria Novella museum complex, together with other works by Giovanni Corvaja, Suk Chun Oh, Cóilín Ó Dubhghaill, Barbara Paganin, Sam Tho Duong and alongside the Karl & Heidi Bollman Collection.
Alice Rendon had the pleasure of asking Kazumi about her work:

Your jewels radiate refinement and passionate devotion, aspects that characterize good craftsmanship and which immediately reflect your culture of origin. You work not only with gold and silver, but also with a fragile and fascinating material such as paper. Do you want to talk about the creative process that allows you to achieve these results?
I believe that crossing paths with contemporary jewellery has given me the chance to return to the world of art. As this world is a completely different one from the one that I had previously known, it drew me in completely. I believe contemporary jewellery is art that one can wear. The aesthetics and the thought processes of the maker and the wearer entwine as one, and an intriguing synergy gives birth to a new aesthetic. Although it was a chance meeting, my discovery of contemporary jewellery helped me to find a mode of expression that was more free and unrestrictive than the world of art that I had become accustomed to.

Kazumi Nagano, Brooches, 2019-2020, Paper made of Pine thread, Nylon thread, Goldthread 18 kt, 950 Silver, Photo: Mr.Ryota Sekiguchi

Kazumi Nagano, Left : Brooch, 2017-2020, Linen paper thread, Nylon thread, Goldthread 18ct, 950 Silver, Colored with Sumi, 85 x 95 x 50. Right: Brooch, 2017, Linen paper thread, Nylon thread, Goldthread 18ct, 950 Silver, Colored with SUMI, 80 x 90 x 50. Photo: Ryota Sekiguchi

I had studied Japanese painting, or Nihonga, during my days at university. The colours of Japanese painting I found to be more suited to my sensibilities, and although I had previously painted with oils, I had switched to Japanese painting.

Even when creating jewellery, I try and cherish this sensibility. When creating, the process is similar to when I paint. With a loom, I take a thread of Japanese paper and weave it within a canvas sheet. By weaving, I not only add durability but expression to the canvas. With this reinforced canvas, I begin to place onto it black charcoal ink and other pigments. At times, to enhance the soft whiteness of the Japanese paper, I refrain from placing colour upon it. Up to this point, the work is no different to a work that I would make in Japanese painting. Yet, to imagine how I can make this single canvas into something wearable is where the difficulty lies.

Kazumi Nagano, Left: Brooch, 2019-2020, Goldthread 18ct, Gold plate 14ct, Nylon thread, 55 x 65 x 25. Right: Brooch, 2019-2020, Goldthread 18ct, Platinum 900 thread, Nylon thread, Pin- 950 Silver, 60 x 45 x 75. Photo: Ryota Sekiguchi

After many bouts of trial and error, by drawing inspiration from the traditions of Japan and its origami folding, I discovered that I could fold, bend, and twist the canvas into new forms found serendipitously. By using nylon thread as the warp, the resilience of the nylon will lead to the creation of forms that cannot be repeated. Yet this is an aspect that I must admit I enjoy. Even in my gold and platinum works, the same cognitive and creative processes occur during creation. Contemporary jewellery had evolved from such countries as the Netherlands and Germany. Although I may be able to learn their ways of approaching jewellery, it would be difficult for me to understand what lies within their sensibilities.

For me, it is when Western thinking blends with the Japanese sensibility that a soft serenity is borne, and it is my wish to try to imbue my works with this aesthetic. I only hope that I will be able to grow a step closer to this ideal.

Kazumi Nagano, Bracelet, 2020, Goldthread 18ct, Gold plate 14ct, Platinum thread, Nylon thread, 70 x 65 x 53. Photo: Ryota Sekiguchi

About the Interviewee

Kazumi Nagano graduated at the Tama University of Art, Tokyo, obtaining both a BA and an MA in art. Her jewellery career began in 1996 after having studied under Minato Nakamura. In 2002, she was awarded fine works prize in the Japan Art Jewellery Competition, Tokyo. Nagano is known for her wondrous jewellery work, delicate creations of thin gold wire and woven paper. With a background in Japanese-style painting and traditional Japanese weaving techniques, Nagano has work in the permanent collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and the Alice and Louis Koch Rings Collection, Switzerland. She has taken part in numerous exhibitions and craft shows internationally, among which SOFA in Chicago and New York, Collect at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London as well as several craft competitions. Her work was selected an impressive number of time in Schmuck 2005, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016 at the Internationale Handwerksmesse in Munich.

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."