Gioielli in Fermento: interview with the project curator Eliana Negroni

Interview  /  BehindTheScenes   Curating
Published: 07.07.2014
Gioielli in Fermento: interview with the project curator Eliana Negroni.
Micol D'Andrea
Edited by:
HJ High Jewellery Magazine
Edited at:

Eliana Negroni, curator of the "Gioielli in Fermento" international competition, does an overview of the project that combines jewellery and wine, the theme of the competition renewed every year in concept related to this world. Interviewed by Micol D'Andrea, the curator explains the process of evaluation, the aim of the project and does an global view of the proposed projects in 2014.
Eliana Negroni is the curator of the "Gioielli in Fermento" international competition, where the aim is to create and exhibit jewellery following a given theme. The exhibition is an interesting example of how jewellery, and in particular contemporary jewellery can play around with themes that are very different to classic and traditional ones. The basic theme of this project is wine and it is interpreted and analysed by the stylistic language of jewellery in each successive edition.

Eliana is at Torre Formello at the moment, when we phone her we can almost smell the perfume of the beautiful Piacenza hills, the terroir with a term borrowed from oenology.

HJ: Eliana, there are now only a few days before the inauguration on 4th May at Torre Fornello. Can we take a few steps backwards and ask: how did this project start?
EN: Two passions, jewellery and wine: this project is a result of the desire to bring two worlds, not really so far apart, especially in the approach of those who work in these fields and dedicate to them their efforts, passions, and lives, together. For professional reasons I am very close to the contemporary jeweller's and jewellery designer's universe, and for a passion that has also become a new life I have deepened my knowledge of the world of wine as an AIS sommelier but above all as a winelover, and I follow with great interest winemakers' work, especially concerning the development of the viticulture area where I have moved to, the Piacenza hills. Favourable meetings and collaborative activities, here at Torre Fornello and abroad with our colleagues at Joya and Klimt02 in Barcelona, have allowed me to continue with this idea and consolidate the project year after year.

HJ: What are the aims of this project? What are the special features of "Gioelli in Ferrmento" when compared to other events?
EN: "Gioielli in Fermento" has a cross-over character with which it aims to bring the expressive forms of experimental jewellery to the attention of the public. It does this by making use of a channel of emotional communication and linking it to the way in which we appreciate a good wine: it is a sensorial and emotional discovery in a very welcoming context where the value attributed to aspects of the territory and cultural elements the artists have found themselves in emerge and involve the observer with the same intensity.

Some of the artists have taken part in various editions of our international competition, others are participating for the first time. Every one of them has done their personal research within the context of the theme, finding harmony in many expressive elements, gathering their personal interpretive codes around something shared, something I would like at some point to become the identity of Mediterranean adornament, an increasingly defined cultural reference point aided by the territorial context which has given rise to "Gioielli in Fermento".

Hj: As the curator of the project you have chosen a fascinating theme with an evocative title: Wear intensity/The colours of wine. What kind of research did you want to instigate in the artists?
EN: In the infinite expressions of contemporary jewellery, where the author experiments with materials and techniques to serve personal modes of expression, one of the strongest signals is frequently transmitted by colour. A message transmitted directly between the wearer and the observer of a piece, something that comes before form and movement, the primary perception, as the theories of colour make clear. Almost like a new precious element, especially in the most recent tendencies, the study of colour the artists propose in their pieces is a significant element with great impact and attractiveness.

I was interested in encouraging the artists to explore the aspects of emotional harmony in their work, of how and what they intend to communicate by making their work to be worn, evoking a comparison to the shades of wine, tones that contain promise and deception and involve whoever takes a taste. In the same way people are attracted by a piece that intercepts a specific emotional state, a mood, an inclination, an affinity on first sight, in the same way as the visitors to the exhibition might be... or at "first sip" of wine from the goblet.

HJ: Can you give us an overall description of the projects proposed for this edition?
EN: The selected works, from 50 artists, that is about half of the candidates, constitute an overall vision of the ornament and we may suggest to look at them gathered into four areas where there is a stronger accent on research: concept, material, expression, and technique. These are not mutually exclusive definitions, each piece often carries a strong expressive message with it, accompanied by great quality in their creation, juxtaposing goldsmith techniques and unusual materials (silver and polymers or wood, bread and mirror, porcelain, resin, silk, gold, enamels, moss).

Frequently the tones are not simply borrowed, but it is the wine itself that is contained, kept safe, experienced. This is the case for example with Silvia Beccaria's "Bijou à boire", a collar to wear and taste, or Alexandra Kusch's pendant and ampoule dedicated to the "Vino che amava" the wine her man loved. Symbolic tracks seem to have been intercepted in an opal that looks alive ("Trape" which means plonk in the Friuli dialect, made by the Spivach brothers) or in Alina Carp's resin ring, "Chemistry". Strong messages and dialogues between shine and darkness in Nicoletta Frigerio's (winner of the 2013 edition) "Mediterraneo attraverso" and Corrado De Meo's "La buona terra", while the brooches of Viktoria Münzker (winner of the 2013 edition) and Lucilla Giovanninetti are absolute colour... but I'm doing the other candidates an injustice by not mentioning them all...

HJ: What are the jury's criteria for evaluation?
EN: First of all the overall balance of a piece: the essential requisite of wearability (which cannot always be taken for granted in contemporary jewellery where experimental aspects can take precedence over conventional ones and therefore become even more appreciable when they do respect the function of being worn). Both in the stage of selection and for the assignment of the final places, an attentive evaluation of a formal and material type is applied, because both determine the quality of a piece: to be a jewel, an ornament for the body, which can be a sculpture, work of art, project or object perfected for being worn, shown, and observed. This year especially the pieces express strength, poetry, and emotion on first glance through their colouration.

English text by Sally McCorry

HJ High Jewellery Online Magazine

>> Read the interview in italian

Other venues:
July 10-22 at Rocca Sforzesca, Dozza (Bologna) with the kind collaboration of the institution Enoteca Regionale Emilia Romagna. Opening July 22th at 6pm.
August 5-16 at Galleria Il Rivellino, Locarno (Switzerland)
Opening August 5th at 6pm.
Eliana Negroni, curator of the "Gioielli in Fermento"
. Photograph by Silvia Valenti Immagini
. .
Eliana Negroni, curator of the "Gioielli in Fermento"
Photograph by Silvia Valenti Immagini

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