Integrations, Legnica Jewelry Festival Silver. Interview with Alberto Dávila by Anna Wójcik

Interview  /  Artists   AnnaWójcik   BehindTheScenes
Published: 24.06.2022
Alberto Dávila Alberto Dávila
Anna Wójcik
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Alberto Dávila. Object: Silence, 2020. Amber, photosensitive black resin.. Alberto Dávila
Object: Silence, 2020
Amber, photosensitive black resin.
© By the author. Read Copyright.

Integrations is my first solo exhibition; It brings together four representative series of objects that I have worked on over the last eight years, and each one of these series represents a moment for personal review in my career.

Alberto Dávila’s solo exhibition Integration is organized as a part of the Legnica Jewellery Festival SILVER in the Gallery of Art in Legnica.
How does the jewelry creators community look like in Mexico? Are there any collectivities, formations or institutions which unite artists by organizing events and promoting contemporary jewellery?
In Mexico there are many people interested in jewelry, but from very different perspectives. The enormous goldsmith tradition provides a context where making jewelry is relatively simple, however, when you want to inquire about contemporary jewelry, it is not easy to find training resources or information at all.

I think this is one of the reasons why in recent years some artists have organized collectives in different cities around the country; So you can have horizontal study groups or colleagues with whom you can discuss, get feedback about your work, and organize events where the discipline can be spread. I believe that the formation of these groups is basic to illustrate a general panorama of Mexican Contemporary Jewelry.
Personally, I am a member of Sin Titulo Collective; We have been working together for twelve years and as a current project we are launching a podcast in Spanish with which we intend to share our jewelry perspective as Mexicans, support whoever we can, and continue building community, now with any Spanish-speaker. (you can find it on Spotify as "SIN TÍTULO JOYERÍA”)

Does the cultural background have an impact on the themes and inspirations in your art?
For me, the cultural background is basic, although not as "inspiration", but as "consideration". In other words, I approach it as a tool, not as a creative concept.
Considering and analyzing my cultural baggage helps me to integrate two fundamental notions into my pieces: my context and my circumstances. I think that knowing that I am Mexican, for example, is important for those who face my work; It changes things. It matches situations.
I am not inspired by my culture, but I act from it. I assume myself and from that I develop my pieces.
Alberto Dávila: Untitled, ring, 2018. Silver, amethyst.

Would you like to say a few words about each of your jewelry collections presented at the exhibition “Integrations”?
Integrations is my first solo exhibition; It brings together four representative series of objects that I have worked on over the last eight years, and each one of these series represents a moment for personal review in my career.
I started with the rings series. My interest in developing it was mostly in an aesthetic and productive way. I did concentrate on proposing basic ring shapes, and through simple modifications in their parts, dimensions and proportions, I intended to produce recognizable objects hard to categorize. This with the intention of gradually moving away from the paradigmatic image of Mexican jewelry.
The pieces made with Mexican coins is a series where I adopt a very political position regarding the subject, and a very classic approach regarding the technique. My intention was to restore cultural and intellectual value to objects that have been stripped of their value, and thereby, point out economical situations that millennials in Mexico face every day.
Alberto Dávila: Stackable nuevos pesos, rings, 2019. Mexican coin, white topaz.

With the series of knot fence pieces,  I explore very personal facets in my life; and despite the fact that these pieces are totally figurative in construction, I consider them very abstract. Fundamentally, the fence fragments are pieces of my history. With this series, I did try to integrate my subjective personality into my pieces, in recognition that this part of me also exists.

Finally, with the amber pieces, my intention was to take a traditional material in Mexican jewelry and look for “non-traditional” strategies or processes to intervene with it. Amber is always the central subject of material exploration, although the intention of the piece is always different.
In 2019 and 2022 your jewellery was awarded at the Amberif Design Award International Amber Jewellery Design Competition. Why did you decide to include amber in your projects? Is it a popular material among jewellery designers in Mexico?
In southeastern Mexico, amber is a very popular material used to make traditional jewelry. Personally, working with amber is always an exercise of identity exploration, where the materiality of the piece is as important as its implicit content. So, I decided to use it because for me it would be a challenge; It is very complex to work with a material full of so much cultural content and try to introduce it in contexts where its appreciation is weighted through other categories of value. That makes the exploration interesting to me.
Alberto Dávila: Now, it is an old attachment, mouthpiece / object, 2016. Amber. Photo by: Alberto Dávila Quesada
Awarded at: Amberif Design Award 2019.

 Alberto Dávila: Still here, bracelet, 2022. Silver, amber.

When did you come across amber for the first time? What impression did it make on you?
My first reaction when I was confronted with amber was respect. From a very young age, minerals and gems have had a radical importance in my life. I have always been attracted to these materials and I remember that when I met amber, the first impression it left on me was that it looked like solid honey; I felt that such a material, which required so much to exist, must contain something sacred within itself. I was impressed by its beauty and I was impressed by its “silence”.

Thank you for the interview and your extensive answers.
Thanks to you and all the people involved. Also, thanks to the Klimt02 website for sharing this interview.

About the Interviewee

Alberto Dávila (born in Mexico in 1987) studied Industrial Design at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. In 2009 he entered the CIDI jewelry workshop, where he perceived jewellery as a specific branch of design in which he could later develop his career.
In 2010 he participated as a founding member of Colectivo Sin Titulo where he developed various projects with the intention of nurturing the discipline in Mexico while discussing interests and personal questions that he would later explore in his work such as the connection between the jewel and the body, the inherent relationship between the body and its ambience, and the communicative power of jewels as a particular object, and undoubtedly as an emblem.
In 2015 he received the FONCA "Young Creators" scholarship and in 2019 received the 1st Prize in the Amberif Design Award (organized by Miedzynarodowe Targi Gdanskie), and the Amber Prize in the 2022 edition.
His solo exhibition “Integrations” is currently presented at the Legnica Jewellery Festival SILVER.

About the author

Anna Wójcik - coordinator of the Legnica Jewellery Festival SILVER. She works in the Gallery of Art in Legnica (Poland) since 2018. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in the history of art from the University of Silesia in Katowice (Poland). She's a member of the International Amber Association, and a member of the editorial team of the Amber Magazine.