Interview with Anja Eichler

Interview  /  Artists
Published: 02.11.2012
Interview with Anja Eichler.
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Do you think that jewelry is being standardized?
This is an interesting one. The first thing that comes to my mind is: If jewelry is standardized, who standardizes it? The makers or the wearers?
Do you think that jewelry is being standardizing?
This is an interesting one. The first thing that comes to my mind is: If jewelry is standardized, who standardizes it? The makers or the wearers? For example, looking at the jewelry of successful business women in management such as banking, consulting, I see a ‘pearl and gold standard’. And of course a lot of makers direct their efforts to this market. Secondly, on which part of the world are we looking? Living in China, I perceive a ‘bling-bling-standard’: Everything is sparkling, no matter whether real or fake. In addition, I think the answer to the question depends on the type of jewelry. Are we, for example, looking at commercial jewelry which is, in my opinion, rather standardized, or at design jewelry or contemporary jewelry, just to name a few. For contemporary jewelry, I see broad ‘trends’, e.g. in that jewelry from the 60ies can be distinguished from those in the 80ies or from today. However, I would not call that a ‘standard’. 

What is there of local and universal in your artistic work?
Universal to my work is my interest in everyday objects and to experiment with materials. Living in Shanghai, my surroundings and the culture influence my work a lot. 

What do you expect when exposing your work to the public (for example with an exhibition)?
I don’t expect anything since I have the feeling that this would keep me from interacting with what will actually be happening. The only thing I hope for is an audience interested in my work, interacting with it and lots of questions.
And of course, I hope that some of the visitors have the courage to buy my jewelry and wear it. You know, I would want that much more contemporary jewelry can be seen not only in galleries, but on the bodies of people in their daily life. 

Are other areas besides the jewelry, present in your work?
At one point in my life ‘before jewelry’ I had been working with an anthropologist. She introduced me to their method of observing, which means paying attention not only to what is shown ‘openly’, but also to small, seemingly non-important things in everyday-life. Very often, these small, oblivious details tell way more about a society than the rest. This fascination with looking closely makes me perceive beauty in everyday-objects and situations that later on influence my work. Thus, when I walk or bicycle around Shanghai, I always take my camera with me.

The last work, book, film, that has moved me was...
Since I arrived in Shanghai, I very much enjoy documentaries about China and Chinese movies. Unfortunately, my Chinese is not yet good enough to watch them in their original language, so I can only watch those with English subtitles. ‘Last train home’, a documentary by Yung Chang and ‘Beijing Bicycle’ a movie by Wang Xiaoshuai are among the films that moved me most.

A place, space, country whose creativity surprises me...
I admire the creativity of people in China. The Chinese say about themselves that they are like water, which always finds a way to get where it needs to go. Looking at the traffic, for example, you will find creative solutions for using the slightest space for moving forward at every turn. Also, in other aspects of life there are creative solutions for almost everything. Most of the time, it is just about knowing the right people and – pop! – like using a magic wand – everything seems to be possible. 

Is there any designer, jeweller, artist, you appreciate a lot?
As always, there are many people that I appreciate, so I will name just a few. I love the works of Manfred Bischoff and Anselm Kiefer. In both I admire their poetic quality. As a writer, I love Herta Müller since she creates a new poetic language, something never heard before.

What piece or work has given you the most satisfaction?
‘Urbanauts’, the series of pieces I created last, is the most precious for me since it is about my new experiences in Shanghai. The other reason is the video ‘Oracular’ by Laura Guerra, that Françoise Vanderauwera, the gallerist of vander A gallery had produced in the context of my exhibition at her gallery. The work on this project together with all participants is an unforgettable memory for me. The video and some information about its participants can be found at!urbanautes---making-of