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Jewellery is Not Simply an Object to Be Seen. Interview with Géraldine Luttenbacher by Klimt02

Interview
Published: 02.02.2021
Géraldine Luttenbacher Géraldine Luttenbacher
Author:
Klimt02
Edited by:
Klimt02
Edited at:
Barcelona
Edited on:
2021
Géraldine Luttenbacher. Ring: Kiwi, 2004. Silver, enamel.. 4.5 x 3.5 x 2.8 cm. Photo by: Géraldine Luttenbacher. From series: Jardin Extraordinaire. Géraldine Luttenbacher
Ring: Kiwi, 2004
Silver, enamel.
4.5 x 3.5 x 2.8 cm
Photo by: Géraldine Luttenbacher
From series: Jardin Extraordinaire
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.

Intro
Contemporary jewelry isn't truly recognized, not in the marketplace nor artistic education. There are either frivolities, accessories of little value, or traditional gold jewelry. The development comes from education, so it's necessary to bring contemporary jewelry into the art schools and for them to engage in producing and showing their work.
Tell us about your background. What were your first influences to be creative and become an artist and what has drawn you to contemporary jewelry?
I grew up in the country as an only child, so I quickly developed my own personal universe. The first part of my studies was visual arts and art history, particularly from the late-nineteenth century to the modern period. My preferred period is Art Nouveau through to the Dadaists; the celebration of nature and the new technologies of the time, the democratization of art, systems of production, the philosophy of the Bauhaus school. Then my discovery of gemmology led me towards a diploma in classic jewelry.

On completing my diploma I worked at the workshops of the global jewelry houses (Van Cleef and Arpels, Boucheron, Dior joallerie...) for seven years, at which point through my employer I trained as a specialist designer with the Chambre Syndicale de la Bijouterie Joallerie. During this training, I had some exceptional teachers who revealed to me myself and my expression of my universe. 

Among these teachers, Jean-Jacques Victor and Franck Massé invited me in 1992 to participate in the creation of AFEDAP, a training center for graphic arts and jewelry to create more open teaching of contemporary jewelry. I participated for the first three years, after which I concentrated full time on my work.

From 1992, I used the world of my childhood, surrounded by nature, construction, and fabrication techniques of classic jewelry, all passed through the filter of my vision. Jewelry to me is not simply an object to be seen. The visible and invisible co-exist. In my work, there is a part to be seen, and a part that can be revealed differently. Always one part hidden, each piece existing outwith the body of the wearer. Like every story of substance: light and dark, density, balance or imbalance, axes, directions, contrasts, or materials, jewelry poses the same questions and additionally the constraints of the body.

In 1993, I participated in the triennial of modern jewelry at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, and my course was set.


How important is networking for you in your professional practice and what are your preferred tools for this?
Social media are core tools of communication, I recognize their importance but I don't use them much. I would like to use them more but in a reasoned and professional fashion. These days we can't ignore their widespread usage, but as with any system, we must not become a slave to them.

I prefer my connection with the world in which I move and live. I travel, I host students at my workshop, where there are four spaces for invitees and trainees.


Brooch by Géraldine Luttenbacher. Bamboo Mirrors, 2013. Bamboo, fitted on a copper base gilded with white gold leaf, the mirrors are set and slotted in the bamboo. 9 x 8 x 1.8 cm. From series: Bamboo.


What are your general thoughts on the contemporary jewelry world, (education, market, development...), where do you see chances, and where are dead ends?
In France, contemporary jewelry isn't truly recognized, not in the marketplace nor artistic education. Only in Paris exist a Musée, galleries, and events concerning contemporary jewelry. It's cultural, there are either frivolities, accessories of little value, or traditional gold jewelry, relating to a ritual or social nature: wedding, solitaire, or engagement rings, etc. 

The Fine Arts doesn't recognize contemporary jewelry as art. Happily, this has only been the case in France, and things have evolved since I started in 1991. Other countries in Europe and the world are not so pre-judgemental, and thankfully we also have digital tools, the internet, and foreign magazine publications.

The development comes from education, so it's necessary to bring contemporary jewelry into the art schools and for them to engage in producing and showing their work in the places that typically have not been so welcoming to this type of work, to bring it to the public.


Thinking about your career, what role do technology and the digital play in your artistic development & communication?
Technology and tech innovations are interesting and I use them but for very specific purposes. For example, I created 3D texts for engraving on a piece in 2015. They are tools, their use in communication is effective where perhaps they bring together entities that are administered by groups such as Klimt02. 

On an individual level, I don't think they are so effective, especially where someone spends all their time tending to these networks that require constant attention.


How has your work changed over the past few years and what are you excited about these days?
I currently live and work near to Sête, in the South of France. For a long time, my work has been orientated towards the use of vegetal/organic materials, and I have pursued my explorations of vibration, oscillation, and sound.

My work has evolved with regards to the finish of my pieces, I think of it as a skin, an envelope, so it must have a coherence between the form, materials, colours, and choice of this finish.
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