I Observe Materialistic Consumer Society, Ask Questions and Engage in Reflections about Wordly Phenomenon. Interview with Ruhong Chen by Klimt02

Published: 30.10.2020
Ruhong Chen Ruhong Chen
Edited by:
Edited at:
Edited on:
Ruhong Chen. Brooch: Brooch I, 2019. Charcoal powder, 18k fair trade gold (inner brooch).. 5.5 x 1.5 x 5.3 cm. From series: The Only Permanence is Impermanence. Ruhong Chen
Brooch: Brooch I, 2019
Charcoal powder, 18k fair trade gold (inner brooch).
5.5 x 1.5 x 5.3 cm
From series: The Only Permanence is Impermanence
© By the author. Read Copyright.

I sometimes attend different occasions to see the people there, what they do, how they behave, and what they say, or even what they are suffering from. This may not bring me inspirations, but it somehow enriches my cognition of society from different perspectives, and this is important for me, especially when my subject discusses perceptions of life or even metaphysics.
Tell us about your background. What first influenced you to be creative and become an artist, and what has drawn you to contemporary jewelry?
My childhood experiences somehow built foundations for the art field and some qualities that pushed me further. I was born in a coastal region in Fujian and soon become a left-behind child when my parent went abroad when I was three. I spent my childhood with a grandparent and often spent my leisure time “taking adventures” in the vast grasslands behind my house. To me, the grassland was mysterious and scary, but it was also full of liveliness with various types of plants and insects, like butterflies and ladybirds. This lonely period of my childhood with nature formed my independent and curious personality, as well as my sensitivity to nature. I grew up to become a person who observes materialistic consumer society, asks questions outside the box, and constantly engages in philosophical reflections about the worldly phenomenon.

Contemporary jewelry can reach beyond commercialization and the scope of the body, It can be naughty or serious. Sometimes, it asks people questions. Sometimes, it just stays silent, letting conflictions or narratives flow in the space between itself and the viewer (or wearer). In the field of contemporary jewelry, the materials, story, sentiment, and mode of expression come together to form wearable art. The inclusiveness and power of expression of contemporary jewelry fascinate me very much.

However, to me, jewelry is not something for which you always stick to your plan during creation. Its creative process is loaded with critical thinking, and I believe that effective artists have always confronted challenges to tackle tasks and find methods of expression with wit. Artists who start projects with a sparkle of concept often go through a process of cultural exploration to deepen the ideological connotations of their works. Always staying sincere to the core value of one’s creation is also important during the development process. Therefore, creating contemporary jewelry isn’t easy, but at the same time, it’s fascinating and meaningful and makes me want to keep working on it.

How important is networking for you in your professional practice and what are your preferred tools for this?
I think many artists enjoy solitude very much and can enjoy long periods of solitude. In this way, we can always find pleasure or occasionally new inspirations and creative directions. In my opinion, social contact can be either important or unimportant, it depends on the individual’s choice. Everyone has their own way of life. Personally, I sometimes attend different occasions to see the people there, what they do, how they behave, and what they say, or even what they are suffering from. Social contact gives me cross-field information and a comprehensive sense of what is happening in our society and to our world. This may not bring me inspirations, but it somehow enriches my cognition of society from different perspectives, and this is important for me, especially when my subject discusses perceptions of life or even metaphysics.

I always feel lucky to meet people who are encouraging and kind, including my teachers and friends. Their enthusiasm for life and persistence in the art/design field has often encouraged and inspired me. Meanwhile, I enjoy sharing contemporary jewelry with friends from different fields and backgrounds and listening to their opinions and feelings. This kind of communication has been fun and important to me. During the communication, I find that everyone is curious and thoughtful. The viewer’s participation in reflecting on themselves makes my work more powerful and complete. At the same time, viewers actually own my work in some forms.

What are your general thoughts on the contemporary jewellery world, (education, market, development...), where do you see chances and where are dead ends?
Concerning public cognitions of and attitudes toward contemporary jewelry, we can always find contemporary jewelry galleries in the cities in Europe. Some viewers may already know about contemporary jewelry, and some might be surprised by its originality and the idea behind it. In the future, new galleries will open in other countries, allowing more people to see the infinite possibilities of jewelry and build initial perceptions of it. From a commercial point of view, commercial jewelry will also benefit from the popularisation of contemporary jewelry, and its creative space can be expanded accordingly. We can also see the government’s increasing focus on contemporary jewelry through relevant project support. Therefore, I hope more and more people can get in touch with contemporary jewelry in the near future and find inspiration and joy.

In addition, with the rise of online education, I think the contemporary jewelry field can make use of some education platforms or live apps for online exhibitions and interactions, forming a “gallery in the air”. Even people who live in remote areas can easily access to contemporary jewelry as long as they have cell phones. Thus, arts education can be more equitable and inclusive, especially for children. I think it is good for children to perceive the creative world of art. With the development of digital visual technology, I think the present exhibition mode of contemporary jewelry has the opportunity to make a breakthrough, whether it involves virtual reality, immersive art spaces, or different kinds of digital interactions.

How has your work changed over the past few years, and what are you excited about these days?
When I start a new project, I never give myself any psychological tag whether from a spiritual or cultural aspect. I like to let the core concept begin a journey of exploration, letting everything settle down with concentration and nature. My personal preferences and ways of working gradually arise as I work through each project. However, when I think about my previous projects, I realize I have experimented with many different materials and research concepts. Concerning material use, I am becoming increasingly keen on using natural materials, developing my own sensitivities toward their use and unveiling unknown creation methods. I enjoy exploring and turning the insignificance of nature into jewelry, they undergo a transformative process, reincarnated to have a second life. In terms of concept exploration, my work touches on emotional attachment, consumer society, the essence of memories, and the philosophical concept of impermanence. Impermanence or the notion of ephemeral actually runs through the deep meaning of every creation. Through making jewelry as a language of expression to the external world, I hope my work can inspire people to re-exam the nature of things and realize harmony and serenity of mind.