Isabelle Busnel interviews Juan Riusech, founder of Alliages

Interview  /  Gallerism   Curating
Published: 15.04.2016
Juan Riusech Juan Riusech
Isabelle Busnel
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I created Alliages in 2009 with 2 main goals, promote contemporary jewelry (and its artists) and educate people to this art. To achieve this, Alliages organizes exhibitions and other events to show confirmed artists as well as new talents.
Could you describe the LEGACY AWARD aims and goals?
The aims & goals of the award are the same as Alliages has in general : promote & educate. The award (and collection) is a new way to achieve these 2 goals.

How did you get the idea for this award and how long did it take to get to the current format?
It took about two years to plan the award and collection as a whole project.  On the first year, the idea of one award to promote the work of contemporary jewelers was there but I didn’t want to just run a new award and especially having in mind that with just one award, the second aim of Alliages was not there: educate people to contemporary jewelry. At the same time, I started a private collection knowing that I wanted to legate this collection to a museum. The idea of mixing both projects started smoothly in the second year, I just had to imagine how to achieve it and how to compensate the artists that transmit the jewels to the collection.

Who is involved and how does the selection work?
At the end of the open call, I do a selection of works between all applications sent, and this selection is presented during Joya Barcelona fair to a jury composed of professionals from the world of jewelery, fashion or art. This jury selects the award winner for the main award, the Jury Award. During the 3 day  fair, visitors vote for a jewel, giving a second prize, the Public Award, and Alliages also gives one (or several) prize(s), the “Alliages choice” award. All these awards have a different reward : money for the Jury Award, an exhibition for the Public Award, and a free spot in Alliages for the Alliages choice Award.

Sebastien Carré, The Alliages Legacy Award, Jury- and Public- award 2015, Necklace "Sickness united".

What was the general reaction to this project?
Of course, when a new project innovates, a few do not adhere, but the project was quite well accepted, the almost 200 applications prove it.

What are the benefits for an artist to apply for this award?
The works selected for the award are shown at Joya fair at Alliages stall, are shown and referenced in Alliages social networks and website and appear in a paper publication that will be distributed and sent to different galleries worldwide in order to promote their work. During the years following the selection and before the donation to a museum, the goal is to show the collection somewhere once a year.

Is it the only award of its kind?
If I take the full project (award-collection-museum), I think it is the only award of this kind indeed.

Contemporary jewellery suffers from its confidentiality. How can this award contribute to educating the general public?
The final goal is the donation of the collection to a museum, and if possible, a museum not specialized in jewelry. The public visiting to this museum will have the possibility to discover a new world, the contemporary jewellery.

Have you chosen where you want to show the collection in the future yet?
I hope to show the collection (or a part of it) at least once a year somewhere, and I will decide year after year, depending on the possibilities and contacts.

How will you assess whether this project is successful?
When one museum is interested in having and presenting the collection.

About the author

Isabelle Busnel
After a 15-year career in finance and banking, an urge to express herself in a different way led Isabelle to retrain academically.
She obtained my HND in jewellery in 2008 and her Research MA in 2010, both from the London Metropolitan University (Sir John Cass Department of Art, Media and Design). She is now sharing her time between creating original jewellery and writing a blog about Applied Arts and Contemporary Craft.
Isabelle is member of Dialogue Collective, a group of London-based jewellers and silversmiths, as well as a member and former treasurer of the Bristish Society of Enamelers. Also collaborates with La Garantie, a French contemporary jewellery association.

Website Isabelle Busnel