Israel Biennale of Contemporary Jewelry. An Interview with Ariel Lavian

Interview  /  NichkaMarobin   ArielLavian   Curating   Exhibiting
Published: 28.10.2022
Ariel Lavian Ariel Lavian
Nichka Marobin
Edited by:
Edited at:
Edited on:
Ariel Lavian. Brooch: Scorched Earth, 2022. Copper, stainless steel.. 1.3 x 9.8 x 9.9 cm. Photo by: Ariel Lavian. Ariel Lavian
Brooch: Scorched Earth, 2022
Copper, stainless steel.
1.3 x 9.8 x 9.9 cm
Photo by: Ariel Lavian
© By the author. Read Copyright.

The first edition of the Israel Biennale of Contemporary Jewelry will open its doors to the public next week on November 10th 2022 at The Geological Museum in Ramat Hasharon. With one hundred and eighty-seven applications, the group of the twenty-seven selected artists and students will be on show at the museum together with a program of lectures and seminars.
Ariel Lavian, curator, founder, and director of the Biennale shares with us his thoughts and reflections about this important event dedicated entirely to contemporary jewelry with a specific theme on color since, as the founder explains in his text, this is the right time to add colors and joy to our lives after a period of blackness  [1] due to the pandemic.
Ariel, you are the curator, founder, and director of the first ISRAEL BIENNALE OF CONTEMPORARY JEWELRY: can you tell us when you started thinking about the project? What is the "story" behind this articulated project, and how did you build it up?
The project started to form in my head (in one form or another) about two years ago. But it began to take shape a few months ago. I work best when I'm under pressure, and in the middle of the preparations for the last exhibition I curated, The Truth Mine and yours I decided to jump into the deep water and started moving things in the right direction. To my delight, from the first days when the Biennale was still an intangible idea, I received much support from many in our field; I will take this opportunity to thank everyone who supported the Biennale and me; I appreciate you very much.
I have a clear view of how I want our field to look in the future, and I worked according to these principles and did the same while building the Biennale. Every choice along the way was made after a lot of thought.

The central theme of this first edition is color, declined in a specific theme that you entitled "Colorful Recovery": what inspired the theme? What is your own "Colorful Recovery"?
I don't think there is even one soul in the world who hasn't been affected in one way or another by covid. You see it everywhere and in every aspect of life. We, as a society that wants to live in peace, must give remedy to our wounded souls. And what better to revive the soul than color?
My personal recovery is through my time at the studio and through my creation, which, as you know, includes a lot of colors.

For its first edition, the Israel Biennale of contemporary jewelry received several applications among the two categories of Artists and Students: can you tell us which selection criteria you privilege and follow as curator and founder of the event? What are the requirements for a work of art according to your role as an artist and curator? What makes a work of art a real "work of art"?
As far as the Biennale is concerned, part of the instruction I gave to the judges is to first judge by the technical quality of the work, i.e., a piece of jewelry that is technically not good; there is no point in going over the other criteria. This is an initial red line for the entire judging process.
I don't think I can decide what is considered art; I'm sure you can give a much more informed answer than me. But it is important to remember that the concept and the contemporaneity are only part of the equation. The other part is that we create jewelry, first and foremost, with everything that implies.

Your position encloses multiple roles for this Biennale since you are the curator, founder, and director of the entire event: can you tell us something about the organization of the event? How does the program of the Israel Biennale articulate for this edition?
I wish it were just that; I have many more roles at this Biennale that are less glamorous. Although the Biennale is very short in the current edition, it is essential for me that people who come to see it can experience several aspects that our field has to offer. Besides two exhibition spaces, I will also hold a conversation with some of the artists at the museum, where I will expand on the mindset of the Biennale, why I designed the space this way, etc., and more importantly, hear from the artists themselves about the jewelry they present, a little about the process of making, the concept and much more. We will also hold a seminar that will include several lectures on the theme color in jewelry. (More details can be found on our website or our Instagram account). In addition, we will conduct guided tours.

Year after year, many events worldwide are dedicated to contemporary jewelry: Triennials, biennials, Awards, and several "Jewelry weeks" are blooming worldwide, widening the gaze of contemporary arts also to jewelry. According to you, what are the prerequisites for a good quality event?
- Very high quality of the works presented. As you said, there are a lot of events, but sometimes I feel a little disappointed when I arrive at an event or a jewelry week; I think the Quality, both technical and conceptual, of the jewelry should be, sorry, must be very high.
- Precise curation.
- Space design. Although jewelry is the center of the event, the curation, the choice of which jewelry is displayed next to which and how, the design of the exhibition space that contributes to and highlights the displayed objects, the lighting, the texts, etc., all that can "make or break" an exhibition.

Any teaser for the next edition?
I would love to go successfully through the current edition first...

Thank you, dear Ariel!


[1]Ariel Lavian, text from the Israel Biennale of Contemporary Jewelry open call.

About the Interviewee

Ariel Lavian, born in 1983, Israel. Graduated from Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, in 2012 (B.F.A, Fashion and Jewelry Department), followed by a Master's Degree in conceptual design, 2016, at Bezalel. Since 2017, Lecturer at Bezalel Academy of Art and Design. His designs have been acquired internationally, both by private collectors as well as by selected museums, including the SCAD Museum of Art, Georgia, United States, and the Design Museum, Holon, Israel. Lavian received the Design Award from the Ministry of Culture, Israel. In 2020, Lavian won second place in Venice's Design Week in the jewelry selection and the galleries award and was nominated for both the prestigious Friedrich-Becker Award and KOGEI award. In 2021, Lavian won the Milano jewelry week award at RJW. In 2022 Lavian founded the Biennale of Contemporary Jewelry, Israel.

About the author

Nichka Marobin
is an Italian art historian specialized in Dutch and Flemish art history. She graduated from the faculty of letters of Padova (Italy) with a dissertation on Renaissance ornament prints from 1500 to 1550 in Germany and the Low Lands, focusing on the migration of forms, themes, and styles on the engravings of Cornelis Bos, Cornelis Floris II, Lucas van Leyden and the German Little Masters. In 2011, she founded “The Morning Bark”, a bloGazette on arts and humanities, where she posts about arts with a multidisciplinary path, including fine arts, books, fashion, and contemporary jewellery.