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The body is always central to my practice as I believe that the body can be translated into a cultural landscape. Joani Groenewald interviewed by Klimt02

Interview  /  Artists
Published: 30.08.2019
Joani Groenewald Joani Groenewald
Author:
Klimt02
Edited by:
Klimt02
Edited at:
Barcelona
Edited on:
2019
Joani Groenewald. Necklace: Hopelessly hopeful, 2018. Brass, enamel, glass, synthetic coral, plastic, cotton cord.. 4.2 x 6.3 x 2.5 cm. Photo by: Hjalmar Bekker. From series: Seven Deadly Seductions. Joani Groenewald
Necklace: Hopelessly hopeful, 2018
Brass, enamel, glass, synthetic coral, plastic, cotton cord.
4.2 x 6.3 x 2.5 cm
Photo by: Hjalmar Bekker
From series: Seven Deadly Seductions
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.

Intro
Every piece I make is part of a process of growth and development, each piece is a new exploration, therefore I cannot isolate one piece specifically. Each piece is a continuation of a previous idea.
What's local and universal in your artistic work?
My work is local in the sense that it deals with the politics surrounding the South African landscape and then tries to translate these complexities into jewellery pieces that can be worn on the body. However, I believe that the politics surrounding land and ownership is shared globally, as land has historically been a commodity worth fighting over for centuries. For this reason, I believe that my work relates to a universal audience, not just South Africa specifically. Jewellery as such is also an object that is intertwined with landscape and politics of land ownership because of the materials that jewellery is traditionally made from, such as gemstones, diamonds, silver, and gold. These materials have led to the erection of cities in places that are rich in minerals and natural resources. The history of jewellery and the history of land are thus invariably intertwined.  


What do you expect when you show your work to the public (for example, with an exhibition)?
When I show my work, I hope that besides evoking some form of visual enjoyment, the pieces will encourage and provoke some critical awareness or contemplation.


How important is handmade for you in your development? What role does technics and technology play in your development?
To me, handmade processes are crucial. All of the pieces that I make are mostly constructed by my hand. I also love exploring a variety of techniques and materials and try to put them together in unconventional ways.


When you start making a new piece what is your process? How much of it is a pre-formulated plan and how much do you let the material spontaneity lead you?
I think, for me, it is 50/50; half of the process is planned, but as the piece evolves, the design potential grows and I allow myself to be free at that stage, to move with the process in order to explore new possibilities.


Are there any other areas besides the jewels present in your work?
Yes, I believe that as jewellery artist and practitioner, I am continuously working with fragments of landscapes, removed from the soil, these materials act as reminders of the commodification, socialization, and exploitation of the landscape. In this process, the jewellery piece (the mined, modified and commodified landscape) enters the symbolic realm as a form of body adornment that communicates messages of personal significance. The nature of the materials that I work with this become a suitable medium through which I can question issues regarding landscape and culture specifically because of its origins, symbolic function and the political context that surrounds the extraction of natural recourses in previously colonised countries such as South Africa.
I often work with found objects and images from specific places and then reinterpret them into jewellery pieces in an attempt to make sense of my relationship to that specific place. These materials often include stones, sand, plant material and discarded objects that form part of the surface of the landscape.


How important is wearability in contemporary jewellery? And in your pieces?
I believe that contemporary jewellery has moved beyond the wearable. Even though jewellery implies some sort of relationship to the body, I believe that in the sphere of contemporary jewellery the practicality of creating wearable pieces is overshadowed by artistic intent and concept.
In my own work, I sometimes push the boundaries of wearability, however the body is always central to my practice as I believe that the body can be translated into a cultural landscape of sorts as it is activated in a particular manner by the objects that are placed upon it (whether it is through holding something or through attaching it to the body in some way). The body becomes the location where the landscape and the human subject and the jewellery piece coincides and stands in dialogue with one another.


What/who is the biggest influence in your career?
My students and colleagues at Stellenbosch University; I find the most inspiration being in an environment where you are constantly challenged by other creative minds.


Which piece or job gave you more satisfaction?
Every piece I make is part of a process of growth and development, each piece is a new exploration, therefore I cannot isolate one piece specifically. Each piece is a continuation of a previous idea.


What is your source to get information?
Klimt02.


Considering the experiences you have had over the years - if you could go back and give yourself a piece of advice for the start-up phase, what would that be?
You are the author of your own success; belief in yourself and what you are passionate about, stay true to yourself, work hard, think for yourself and the rest will fall into place.


Can you describe your personality in 3 words, describe your work in 3 words.
Personality: passionate, determined, persevere.
Work: critical, satirical, political.
 
Joani Groenewald. Necklace: Expropriation, 2019. Silver, wood, glass, aqua, plastic.. 5 x 1.8 x 6 cm. From series: Expropriation. Joani Groenewald
Necklace: Expropriation, 2019
Silver, wood, glass, aqua, plastic.
5 x 1.8 x 6 cm
From series: Expropriation
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.
Joani Groenewald. Earrings: Sloth, 2017. Silver, enamel, glass, synthetic turquoise.. 1.2 x 0.4 x 4.3 cm. From series: Seven Deadly Seductions. Joani Groenewald
Earrings: Sloth, 2017
Silver, enamel, glass, synthetic turquoise.
1.2 x 0.4 x 4.3 cm
From series: Seven Deadly Seductions
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.
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