JOYA Can Surprise, Fascinate, Encourage and Move. Paul Derrez, Joya 2020 Jury Member interviewed by Klimt02

Interview  /  Fairs   CriticalThinking   CarolinDenter
Published: 21.04.2020
Paul Derrez Paul Derrez
Carolin Denter
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JOYA Barcelona, the main art jewelry and art object event in Spain will take place with its 12th edition this year and focusses on new technologies and crafts:
The skilled and sensitive human interaction with technology, involved in jewellery and object making is arguably central to the maker’s art. The direct relationship with tools & materials is essential to control an intimate way of making. Through the exploitation to new technologies, the whole working process of the artist can change, but as well open new possibilities and creative paths are developed. 
In this second interview of three, we spoke to Jury Member Paul Derrez, jewellery artist and driving force behind Galerie Ra for 43 years. 
Paul, you are an important figure in the jewellery scene, you are not only one of the pioneers in Dutch auteur jewellery but you have also promoted auteur jewellery for over 43 years with your gallery Ra in Amsterdam and worldwide. This year you are selected as JOYA 2020 Jury Member. Please tell us more about your history, attitude and vision and how you perceive the JOYA fair. 
After two years of industrial design and one year of theatre study, I decided to go for goldsmithing, with the intention to take over the family business in Sittard, a little town in the south of the Netherlands. This jewellery- and watches-shop was opened by my grandfather early 20est century and continued by my father, both watch-makers, and since 1965 run by my mother, originally trained as a teacher.

My practical year for this course I could work in the workshop of Lous Martin and Hans Appenzeller, the owners of Galerie Sieraad in Amsterdam, the first in jewellery specialized gallery in the Netherlands. This was a wonderful introduction for me to the world of creative jewellery. I started to live in Amsterdam with Willem Hoogstede (a primary school teacher) and decided not to go back to the province. We are together since 1974. Although he had his own job, his support for Galerie Ra and my own career in jewellery was tremendous.

After Galerie Sieraad closed down, slowly the idea appeared to open a gallery for contemporary jewellery myself, which happened in 1976. Steady the group of exhibitors and the audience grew in number and developed from local to national, and from national to international. Thanks to a clear concept and vision, and an active education- and promotion-policy. The gallery-work was always 1st priority for me, but I managed to develop an oeuvre of jewellery and objects alongside.

Paul Derrez, Horn and Fan-pins, 1979. Silver.

When I started Ra Gallery, I was very eager to cross borders in craft, design, art, and fashion. An open attitude and experiments in concept, design, material, production, and way to wear, brought a new spirit and became a movement: The New Jewellery. Radical experiments freed the makers and the audience from old stereotypes, habits, and role-patterns. Later on, I preferred the term research instead of experiments. Research is a broader process that can include experiments.
History shows us, that research on how to make things, by hand or with tools or machines, ranging from granulation to 3D-printing, brings new possibilities. There is no hierarchy in material or technique itself, but there is a hierarchy in the clever use of material or technique. I find a technique like embossing, engraving, or electroforming equally inspiring and valuable as - for example - casting or printing. A lot of the quality in jewellery is realized through a mix of refined techniques. Therefore I am very happy to see those young jewellers again invest in a wide range of old and new, classic and advanced, techniques and processes.

Paul Derrez, Confetti-baskets, 2013. Silver, acrylic.

Compared to other creative professions (like architecture), jewellery-design and -production can be very independent and free:
An idea pops up one day, next day design is developed, the piece needs a day to be executed, and the next day its deleted or worn! What a luxury to explore this freedom!

Galerie Ra and the representation of its artists at fairs for 43 years have been a wonderful platform for interacting with the audience and an important source for feedback. In this respect, the JOYA-fair can do the same job for its participants. Not to provide the audience which what should be expected, but to surprise, to fascinate, to encourage and to move.

About the Interviewee

Jewellery maker Paul Derrez designed his first pieces in 1975, while interning as part of his goldsmith training at the Schoonhoven Vocational School in the Netherlands. In 1976, he opened Galerie Ra, and has since produced a large body of jewellery and objects, presented in this book as a virtually complete survey of his work. Colourful, whimsical, and idiosyncratic in form, the objects Derrez creates are a reflection of the craftsman and artist himself. Filled with illustrations and personal explanations, the book includes both his acclaimed and less well-known pieces, offering insight into his underlying interests and motives, as well as the relationship of his work to the spirit of the times.
Paul Derrez. Brooch: Pil Roulette, 2003. Aluminium, perspex, silver.. Paul Derrez
Brooch: Pil Roulette, 2003
Aluminium, perspex, silver.
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