Technology Can Never be the Starting Point for New Work. Ruudt Peters, Joya 2020 Jury Member interviewed by Klimt02

Interview  /  Fairs   CriticalThinking   CarolinDenter
Published: 07.04.2020
Ruudt Peters Ruudt Peters
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 first interview of three, we spoke to Jury Member Ruudt Peters, a pioneer in the dutch jewellery field since the 1970s.

Ruudt, you are one of the most renowned jewellery artists of the Netherlands and you have been a professor at the Rietveld Academie / Ädellab Konstfack and Alchimia to just name a few things. You challenged traditional definitions of adornment by pushing the boundaries of context, wearability, materials and presentation. This year you are selected as JOYA 2020 Jury member. Please tell us more about your professional development.
I come from a family dedicated to beauty: my mother was a hairdresser, my father a beauty specialist, and my brothers and sisters were also hairdressers. Everything in my family was about beauty. “if your hair is sitting good, everything is good” was the winging speech of my mother. This background has affected my life a lot. Only that I wanted to manage beauty in another way. A beauty with content, not only the surface. It was a logical consequence of my education that I would make something related to beauty, my personal obsession in making small things has bugged me on the track of jewelry.

New technologies and crafts are the topics for JOYA 2020. Why have you been selected to join this year's jury, and where did your interest in the so-called new technologies have begun (where did you have contact with them so far)? 
I have a hate/love relationship with new techniques, I work with very traditional techniques as a starting point in my work. But I try to stretch the boundaries of those techniques in order to develop a new dimension. Some artists are using new technologies but they do not invest enough in their own emotions and feelings. You must destroy new technology completely before you can understand where this is going all about.

As a judge for the 2020 JOYA Award, what do you expect to see? What is the aesthetic specific you are looking for and what are your criteria or your visions for the selection?
I hope artists can find new dimensions within their own developments, going deeper than the first look.
Fight to know how to translate vision into material. Technique and new techniques are only a tool, the most important is the concept and vision which the artist will carry out.

  • Technique and new techniques are only a tool, the most important is the concept and vision which the artist will carry out. 

What is your personal interpretation of this year’s topic? Any thoughts?
Personally, I never look for new technical possibilities. Technology can never be the starting point for new work. When techniques are the starting point, you kill the creative essence of the artist. Technology has to follow thoughts.
What do you think of the fair as a communicative event and/or for career development? What personal experience have you had about it & what do you think is special about the JOYA Jewellery fair in Barcelona?
I answer this interview during the corona crisis. The world has failed. In a time when all standards and values fail, it is important to rethink what works and whatnot. Are fairs such as Schmuck / JOYA / Sieraad still of this time? Can we ask large groups of collectors/artists/buyers to visit this kind of exhibition worldwide? Or is a virtual fair with new techniques less polluting and damaging for our planet? I don't have an answer but I hope we learn from corona!
Last year I was at JOYA for the first time. I found JOYA one of the most inspiring fairs in our field. Young talents are presenting their work in Barcelona, the quality of the works is high, and the presentation is on a good level. A disadvantage of this fair is that fewer collectors walk around. I think this is what I missed.

  • Technology can never be the starting point for new work. When techniques are the starting point, you kill the creative essence of the artist. Technology has to follow thoughts.  

What kind of contemporary jewelry would you like to see more often?
What is very missing in our time is “social relevance”. I understand, that jewellery has something to do with decorating the body, but showing a strong social vision makes art jewellery work stronger, some young artists dare it. I encourage them!

Paul Adie, Cockring, Ring, 2019. Photo: Galerie Rob Koudijs

The development of digital technologies in the late 20th century for both 2D and 3D productions has had a huge impact on the economics of customisation, enabling the production of one or many products from digital data, and greater economic flexibility in relation to supply and demand. Do you make a distinction between designers who consider themselves artists and those who work in a commercial setting? 
First, I want to say that I highly appreciate the jewellery in all the different subcultures. From design jewellery and fashion jewellery to high-end jewellery. There is a space in this world for everyone in the jewellery field. Personally I focus more on art jewellery, because its the expression of the artist that interests me the most. Commercial jewellery follows the market. There is nothing wrong with it, but it is another purpose.
How will the technical possibilities impact the creation of jewellery?
In the most positive scenario, artists will be leaders to use new techniques for their expression. This creates new opportunities, I really want to ask the young avant-garde jewellery makers to try techniques to the extreme. Walk with your head through the wall. Get mad about how you cant find a solution! Start to hate technology. Continue, continue, continue, go, go, go then in the depth you find the possibilities and fall in love for such a technique.

Adam Grinovich, Decoy Sphere, Brooch, 2018,  1Diamond, cubic zirconia, stainless steel, Photo: Galerie Rob Koudijs

What is the difference for you between jewellers that manufacture their work or those who have the work produced for them?
I'd rather speak about head workers and belly workers. You can see a work whether it was designed at the table, or it has been developed by human hands. When the artist is involved, it is possible to recognize a soul "afflatus" in the jewelry, a divine wind. I hope that young artists blow me away at the selection for JOYA.

About the Interviewee

Ruudt Peters, 1950, Naaldwijk / Netherlands. Artist that lives and works in Amsterdam, and Ravenstein. Studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie and has works at the following collections: Houston Museum USA, Staatliches Museum für angewandte Kunst Design in Pinakothek der Moderne, MunchenDE , Danner Foundation, Munchen DE, Schmuckmuseum Pforzheim DE, Design Museum Den Bosch NL, Musee des Arts Decorative, Paris FR, RISD Museum, Providence USA, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam NL, Cooper Hewitt, Design Museum, New York USA,  Anger Museum Erfurt DE, Hiko Mizuno Art School, Tokyo JP, Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Vienna AU, Philadelphia Museum of Modern Art USA, Museum Arnhem ArnhemNL, Coda Museum Apeldoorn NL.