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Contemporary Jewelry Occupies a Significant Place in Contemporary Art. Thierry Bontridder interviewed by Klimt02

Interview  /  Artists
Published: 16.06.2020
Thierry Bontridder Thierry Bontridder
Author:
Klimt02
Edited by:
Klimt02
Edited at:
Barcelona
Edited on:
2020
Thierry Bontridder. Pendant: Cos2, 2019. Titanium, stainless steel, rubber. 12.8 x 6.8 x 1.4 cm. Photo by: Paul Louis. From series: Cosmos. Thierry Bontridder
Pendant: Cos2, 2019
Titanium, stainless steel, rubber
12.8 x 6.8 x 1.4 cm
Photo by: Paul Louis
From series: Cosmos
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.

Intro
I am fascinated by the vitality of this current of expression. There is now a profusion of outstanding creators and works that - as you know - explore every possibility of artistic expression, materials and techniques. Contemporary jewelry occupies a significant place in contemporary art. As part of my teaching, I am very happy to have been able to accompany many emerging talents whose it is clear that women are the majority and possess creativity of their own.
Tell us about your background. What were your first influences to be creative and become an artist and what has drawn you to contemporary jewellery?
I'm born into a family sensitive to art. I have been fed more art than anything else. I started by studying sculpture but, not having a workshop in the early 80’s, I started making small acrylic glass objects on the corner of my kitchen table.
 
This material attracted me for its qualities of reflection, transparency, translucency and color as well as its softness to the touch. It allows exploring an interior space. I did not yet know the movement of the contemporary jewel. I discovered it in 1982 by visiting the Neon Gallery created by Bernard François. It was a very lively place with meetings and exhibitions that brought together everything that was done at the time in contemporary jewelry from Europe and elsewhere.
 
My encounter with Emile Souply at the Neon Gallery was decisive. He was the pioneer of contemporary jewelry in Belgium in the early 1960s and it was with him that I received training in his workshop in the Arts&Métiers in Brussels. There were not many of us. The workshop gradually developed from the old traditional structure of the school: repoussé and chasing and little contemporary research. In 1995, I founded the contemporary jewelry workshop at the Academy of Fine Arts in Arlon of the province of Belgian Luxembourg. Then, in 1998, Emile Souply gave me his workshop at Arts et Métiers. Since 2000, I have resolutely oriented the workshop towards contemporary creation despite the opposition of some former professors.
 
I am fascinated by the vitality of this current of expression. There is now a profusion of outstanding creators and works that - as you know - explore every possibility of artistic expression, materials and techniques. Contemporary jewelry occupies a significant place in contemporary art. As part of my teaching, I am very happy to have been able to accompany many emerging talents whose it is clear that women are the majority and possess creativity of their own.
 

Thinking about your career, what role do technology and digital play in your artistic development & communication?
As regards new technologies, I consider them as tools, an extension of the hand at the service of the artist’s imagination. Sometimes I have used CAD and worked with lasers and water jets but I definitely prefer to touch, shape and assemble the materials on my workbench.


How has your work changed over the past few years and what are you excited about these days?
Currently, I find the pleasure of working in small formats after having dedicated myself to sculpture for more than 25 years. I explore the depth, the vibration of the colors, the matte, the satiny and the reflection of titanium on the universal theme of the cosmos and uncertainty.

My website shows my recent work but also the sculptures I made.
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