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EXPO ‘Walking the Gray Area’ Galeria La Refaccionaria, Mexico – April 2010

Curated by Mexican architect and curator Valeria Vallarta Siemelink and German artist and curator Andrea Wagner, Walking the Gray Area will show works by 20 artists from their respective continents : Latin America and Europe.

leonor_hipolito - brooch

Leonor Hipolito (PT)’s jewelry Red rose or body part?

From Walking the Gray Area:

Each artist has a unique approach to jewellery: different ideas, different interests, different materials and techniques, different countries. But all artists have one thing in common: like the curators themselves, they are or have all been migrants: born in one place, living/working/studying in another one.

The artists have been paired randomly : the names of the Latin American artists were written on a piece of paper, which was folded and placed in a bowl. The same was done with the names of the European artists. The curators had fun taking turns to pick a name from one bowl and pairing it with a name from the other bowl. 20 couples were formed and they will carry out both verbal and visual dialogues through a blog that has been created for this purpose.

The artists have been individually selected based on their artistic excellence, technical abilities and creative response to diverse subjects. As a collective, the group has been selected based on the great differences between their work, their varied and experimental approach in the use of materials and techniques and on the rich possibilities that lay on the exchange among them. Each artist will create an individual piece of jewellery as a product of the dialogue.

The resulting exhibition, Walking the Gray Area, will be presented at the Symposium Gray Area, Encounter of Contemporary Jewellery between Latin America and Europe in Mexico City in April of 2010. The exhibition will be presented at Galeria La Refaccionaria in Mexico City.


Mirla Fernandes (Brazil) – Heranca Necklace (latex, paint, porcelain)
Jorge Manilla (Mexico/Belgium) Necklace


en parallèle à l’expo de la galerie « La Refaccionaria », symposium :

« Gray Area, First International Encounter Of Contemporary Jewellery Latin America – Europa »

What does Contemporary Jewellery mean ?

 What does Contemporary Jewellery mean?

Benjamín Lignel Bethel, Metalsmith Magazine, 2006

The following question is part of a questionnaire sent by the Italian Association for Contemporary Jewellery to its members : Italy and France, whilst boasting a long history in high-end jewellery, by and large remained untouched by the experimental jewellery movements of the ’60s (most active in the US, England, and Holland). Today, the studio Jewellery community in both countries remains small, and I found from experience that the otherwise simple task of defining one’s activity is unexpectedly daunting for us, and continues to fuel many of our conversations.

This is a ‘French’ answer to an Italian question, written in English: a nice metaphor for our international community of gold-tinklers, but one which complicates the task of defining jewellery – the English use alternatively design jewellery and contemporary jewellery, the French may say creation (i.e. creative) jewellery, the Italians art goldsmithing, while American readers will prefer art or studio jewelry. Having trained in the UK (and to simplify matters), I used the expression Contemporary Jewellery, though, as you will see, I am not at all convinced that it does the profession much justice.

What does Contemporary Jewellery mean ? dans Benjamin LIGNEL (FR) police_state_badge

William Clark Police State Badge, 1970 and 2005 Sterling silver, 10k gold
Photo: Richard Matzinger

What does Contemporary Jewellery mean?

Not very much, to anyone outside the profession; but the question is a helpful reminder that:
1. In most countries, the debate will never find an audience outside the actual community that launched it.
2. This is a simplistic label, falling short of the profession’s complex heritage and range of interests.
But it’s a tricky one, and I tried to list some of the ways one could answer it:

Contemporary Jewellery is a type of practice – understood as the contemporary offspring of a craft-based design activity that finds its origin in medieval workshops. Such a definition stresses contemporary jewellery’s historical past, and finds antecedents in the British and American Arts & Crafts movements, the renewed late XIXth century interest in manual skills (as a last stand against industrialisation), and the emergence of radical jewellery movements in the 60s: it underlines the notions of individuality, craftsmanship, and its troubled relationship to the production mainstream;

or a type of object: poised between high-street jewellery and art (the former’s glorified other, the latter’s poor relative), we know what it’s not (‘just’ manufactured artifacts for wearing), and what it wants to be (the expression of individual talent that reflects on, and sometimes influences, contemporary culture), much less what it is.

happy_family dans Estela Saez VILANOVA (ES)

Benjamin Lignel – Happy family NHS (two adhesive rings), 2002 Rubber, gauze, ink
Edition of 300 – Photo: Joel Degen

A few distinctive characteristics, however, seem to be beyond debate: the human body as a general working area; an open attitude to methods and material that echoes art’s own agenda, complicated by the notion of wearability; the distinctiveness we associate with individual expression; and an emancipation from consumer goods’ vocation to ‘just’ satisfy consumer desires.

It could also be defined as a market (I follow here the argument that cultural artifacts are defined less by methods of production than by distribution, accessibility and ultimately, potential impact on a larger consumer base). In most countries, a limited number of galleries take care of both distribution and promotion – while the designer-maker is expected (if (s)he wants to make a living) to be represented by at least five galleries, and complement consignment sales by direct, off-the-anvil transactions. From my point of view, the Contemporary Jewellery market works in ways similar to the art market, but on a scale so small, that its lack of visibility questions its existence.

hand dans Leonor HIPOLITO (PT)

Estela Saez Vilanova – GBN  -Silver, wool, paint

So then: most jewellers would agree that Contemporary Jewellery is a fast-evolving profession at a crossroad between craft, design, and art, currently ridged by identity concerns. However, I think that the problem, rather than one of identity, is one of image. Although the lack of an established definition has contributed to an extremely rich range of output -personal answers to a collective question- it seems that diversity stands in the way of a more cohesive front, one that would focus on explaining to people that there is a life after Cartier, Pomellato and Tiffany’s. And the unsuspecting public still lumps the practice together with its craft-based past, judges its production on a par with high-end (or any other) jewellery, and considers artistic ambition rather like a presumptuous fancy (unless one equates artistic with skilled, meaningful or committed to self-expression).

bag dans Mirla FERNANDES (BR)

Mirla Fernandes – Fe 2008 Latex and mineral pgiments

This happens at least for two reasons:

Firstly, there are not enough of us to rally a larger population to Contemporary Jewellery’s standards: exposure is limited by the output (there are comparatively few jewellery design programs, fewer graduates that stick to the trade, and not many pieces produced per year per jeweller). This scarcity of active jewellery makers is further complicated by our cultural antagonism with serial reproduction -and therefore, bigger distribution 1). A cynical bystander would add: this is a micro-profession, which means little appeal to the press, anemic cultural budgets, no specific courses in the history of Contemporary Jewellery (to my knowledge), and therefore, no history. As a result, Contemporary Jewellery is always deemed a subsidiary activity, on the margin of mainstream jewellery creation. Secondly, designer-makers are by nature a/o trade, uncommunicative, or certainly not prone to enthusiastic pamphlet scribbling. Who’s ever heard of Contemporary Jewellery, outside its confidential network of galleries and specialized clientèle?

Leonor dans Reflexion

Leonor Hipolito – Sin titulo – Silver, cotton

The situation, and this is my point, demands more than just communication: instead of shunning assertive promotion/information strategies (for fear of contamination?), we must resist inertia from within and without that confine Contemporary Jewellery to its ill-defined (but restricting) marginal position, and explore new means of proliferation.

So we should communicate more. And explain our intentions. But in the end, let us not be too intent on defining our practice as one thing only: if anything, I would even drop the Contemporary or Studio used to qualify this jewellery: whatever specific meaning it may have had is now superseded by a vague sense of institutionalized otherness.

Let’s be proud, and call it jewellery.

« Let’s be proud, and call it jewellery«  (photo Sandra Kocjančič)



About the Author : Benjamin Lignel (1972) first trained in philosophy & literature, then in art history, at New York University, and finally in furniture and jewellery design, at the Royal College of Art in London. Hence his interest in the functional object, complicated by a penchant for art, and further perverted by sustained exposures to literary works, often momentous, sometimes pertinent.





 Footnote1) The dominant discourse by jewellers and gallerists alike tend to equate value with uniqueness. While the argument certainly has weight from a mercantile point of view, it seems very outdated when applied to artistic value: not only have multiple editions (either executed by fine artists or copied from original work) been produced since the XVth century, as a way to reach a wider audience, but anyone in today’s contemporary art world trying to champion a pre-Warholian superiority of the unique, hand-made piece would be laughed at. 

AGC Associazione Gioiello Contemporaneo – Italie

Classé dans : AGC Italia,ASSOCIATION,Italie (IT) — bijoucontemporain @ 11:45

sur Facebook ( :

AGC è un’associazione italiana senza scopo di lucro fondata nel 2004 con l’obiettivo principale di valorizzare e diffondere la cultura del gioiello contemporaneo attraverso conferenze, convegni, mostre, etc. Il sito Internet rappresenta una prima interfaccia per gli iscritti e visitatori, i quali possono avere una visione d’insieme attraverso le news, il giornale online, informazioni di mostre e conferenze, libri.
Questo gruppo è stato creato per dare notizie immediate ai fans AGC ma soprattutto per generare idee da condividere, ma anche immagini, scambio di spazi disponibili per mostre, forum di discussioni.
AGC is an organization active in Italy since 2004 with the aim of promoting and giving value to contemporary jewellery as a form of art through conferences, round tables, exhibitions, etc.
The internet site, with news, an on-line journal, information, comments, books, represents a first platform of information.
This group is created to give AGC fans recent news and generate idea and image sharing, exhibition spaces exchange, forums.

AGC vetrina



tél :  Italia 086228638 – From abroad (+39) 0668308233 

BLOG – feed your fingers ! RINGS RINGS RINGS ! ou passez-vous la BAGUE au doigt

Déjà , coup de coeur « és-bagues » pour le challenge « ring a day » (cf article) initié par EtsyMetal ( )

et là, découverte d’un blog « spécial bagues » ! :-)

que demande le peuple ???? :-)

Finnish jeweller Inni Pärnänen, who creates botanical jewellery with a geometric bent - flower ring in burnt paper & waxDebra BAXTER crystal Brass Knuckle
Inni Pärnänen (Finnish) creates botanical jewelry with a geometric bent – flower ring in burnt paper & wax
Debra Baxtercrystal « knuckle »

 jennifer culp - 2009 - copper, placebo 'tri-nessa' tabletsrings- Littlefly, by London artist Jeremy May, is a collection of 'literary jewels' made by cutting pages out of a book and laminating the sheets together
Jennifer Culp – 2009 – ring – copper, placebo ‘tri-nessa’ tablets -
Jeremy May (UK), « Littlefly », a collection of ‘literary jewels’ made by cutting pages out of a book and laminating the sheets together

ring- UK jeweller Jenny Llewellyn combines silver and silicone- inspired by the deep sea. Rings above from her 'Polyps' range. glow in the darkRui Kikuchi
Jenny Llewellyn (UK)- silver & silicone -inspired by the deep sea- Rings from her ‘Polyps’ range. AND they glow in the dark!  — Rui Kikuchi japanese jeweller delicate rings (kinetic flower series)

EXPO ‘ PREZIOSA 2010 : Dialoghi ‘ – Florence (Italy) 22 Mai – 20 Juin 2010

The 2010’s edition of PREZIOSA presents three masters of research jewellery: 3 artists, 3 different nationalities, a geographical line leading from North to South: Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy.

The three artists have been asked to select a younger artist to set up a dialogue with : the exhibition is thus driven by a “spirit of dialogue”. Not merely “talking with” but “thinking with”, “being bound by thought”: a dialogue based on the desire to understand and know the other, and to propose an approach to the reality of the research jewel through a spirit of discovery.

Each of the six artists will offer a broad and inclusive presentation of his own work, and develop dialogues between different generations, languages and contents. This relationship of dialogue will make it possible to develop broader reflections on the creative reality of the jewel, its history and its present.
The public will be able to approach the work of the six artists through the various phases of their work, listening to the conversations and reflections triggered by the encounters, and also by reading the “dialogue” in the works themselves. The public will be provided with the necessary information, while also leaving room for a personal interpretation and, above all, an emotional engagement.


Giampaolo Babetto (Padua, Italy, 1947)
Babetto’s work appears as a tireless and rigorous analytic investigation of form, plumbed in all its expressive and compositional possibilities. Geometry was the starting point for the development of a constructive approach to jewellery conceived as architecture, jewels that can be read in all their parts and that emanate a dense formal tension. Minimalism, architecture, but also the painting of Pontormo are just some of the sources that have nourished Babetto’s complex language, in which the quest for form is melded with technical expertise, always taken to extremes to pursue an ever-vital spirit of experimentation.
The artist chosen by Giampaolo Babetto is Helen Britton

Giampaolo babetto ringHelen BRITTON - 'burning garden' brooch 2005 - silver, glass, paint, plastics.jpg

Giampaolo BABETTO – ring -
Helen BRITTON – ‘burning garden’ brooch 2005 – silver, glass, paint, plastics

Johanna Dahm (Basel, CH, 1947)
… From an initial interest in serial production, on the keynote of the democratisation of the jewel in the mid 70s, in the 80s the artist moved on to investigating the jewel as event, elaborating installations and works in which there is an extensive use of light, exploited to dematerialise the object and turn it into a visible but not tangible sign on the body. The latest phase of her work is characterised by the return to the material quality of the jewel, to its links with earth and fire. The Ashanti and Fast Ashanti series consist of works conceived through a personal elaboration of traditional casting techniques, where the a priori control becomes very limited, and the gold matter is charged with a vigorous physical sensuality.  
The artist chosen by Johanna Dahm is Andi Gut


Johanna Dahm ringAndi Gut ring

Johanna Dahm ring – Andi Gut ring

Ruudt Peters (Naaldwijk, netherlands, 1950)
In his research the jewel becomes part of a system of representation in which religions, philosophies, symbols and alchemy, combined with encounters and the suggestions of other cultures experienced during his travels, are melded, mingled and reworked, going to make up the prime matter of his works.
His jewels are organised into ‘families’ linked to a specific reference, such as for example the stage of an alchemical process for Iosis (2002) or the Kabbalah for Sefiroth (2006), and to the materials used to make them as in Lapis (1997), where the mineral powders are reworked to create a new material. Nevertheless, an overview of his work enables us to grasp the consistency of a process that has conceived the jewel as a condensate of emotions and suggestions, an object imbued with an archaic rituality while being enunciated in an idiom that is entirely contemporary.

The artist chosen by Ruudt Peters is Evert Nijland

Ruudt PETERS - Pendant - 'Lingam 5' 2008 - silver, galvanized silver, wood, rubber...Evert NIJLAND - hollande

Ruudt PETERS – Pendant – ‘Lingam 5′ 2008 – silver, galvanized silver, wood, rubber… -
Evert NIJLAND -necklace porcelain, flock

Helen Britton (Lithgow, Australia, 1966)
Britton’s work evolves from mixing, layering, combination and assembly, actions presided over by constant supervision which gives order to the apparent chaos. The creative process passes through phases that intersect: from attentive observation of reality she moves on to focus on particular details, single elements that are collected together and carefully sifted. Thus is created what the artist calls an energy circuit, which starts with search and selection and is completed by restitution of the object to the flow through its exhibition on the body.

Andi Gut (Zug, Switzerland, 1971)
In the works of the early 90s Andi Gut concentrated on the special relationship between the jewel and the body, both by inserting real corporeal elements (teeth, nails) and by reproducing them in materials of medical origin, such as dental porcelain. Following this, his meditation shifted towards the dualistic relationship between the naturalness of form and the artificiality of the matter it is made from. Before the jewels of Andi Gut the observer is taken by a sort of rapture, in which anxiety and captivation come together.

Evert Nijland (Oldenzaal, The Netherlands, 1971)
Active since 1997, Evert Nijland has pursued a consistent endeavour of re-elaboration, transformation and new interpretation of sources of inspiration linked to the past history of art: Renaissance panels, Baroque paintings, the theme of the garland, the city of Venice. The material quality of a pictorial detail, its special luminosity, are restored to life, translated into the dimension of the jewel through a calibrated stratification of embroidered fabrics juxtaposed with stones, silver, porcelain and very often glass. In his most recent works glass, declined in its various expressive possibilities, is used in combination with silk and flock. The most strikingly three-dimensional aspect appears to be linked to a sensual accentuation of forms.


Leopoldine old Cloister (Chiostro dell’ex Convento delle Leopoldine – Firenze)
Torquato Tasso Square
Florence Italy
E-Mail: également sur la page de Klimt02)
Lucca preziosa” nasce da una idea di Le Arti Orafe, scuola di oreficeria e galleria d’arte a Firenze. Il Comune di Lucca ha recepito e fatto suo quel progetto, rendendone possibile la realizzazione. A partire dagli anni ’50 si è diffuso un nuovo approccio al gioiello come libera espressione artistica, aperta ad interpretazioni e sperimentazioni di forme, materiali e tecniche. Negli ultimi quaranta anni il gioiello di ricerca è stato presentato in mostre a tema, rassegne annuali, sezioni di fiere di settore, gallerie specializzate, principalmente in Europa centrale ed in Gran Bretagna, ed è entrato a far parte delle collezioni museali come quelle del Victoria and Albert Museum di Londra; della Pinakothek der Moderne di Monaco, del Musée des arts décoratifis di Parigi…. In Europa le ultime grandi mostre di gioiello d’arte risalgono rispettivamente al 1988, in Svizzera, con il titolo « Biennale del gioiello d’arte contemporaneo » tenutasi a Lugano alla Villa Malpensata; al 1989 in Germania, « ORNAMENTA, Internationale Schmuckkunst », a Pforzheim; al 2001 a Firenze, Museo degli Argenti, “L’arte del gioiello e il gioiello d’artista dal novecento a oggi ». In Italia le occasioni espositive sono state circoscritte, oppure dedicate ad affermati pittori e scultori che occasionalmente si sono occupati di gioielli (La rassegna Aurea, 1972-1974-1976-1979, Palazzo Strozzi, Firenze; L’arte del gioiello ed il gioiello d’artista dal ‘900 ad oggi, Palazzo Pitti, Firenze, 2001; Immaginazione Aurea, Ancona, 2001). L’evento Lucca Preziosa contribuisce a riempire un vuoto di cui si avverte più o meno consapevolmente l’incongruenza.


Image de prévisualisation YouTube

video Preziosa 2008


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