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MAURIZIO NANNUCCI has given us all a new mantra to live by. N O M O R E E X C U S E S is a light and sound installation at the Fabbrica Europa at the Stazione Leopolda in Florence that opened May third and will be up only until the 11th of the month. The exhibition is part of FabbricaEuropa’s 20th anniversary. If you’re in the area at the time, you should go. 

fabbricaeuropa

Here’s a bit about the foundation:

Fabbrica Europa was born in 1994 from an idea of Maurizia Settembri and Andres Morte Terés with the aim to create a home in Florence for the culture of all Europe. In eighteen years of activity Fabbrica Europa has become a recognised space for new artistic languages and the contemporary arts. Florence is a city historically designated to house art but burdened with the weight of tradition. It is therefore perhaps one of the most difficult places to deliver a project that is not simply a festival but a concept, a hub of international, multicultural, creation and training. By transforming the Stazione Leopolda into a workshop, stage and laboratory of research and experimentation, Fabbrica Europa has given the ex-railway station back to the city, animating a location of industrial archaeology with a new cultural function.

For more info click ——-> here

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The installation is stupenda. Just after entering the venue and passing through a moment of almost pure darkness, I turned the corner and was confronted by this:

n o m o r e e x c u s e s

NO MORE EXCUSES - MAURIZIO NANNUCCI NO MORE EXCUSES - MAURIZIO NANNUCCI

NO MORE EXCUSES - MAURIZIO NANNUCCI NO MORE EXCUSES - MAURIZIO NANNUCCI KELLIE RIGGS MAURIZIO NANNUCCI NO MORE EXCUSES - MAURIZIO NANNUCCI

NO MORE EXCUSES - MAURIZIO NANNUCCI

It ain’t everyday that one gets to walk through such a fantastically transformed space. After turning the dark corner a breath of disbelief is taken then exhaled with amazement when seeing the long room for the first time. A childlike wonder is assumed almost immediately, and you could sense that being shared too.  If I were to speak personally about my own initial impression, the only words that escaped my lips for the first five minutes I think were holy f*ck. It felt like my infantile ideas of what space might be like plus the inside of my brain responsible for self doubt were manifested together in this room, in a slightly mocking, yet delightful way, even gentile. The looming and almost melancholic cool blue lights spelling out, no more excuses across the 100 meter floor that beamed down on me remain to be quite affective even three days later. And I don’t think the necessity I acquired to repeat this mantra over and over in my head will diminish in the future for that mater, by any means. I was challenged by this piece in the simplest of ways, as if Nannucci wanted to offer us all a big and humble favor, reminding us of what’s fundamentally important. I’m grateful, really. The lights could have also spelled, hey dummy, you might want to think about getting your shit together!; a personal message that I felt like I was actually telling yourself, no one else. The universality of this experience could have only left visitors with an echo of their own lingering, suppressed thoughts or doubts, yet with a new feeling of drive and tranquillità; just the right ingredients to prevent feeling too overwhelmed when reentering the real world.  That’s how I felt anyway, and like I said, i’m grateful.

As I was standing under a singular cascading blue light, looking up, I felt like I had to answer to my own doubts, assume responsibility for something. And I am still thinking about it. Do objects have the ability to ignite this kind of everlasting emotional experience? Can they similarly act as physical triggers of big existential questions when relatively experienced, touched, held… worn? It ain’t easy, but perhaps they can.

If you can think of some examples, please comment. I’ll do the same.

NO MORE EXCUSES - MAURIZIO NANNUCCI

Maurizio is seen in the center of this crappy photo on the right of the group. I am lucky to call him a dear friend and neighbor. Thank you for consistently bringing the only dose of contemporary culture to Firenze. 

To learn more about the work, please click —-> here for a statement as well as the artist’s bio

Il Gioiello come forma d’arte Museo Marino Marini Firenze. <———- !!

Contemporary jewelry historian, Maria Cristina Bergesio, is giving another round of talks this year at the Museo Marino Marini in Florence called,  jewelry as a form of art. 

For five thursdays starting today, april 11, the talks can be heard at the museum with free entrance. Hooray!

Here’s the schedule:

11 aprile 2013 Gioiello come segno. Decorazione, modificazione, distinzione 

18 aprile 2013 All is food for art Gioiello contemporaneo e materiali 

9 maggio 2013 De rebus naturae Flora e fauna nel gioiello di ricerca 

23 maggio 2013 À la recherche du temps perdu Il passato come fonte d’ispirazione per il gioiello di ricerca 

6 giugno 2013 Un certain regard Presentazione della mostra Preziosa 2013, che si terrà presso il Museo Marino Marini dal 20 giugno al 20 luglio 2013

The last appointment will be a presentation/exhibition of Preziosa 2013 which includes Karin Seufert, Philip Sajet, Suska Mackert, David Bielander, Sophie Hanagarth, and Sigurt Bronger, and Preziosa Young with winners, Panjapol Kulpapangkorn, Rob Elford, Benedikt Fischer, Karin Roy Andersson, Wan Hee Cho, Chiara Scarpitti, Antje Stolz, and Lauren Vanessa Tickle.

sophie hanagarth

Benedikt FischerJEWELRY

ART

 

 

 

 

This post is a bit overdue. I had the pleasure of going to Padova at the beginning of December to  attend some contemporary jewelry exhibition openings, including Pensieri Preziosi 8, Gioielli dall’Estonia at Marijke Studio, Helfried Kodré: New Works at Galleria Daniele, Vetro Contemporaneo at Studio GR20, and One_first act presented by Padova’s Mixed Media Foundation.

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Pensieri Preziosi 8, La magica poesia

Oratorio di San Rocco in Padova, Italy

click –> here to see the post from last year… it’s really quite interesting to compare the artists from Estonia to Italians who were showcased the year before. Both regions still seem to value traditional material (…metal) more than other geographic regions (…Germany, Holland…), congruent with a relative and local history. And much like the specifically Padovan tradition in goldsmithing, where one can easily see a well maintained lineage between the artists, the Estonians (although not as strongly) here are visually tied to one another and stand as a unique and even fresh group in the world of contemporary jewelry. I’m always a sucker for artists that can utilize time honored making practices in contemporary ways, and these guys are doing it pretty well.

Artists:

KADRI MALK, 1958
KRISTIINA LAURITS, 1975
PIRET HIRV, 1969
EVE MARGUS-VILLEMS, 1972
VILLU PLINK, 1977
TANEL VEENRE, 1977

PENSIERI PREZIOSI 8 PENSIERI PREZIOSI 8, Piret Hirv PENSIERI PREZIOSI 8, Piret Hirv PENSIERI PREZIOSI 8 PENSIERI PREZIOSI 8 PENSIERI PREZIOSI 8, Tanel Veenre PENSIERI PREZIOSI 8, Tanel Veenre PENSIERI PREZIOSI 8 PENSIERI PREZIOSI 8, KRISTIINA LAURITS PENSIERI PREZIOSI 8, Kristiina Laurits PENSIERI PREZIOSI 8 PENSIERI PREZIOSI 8, Kadri Mälk OLYMPUS PENSIERI PREZIOSI 8  CAMERA PENSIERI PREZIOSI 8

GIOIELLI DALL’ESTONIA, Marijke Studio

The show included 14 students from the Estonian Academy of Art, Tallin

Artists:

Keiu Koppel, Andrus Rumm, Liina Lõõbas, Katrin Kosenkranius, Urmas Lüüs, Ettel Poobus, Hans-Otto Ojaste, Nils Hint, Anne Reinberg, Birgit Skolimowski, Kairin Koovit, Merilin Tõnisoja, Rita-Livia Erikson, Andreas Lichfeld

at Marijke Studio at Marijke Studio at Marijke Studio at Marijke Studio at Marijke Studio at Marijke Studio

Helfried Kodré: New Works, at Galleria Daniele

Helfried is an Austrian artist whose work is basically a perfect fit for Padova.

Helfried Kodré Helfried Kodré Helfried Kodré DIGITAL CAMERA

The gold squiggle brooch below is just delish, no?

Helfried Kodré

Contemporary Glass: Sculptures, Installations, Jewels  at Studio GR20

Artists: Beate Eismann, Iris Nieuwenburg, Evert Nijland, Ruudt Peters, Katja Prins, Andrea Wagner, Maria Grazia Rosin, Management: Graziella Folchini Grassetto

For me this show was probably the most fun, just because I had never been to the gallery before, and because the list of jewelry artists is short and solid. Seeing Beate Eismann’s work was a delight, as well as my good friend Andrea’s work ( I don’t think I’ve ever had this much time to look at any of her pieces!). The gallery is also gorgeous.

Below are the only two photos I could get. For more info and fotos, click—> here

Studio GR20

Above: Beate Eismann

Below : a couple of superstars at the gallery: from the left Kardri Malk, Helfried Kodré, and Stefano Marchetti 

Studio GR20

ONE_first act, presented by the Mixed Media Foundation of Padova.

This exhibtion, described as a “living” intallation of international contemporay jewelry, focused on dichotomies of uniqueness/seriality, value/economy, etc…
Artists printed images of their work which were made into simple button pins and the public was invited to detach them and wear them as they wished. The show functioned as more of a preview (“First Act”), as each orignal piece shown as an image will be on display at the show, ONE… which I can’t seem to find any info about. 30 international artists participated.

One_first act One_first act One_first act One_first act

In mid May a friend and I took a day trip to Ferrara to eat some good pumpkin ravioli. When wandering around, we stumbled on a surprisingly good exhibition entitled, VIOLENCE, L’arte interpreta la violenza (art interprets violence). The following images are select works from the show. I kindly encourage you to ask these questions while looking:

IS THIS ART OR IS THIS JEWELRY?

OR IS IT NOT THE SAME GOD DAMN THING?

Curated by Lola Bonora and Silvia Cirelli, the group show was part of the XV Biennale Donna, or Woman Biennial , and located in Ferrara’s Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea (or PAC Museo). If not already clear, the works shown do not belong to the realm of contemporary jewelry, YET THEY COULD. On the surface, both pieces are obviously aesthetically linked to similar work being produced by artist-jewelers, and when more thoroughly investigated, their conceptual underpinnings act as confirmation to the relationship between the two realms.

Had this work been a part of a contemporary jewelry exhibition and the artists from a background of jewelry as well, how would the framework of the show been different? The first image, Peso (or Weight), 2006, is by Regina José Galindo, a performance artist I have previously mentioned on this blog because of her similarities to practices found in art jewelry, namely her devotion to the body. Peso is described as a framed lambda print on forex, made singular by the physical absence of the chained object that adorns the wearer in the photo. If Galindo were a contemporary jeweler, I would be willing to bet the object itself would also have been on display. Whether or not Galindo would have hypothetically made the chain by hand perhaps does not matter in this case due to the strong visual connotations the piece carries with it. The audience would also probably know whether or not she had done so, as the written framework usually highlights this aspect and more clearly communicates the materials used when it comes to conceptual work in jewelry. If it wasn’t hand made, the chain would have most certainly been indicated as a found object. In the present context however, the audience knows nothing of make or material and that’s because it really doesn’t matter. As such, the idea, the message and the visual impact is all the more highlighted and not weighed down by material discourse like it so often is in contemporary jewelry.

Below is a similar work of artist Gisbert Stach entitled, Fitting, 2008, a 29 minute video showing a woman being repeatedly adorned with chains until she is holding 30+ pounds of weight on her upper body. This piece was not a part of VIOLENCE. 

Fitting was a piece included in the exhibition What’s in a Frame?, a collateral show during Schmuck 2012 in Munich. Although part of a contemporary jewelry fair, here we can also ask ourselves, IS THIS JEWELRY OR IS THIS ART? When considering work like this, especially in relation to a piece like Galindo’s, the question becomes almost unnecessary and silly. I’ll mention that chains  adorning the woman in Stach’s film were also not on display. Like Peso, they simply did not need to be; Fitting was much more about the collective power and physical burden. Gisbert can be described as a trans-disciplinary artist heavily tied to contemporary jewelry yet is not limited to any particular medium. He also regularly makes work with Rose Stach and they exhibit as a duo.

Naiza H. Khan’s installation for VIOLENCE included four galvanized steel armor sculptures entitled, Armour Suit for Rani of Jhansi (2008), Armour Lingerie IV (2007), Armour Lingerie V (2007), and The Robe (2008), as well four photographs from the series, New Clothes for the Emperor. When considering if Khan’s works had been part of a contemporary jewelry show, the audience would probably assume that the artist had personally made the armours, but here we do not know, and again, it is not so important. I myself would be interested to know one way or the other; kudos to Khan if the metalwork was done herself. Is the question of who made the work a shared curiosity or is it my background as a jeweler that has sparked this interest? As a maker, I also walked around the hanging armours and thought about how well or not-so-well they were made. This is another typical discourse in contemporary jewelry when distinguishing weather the work is good or bad, but in this scenario, it hardly matters.

Below is a poor photograph of the write up for Khan’s work.

The show’s specific theme of violence meant that most of the included work had a strong and central tie to the physical body, an obvious fundamental seen in the most interesting works within  conceptual jewelry practice. Although much less visually linked on an obvious scale, I found Galindo’s prints, No perdemos nada con nacer (2000) to be similarly relevant. Like Khan, the use of photo documentation as an effective tool for reading the work remains to be underutilized in works in jewelry artworks. Here we can take note and follow the example of how Galindo gives her work a very specific environment that without which would fail to mean much of anything.

Yoko Ono’s adaptation of her 1965 performance,  Cut Piece, can also be abstractly tied to the world of jewelry. The performance, which included a seated Yoko Ono and an invitation for members of the audience to come on stage one by one to cut off pieces of her clothing, emphasize the necessity of interaction as the functioning role to the success of an artwork. “Yoko Ono’s body becomes in itself the performance with an exchange of roles where the spectator is turned into the protagonist,” states the writeup; the point of which mimics the inherent foundation of jewelry objects once adorned and living in the world. The statement also mentions subordination, the passivity of women and the lightening of spirits, concepts that are historically buried beneath jewelry’s societal past, truths that can almost always be dug up from any jewelry object if looking to find it.

Loredana Longo’s site specific installation for VIOLENCEFloor#5 Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, utilizes recognizable, found materials (once worn clothing) and visitor participation to communicate the magnitude of a past event. Longo shares the sentiment that her work is not complete until truly engaged, the same way that some jewelry artists only see their work as complete when worn on the body. Tactile and physical demands are present and therefore imperative, tampering with the approach to the artwork that ultimately exploits a specific emotional ingredient and connection. Here is one strong example of where visual art and contemporary jewelry share a common ground.

Lydia Schouten’s installation, A Virus of Sadness, is also worth mentioning here. I think it poses questions to the likes of whether contemporary jewelry works could ever rise to a similar occasion and demand a larger and more thougful framework for exhibition. Do objects, small ones at that, harness the same capabilities to tell a story like this? Works in jewelry are capable of being equally confrontational. Are we interested in thinking bigger?

Perhaps the biggest question to ask is whether or not a contemporary jewelry artist like Stach or anyone else working similarly (Shari Pierce could have kicked some ass in this show particularly, Christoph Zellweger and Hilde De Decker are worth noting for thinking more abstractly exhibition wise… just to name a few) would ever be included in an contemporary art exhibition. After all, our world exists on a parallel and basically invisible track to the fine art world. We need some cross pollination. But first, and like I said earlier, we need to think bigger. Taking cues from exhibitions like VIOLENCE will benefit just about everyone, jewelry related or not.

Shari Pierce, detail of 300 Sex Offenders from Within a 5 mile Radius, installation

Shari Pierce, Detail of 300 Sex Offenders Body Piece

Blue and White Jean Dress with Small Blue Flowers, Age 42: USA, Part of She LL Project

http://www.sharipierce.com/shell_project_archive.html

Saturday the 9th of June marked the inauguration of 4 Padovani e un Torinese, presented by Maurer Zilioli Contemporary Arts. A humble space in the center of the small and beautiful northern Italian town of Brescia, the gallery is a rare dose of contemporary culture, currently housing what I’ll call today’s traditional in Italian contemporary jewelry and sculpture.

The Padovan representatives were Giampaolo Babetto, Graziano Visintin, Renzo Pasquale and Annamaria Zanella, Bruno Martinazzi from Torino; the five artisti-orafi are legends in the field for those that don’t know. Some of the artists from Padova showcased new works with recognizable or iconic pieces also mixed throughout the gallery. Framed drawings from the research stages of their processes were also hung, acting as their own strong and singular works while simultaneously welcoming the viewer into each artistic process. For me this addition was quite the bonus and pulled the show together by adding substance to the singularity of each sculptural piece. Perhaps it could be even more substantial to outsider perspectives; the drawings act as indicators to thought, research and thorough investigation that suggest the practice of each maker to be similar (if not the same) to methodic visual artists outside of the jewelry sphere.

Pieces by Renzo Pasquale

Pieces of jewelry and drawings were not the only works presented. Works by Zanella and Pasquale took shape in much larger forms, a departure from the formal scale limitations of jewelry objects. Pasquale’s clear acrylic sculptures can be seen as a natural shift, having been known to integrate the material into his previous works in jewelry. Zanella implements a material shift as well as a scale shift in her larger work on display. This literal transition (past brooches take on the exact same formal qualities, Cuore Bionico, 1995) begs the question of whether there is a true difference between what is known as sculpture and certain works in contemporary jewelry like what is seen in this exhibition. The Italian goldsmith/artists are particularly known for their sculptural ties through their tendencies and devotion to geometric abstraction and minimal languages. And although this particular exhibition is at first glance heavily tied to the jewelry world, it doesn’t mean that it’s an entirely complete assessment. Maurer Zilioli after all, is a contemporary art gallery (and also a cultural organization), a bridge builder of sorts, promoting the work in the jewelry field in hopes to give it a higher consideration in the art world. Has it worked?

Sculptures by Pasquale

Sculpture by Zanella

Drawings by Babetto and sculpture by Zanella

While in Brescia I was warmly greeted by Ellen Maurer and Claudio Zilioli and was able to chat with them about the liminal role their gallery plays between the jewelry and fine art world. Although there are no hierarchical distinctions between form and medium in their minds, the majority of Zilioli’s exhibitions are not necessarily related to contemporary works in jewelry. In fact, few of their past exhibitions have actually combined jewelry to visual arts directly, noting Piccole Sculture (with Peter Skubic, Franz Hitzler, Valeriano Trubbiani, Therese Hilbert, Bruny Sartori, and Bruno Martinazzi), and Gente di Mare (David Bielander and Michelle Taylor) as two examples within the last year. A more impressive example of integration can be seen in one of their Schmuck exhibitions in Munich last March with artists Elisabeth Altenburg (Füll RAUM) and Wolfgang Rahs (Projektor Oben Often). When they do have shows exclusively devoted to jewelry, Maurer stated that there is wind of disinclination blowing from certain contemporary art audiences. In their minds, jewelry is separate and is not art, maybe even less than or on rare occasions equal to it.

Drawings by Babetto

Pasquale

Graziano Visintin

Babetto

Visintin

Babetto

Babetto – oldies but goodies

Babetto

Bruno Martinazzi

Martinazzi

Martinazzi

Visintin

Babetto

It’s easy to see that all the works (with the exception of the bigger sculpture pieces) were under glass. Although still well within the realm of “our kind of jewelry” (or contemporary art jewelry… you pick the name), the work coming from the Padovani (and from Martinazzi) is still largely and willingly bound to a material tradition so precious that the pieces really can’t be anywhere other then under the safey of a vitrine. Most the time the pieces are, indeed, made of gold.  Beyond this material fundamental there also lies the considerations for which the pieces are successful singular works, which at the end of the day is slightly more independent of a necessity for the piece to be seen on the body than other categories of contemporary jewelry. In this case, with this type of sculptural work, is the body factor just an encouraged bonus?

To better illustrate what I mean, here is a version of the Jewelry as Art Venn Diagram posted under the COSMOLOGY section at the very top of the page where I have isolated the Italian artists in order to see how they approach their work. Almost all of the artists are categorized in the Jewelry as Sculptural Object sphere (click on cosmology to see the full context).

The glass vitrine continues to be utilized as one of the only practical modes for display when focusing especially on this type of contemporary jewelry. The eye can still move around the object (although it’s a bit limited) and if in a gallery, there is indeed a gallerist available to show you the piece more intimately so that the light may move through it and the tactile physical experience appreciated. When asked, Ellen said ever so fittingly that the most important action to take in the promotion of contemporary jewelry was to simply wear the work. “I really insist on this fact. We need collectors. We need them to wear it. You have… well, you have one thing (addressing me). You don’t have anything (addressing Graziano Visintin). We need people to wear jewelry, because most people don’t wear jewelry. This is one of the most important media for propaganda. Absolutely.”

At the opening Ellen could be seen wearing a very large and very gold necklace by Bruno Martinazzi. At Maurer Zilioli, jewelry ≥ visual art.

Ellen Mauer Zilioli (in blue), Annamaria Zanella (to her right) and Renzo Pasquale

download the press release <——

The Italians seem to be hittin’ it in the big old world right about now. Here are some happenings (click on the pictures and/or names for more info):

Maria Rosa Franzin and Graziano Visintin at Orfèo, Luxembourg, march 23 – April 29

•Renzo Pasquale and Annamaria Zanella at Galerie Louise Smit, Amsterdam, April 1 – May 4

Fabrizio Tridenti exhibited at Louise Smit earlier in the year as well, Jan 8 – Feb 18

Rosalba Balsamo at Antonella Villanova, Florence, April 20- May 20

•Stefano Marchetti will be doing a workshop at Le Arti Orafe in Florence, Italy. Hacking Ideas, A Way of Thinking in Jewellery Design, July 23- July 26

There was also a big Italian presence at Schmuck; the young and fabulous Margherita de Martino Norante exhibited at the messe in Munich along side two of the Italian greats, Graziano Visintin, and Francesco Pavan! Margherita also exhibited at the show Suspended during Schmuck 2012 at Studio Gabi Green.

Marchetti, Visintin, Pavan and Zanella were also represented in Die Renaissance des Emaillierens at Galerie Handwerk, also during Schmuck week.