florence jewellery week 2022 (p.2): preziosa

If you didn’t get a chance to visit the Florence Jewellery Week (FJW) this year, I am sharing some of the highlights I was able to experience. The main attraction, PREZIOSA Contemporary Jewellery, was held at the Galleria delle Carrozze of the Palazzo Medici Riccardi, via Cavour 5, Florence, Italy, April 28 – May 2, 2022. Nine international award-winning artists were invited to exhibit: Lauren Kalman, Anya Kivarkis, Rein Vollenga, Sam Tho Duong, Jayne Wallace, Kazumi Nagano, Conversation Piece (Beatrice Brovia & Nicolas Cheng), Ana Rajcevic, and Barbara Paganin.

I was most excited to see the work of one of my favorite contemporary Italian jewelry artists, Barbara Paganin, but I was also pleasantly surprised to be introduced to the work of a few others. The broad theme of the exhibition is the redefinition of contemporary jewelry and wearable sculpture, that already includes an infinite set of terms and languages of expression dealing with various materials and techniques. This entails a “dematerialization of the object” with some artists using traditional materials in an unexpected contemporary context, while others are elaborating on the re-use of non-traditional materials of the plastic and digital age, or upcycled elements presented in a new intellectual narrative.

Italian artist, Barbara Paganin, assembles old, worn objects that she has collected into narrative compositions constructed into wearable stories of our past, perhaps memories of childhood. Some of the objects, photographs, and trinkets she chooses are so familiar to me from things found in my grandmother’s house or at antique markets, little things I am easily drawn toward. As the eras from many of these objects become more distant, Paganin’s vignettes contextualize remnants of our personal and collective histories, from collection to recollection.

English artist, Jayne Wallace, combines manipulated found objects with multimedia technology to emotionally connect the wearer by humanizing the pieces with personal and familiar objects that are combined with digital media, such as video, invoking memory with our contemporary sense of self, creating an “ongoingness” of our existence.

Anya Kivarkis, from the U.S., re-examines jewelry as a material object and how it is rooted within our culture. By studying and understanding jewelry withing a historical context, she deconstructs and then reconstructs luxurious jewelry pieces in metal, creating new representations of beliefs and values within our society by suggesting new perspectives and unexpected definitions of glamour.

American artist, Lauren Kalman, has dismantled and deformed ornament for the body using her sculptural craft to redefine society’s distorted ideals of beauty and perfection. The pieces stand alone as objects, but when seen worn on the body, truly present an uncomfortable, beautiful, yet repulsive comment on materialism and the myth of the ideal.

With this work, Vietnamese artist, Sam Tho Duong, has cut, formed, and assembled recycled plastic yogurt bottles and transformed them into complex intricate organic shapes, flowers, and billowing forms.

Conversation Piece is a duo originally from Italy and Hong Kong (Beatrice Brovia & Nicolas Cheng). Their work straddles disciplines and aims to create a dialog between people, objects, materials, and technology. These pieces utilize waste products from our contemporary quotidian lives and electronic devices, questioning our social environmental impact.

Kazumi Nagano applies traditional Japanese techniques of weaving fine gold thread and paper and folding (origami) the material into abstract shapes that aim to refer to the essence of Japanese culture, that of “calm and beauty.”

The work of Ana Rajcevic of Serbia, explores the relationship between the human and animal realms, inventing mutated forms that reconnect man to our animalistic origins while at the same time forms become a metamorphosis into a new creature of future evolution.

For more info: www.preziosa.org/preziosa2022

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