Alchimia, School of Contemporary Jewellery and Design, cordially invites to:
Project launch, exhibition opening and speeches: 17 October 2013
Speeches: 5:00 p.m.
Opening: 6:00 p.m.
Exhibition runs: 18 – 20 October 2013
9 am – 6 pm
Location: Alchimia, School of Contemporary Jewellery and Design
Piazza Piattellina 3/r, 50124 Florence, Italy
Supported by the exhibition and gallery programme, Kunststiftung Sachsen-Anhalt
and the Otago Polytechnic / Te Kura Matatini ki Otago Research Fund
A publication with essays by Mònica Gaspar, Petra Hölscher and Pravu Mazumdar
will be published on occasion of the exhibition.
The collaborative project p l a c e _ m e n t has been developed by three jewellery artists through their shared interest in the dynamic of jewellery as both public signifier and intimate object. Their countries of residence and origin – Germany, Italy and New Zealand – continue to shape their individual practices and identities as contemporary makers. Whilst their practices vary, each artist contributes to the field of contemporary jewellery through the manipulation of objects to raise questions about the idea of origin and, at the same time, to explore the complexity of cultural and personal identity in today’s increasingly hybridized world.
Alessandra Pizzini works with intimate objects as signifiers of identity. These personal or ‘favoured’ objects are usually things a person takes particular care of and keeps in special places, things like souvenirs, found objects, photos, heirlooms and, in particular, jewellery. The longing for such objects becomes more prevalent in those moments of transition that denote significant changes in our lives, moments frequently marked by ritual, celebration and, of course, by the object itself. With their unique symbolic and fetishistic character, such objects seem to have accompanied our human evolution as an anthropological constant.
Johanna Zellmer’s contribution to the larger framework of place·ment emerges as a direct outcome from her work with 10DM commemorative coins, during which the German eagle as heraldic sign emerged as the key player. In the process of working with these coins, she became very interested in the question of national representation; a topic that poses a considerable challenge for a nation such as Germany with its particular history. Responses from New Zealand and German audiences to this work led her to question how individuals identify with the iconographic symbols of their nations. New Zealand, as a former colony with Treaty obligations, is very attentive to the particular issues of a bi-cultural nation; a fact that confronts newly arrived immigrants with some interesting questions. As a German citizen with permanent residence in New Zealand, Zellmer is regularly confronted with the complexities of her own cultural ‘place-ment’.
Beate Eismann’s work investigates the potential of reproduction and its relationship to the object of origin. Playing with this notion, Eismann scans analogue printing masters (metal clichés) and uses the digital data as the basis for generating a three dimensional “re-materialisation” which is then used along with the original to create jewellery and form objects. The reproductions of printing masters are traded as ‘originals’ on the art market, something which essentially they are not. By working with clichés Eismann raises complex questions concerning the status of original and copy, original form and reproduction, and even the place of copyright.
The aim of this collaboration was to generate a ‘conversation’ at the intersection of these individual but related perspectives. By de-contextualising, re-working and re-placing existing materials, all three artists have used their work to challenge traditional readings of place, significance and value. Their work raises questions about the idea of origin and, at the same time, explores issues of cultural and personal identity in today’s increasingly complex world.
Each artist’s interpretation has evolved through on-going dialogue, both in person and on-line, so that the conceptual framework of the project is appropriately hybrid in both its origins and outcomes.
Being a place of teaching, learning and exploratory exchange, Alchimia is well suited to the project’s aspiration to extend their conversation to engage a wider audience. The exhibition opening will therefore be followed by a symposium with floor talks by each artist. The associated publication, which includes academic essays by Mònica Gaspar, Petra Hölscher , and Pravu Mazumdar, is intended to further extend the parameters of the conversation to include philosophical and art historical enquiries alongside contemporary studio practice.