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Daria Olejniczak –  lighting designer with an over 10-years- long career in architectural lighting, who freshly graduated in contemporary jewelry at Alchimia, curated Light Matters, a group exhibition taking place during the Munich Jewellery Week at the Erco Showroom with works by Daria Borovkova, Maria Ignacia Walker, Lavinia Rossetti, Lena Grabher, Valentina Caprini and Daria herself.

We have asked her to look back at this experience and share it with us.

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Exhibition view, photograther: Lukas Gaechter

THE IDEA

I was in Munich in 2016, having a look at the shows of other jewellery artists. Of course as a a lighting designer I always tend to pay attention to the illumination first. Unfortunately, I had to notice that lighting was treated pretty superficially. All the designers during the jewelry week face similar challenges, as they exhibit in spaces that are often used only temporarily as galleries, so I understand that the effort to organize a professional lighting is usually just too overwhelming (or expensive). However this was exactly the moment I got struck and decided to connect my two professions in one show. From my experience, I can say that whenever I have this kind of “aha-moment” in life, sooner or later my vision comes true. More or less one year later, I was in Munich standing in a room with 5 other artists, happy to open the show LIGHT MATTERS to the public. In the exhibition light was exactly as important as the pieces, and had a leading role in the developing of the concept, the title, the displays, the choice of the pieces, the promotion and the marketing.

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Work: Series “PiGreco” by Lavinia Rossetti, Photographer: Lukas Grabher

THE PREPARATION

For me the first step was to find artists who are motivated, hard-working and whose pieces interact differently with light. Intuitively I decided to work with Daria Borovkova, Maria Ignacia Walker, Lavinia Rossetti, who I knew from the school, and two other artists Lena Grabher and Valentina Caprini, who I had never met before. I liked the variety of the textures, colours, materials we used in our works. Optic lenses, transparencies, perforations, fine-mesh-structures, organic forms all correspond in their own way with different qualities of light – as colour rendering index, beam angle, light temperature, etc.

Together we prepared a common portfolio and I decided to approach ERCO, one of the internationally known lighting fixtures manufacturer, which specializes in adjustable spotlights, commonly used in museums and galleries. I was happy that my proposal for cooperation was taken very positively. I went to Munich to see the venue of the Erco Showroom, which happened to be a beautiful spacious office in an old city house.

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Work: Series “Pink roots” by Valentina Caprini

 

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Work: Series “Bodies” by Daria Olejniczak

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Work: Series “Being and belonging” by Daria Borovkova

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Work: Series “Piel” by Maria Ignacia Walker

THE EXECUTION

I found it very important to stay focused and dot down all the tasks which had to be performed till the opening. It was a lot! Finances, displays, press release, application for the event, photos, catalogue design, printing and marketing, require a lot of time and patience. I am very grateful to my team for understanding that it was sometimes stressful for me to be in charge of all the coordination. Eventually all went well, despite many hurdles on the way, which it is good to laugh about at the end. The regularity of the meetings and the discussions allowed us to stay motivated, and to complete all of the tasks (otherwise the collective goal diffuses). We were eager to use all the latest digital means of communication, doodle, skype, dropbox, google shared files, which made it possible to share info and communicate effectively despite the distance that was between us – I live in Berlin, Lena in Vienna, and the others are based in Florence.

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Work: Series “Diplopia” by Lena Grabher

THE OPENING

LIGHT MATTERS received an overwhelming positive response, which makes me believe the reason behind it was the fresh idea of bringing together two realities of contemporary jewellery and high-tech lighting, connection which was never made before. Also the diversity of the visitors made it extra interesting – not only the contemporary jewellery community was there, but also architects, designers and ERCO customers. The opening was announced as the “highlight of the day” by Wiener Schmucktage and it happened to be on the personal galleries route of Bella Neyman (owner of the Gallery Reinstein Ross in New York) which was published in the Current Obsession Magazine.

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Exhibition opening

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THE LEARNING

I am especially happy and proud that this first show created new possibilities for the whole group, and for myself. LIGHT MATTERS was invited to the Silver Festival in Legnica in Poland, where it can be seen on May 19 and 20. It also got accepted as part of an art festival in Berlin, the 48 Std. Neukölln, where again the exhibition will be hosted by the ERCO Showroom from June 23 to 25. These results show me that it was all worth the effort. After the closure of the exhibition, when all the excitement leaves, it’s good to sit down and note all the things that went well and what could be improved. And than enjoy, enjoy that moment of pride.

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Exhibition opening

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Exhibition opening

 

 

 

Dear jewelry friends,

it is often said that Florence has very little devoted to contemporary cultures, so on a grey Sunday like this we decided to pitch to you three shows of contemporary visual arts we believe you shouldn’t miss while here. And we believe so because all of them, although in completely different ways and rather laterally more than literally, engage with the human body and its representation. Un-doubtly food for thought for jewelry makers around the world.

[Disclaimer: two out of the three shows we recommend have been curated or organized by some of our present or past Alchimia Team members. This is to say that we are not entirely partial but also that our staff really is the best you can find around.]

We start with WOMAN POWER a solo-show by Maria Lassnig (1914 – 2014), on view until June 25 at the Andito deli Angiolini of Palazzo Pitti. A paramount austrian artist of the XX century, this exhibition features 25 of her works, spanning her career from the beginning of the Sixties and until the first decade of the XX century. The female body and its self-representation are at the core of her practice, for a path that calls for women’s emancipation.

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It’s also so beautiful to read in capital letters Woman Power in front of one of the city’s strongest symbols)

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Electronic Renaissance, a solo-show by Bill Viola at Palazzo Strozzi on view until July 23.

Viola has explored Christianity and its representation in the XV and XVI century as a tool to reflect on contemporary society and its faces and facets. With a touch of new age spiritual vibe, his works are a whirlwind of emotions and spectacularity. A reflection about life and death as felt and seen through the decay or perfection of the human body.

Whether you like this master of video-art or not, this is an exhibition that is worth seeing already for two main reasons: one is that for the first time Viola’s relation to Renaissance’s painting is brought to the fore via a direct dialogue with the original paintings he was inspired by; the second is that this is a large solo-exhibition through which you can experience and understand the artist’s practice from the seventies and until today, hence allowing for a much more nuanced understanding of his oevre as a whole (including jewels of documentation of Viola’s three years experience working as an assistant in Tuscany with the ground breaking Art/tapes/22).

Our dream art history and cultural theory professor Riccardo Lami has been a core member in the organization of this show.

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Essentially Jérôme Bel offers a different approach to dance. One in which dancers become speaking subjects and the co-authors of his works. In which professional dancers and amateurs from different cultural and social contexts have access, together, to the stage. Where the realm of the “real” and of its excluded subjects becomes the content and form of his choreographic pieces.

Also in this exhibition the body and its forms are paramount, a body that is diverse and emancipated, a body that is hard to see at the centre stage: where disabled, elderly, people with diverse cultural and ethnical backgrounds, and even children, perform a dance that moves miles away from our standard conception of beauty and movement.

The show will open on Friday the 28th without the classic on-invite-only-entrance: so get yourself together and make the effort to go to Prato where you’ll be able to see the exhibition for free and experience a number of live performances for the occasion (at 7 and at 9pm + an ongoing one). 

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Enjoy the week and go see some art.

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Alchimia

 

A report by Lilian Mattuschka

With photos by Piero Arico

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Otto Kunzli, Quidam, from 7.03 to 14.03 2017 at Galerie Wittembrik

As every year during the jewellery week, Munich is invaded by strange characters, recognizable thanks to their unique tendency to wear ornament and decoration.

During these intense days, you will see colourful broaches, big necklaces and eye-catching rings all around the city, and if these signs are not evident enough you can identify them because of the one common object everyone holds tight in their hands: the Current Obsession map/book.

Makers, collectors, gallerists, students and just curious people (way less than the others, indeed) from different cultural backgrounds come together with a common goal: contemporary jewellery.

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Pearl Necklace, 2016, Carved freshwater pearls

As a professional myself, I want to share my favourites of this Munich jewellery week 2017:

BEATRICE BROVIA AND NICOLAS CHENG, “GOLD RUSH”

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Gold Rush, 2017, Exhibition view, Beatrice Brovia and Nicolas Cheng

One of the most interesting and complete exhibitions in this year´s schmuck thanks to a perfectly working dialog between the display and the pieces.

Visitors were encouraged to look beyond the regular ways in which highly precious materials are used in the jewellery field, and to reflect on their controversial nature.

With a series of very clean and aesthetically pleasing pieces made out of e-waste Brovia and Cheng where putting their focus on the normally invisible uses of gold.

AKIKO KURIHARA “THE CAT DID IT”

Smart and funny as every year. Always a pleasure to visit and see what new game is on the table of Akiko Kurihara.

JORGE MANILLA “ABRUPTIONS”

A mysterious and dark experience in strong contrast with the enthusiastic crowd of visitors that were literally fighting to touch the enchanting skin of these guts-like pieces.

COCO SUNG “KARMA”

Freedom was the first thing that came to my mind when I entered in CoCo Sung’s show. Refreshing and inspiring, a beautiful combination between painting and jewellery.

Sung opened up to visitors her imaginary world with courage and great ability in combining colour, shapes and material.

To know more about Alchimia jewellery school in Florence check our main website.

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Marissa Ryan Racht’s new body of work titled Farview, outcome of a two-year research developed within the MA program of Alchimia, exists on what she defines as “the fine line between fear and empathy that defines us as human beings, and the methods we use to conceal them or protect ourselves against them”. Delicate but ultimately rough, seducing in a rather uncanny way, hard to define or classify, her pieces could be read and experienced within a larger exhibitionary framework in which images, photographs and a video introduced the audience to her larger set of references, both architectural and biographical, and to a particular type of drawings she realized with closed eyes incited by the reading of stories of fear and empathy of other people.

But let’s start from the basics. The site of the show, was a space available for an affordable rent in the center of Florence that created the right environment for the pieces.

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Tables (and mind: beautiful ones taken from an antiquary) were hung from the ceiling so as to keep the jewelry pieces in the center of the exhibition format, surrounded by the other elements of the show such as the drawings.

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Did you notice the white leather chair? Quite a number were distributed through the space, to direct specific viewing positions Marissa was interested in facilitating.

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Marissa brought forward two collaborations, one for the images with Lilian Mattuschka, and one for a film with Federico Cavicchioli.

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She printed a beautiful catalogue in 60 copies, designed by Lumy Noguez, with texts by curator and writer Riccardo Lami and herself, images of the pieces and many of her drawings. The price is 15eu only for special and limited edition, so we can’t but encourage to get one at your earliest convenience.

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Last but not least: the carefully arranged food, as Marissa really takes care of every detail.

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And of course as always we recommend: don’t forget to thanks friends (and family). As far as we know Carla Movia and Bernardo Cioci were paramount in making this happen.

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It’s not easy to advice jewelry maker Carla Movia. Not easy because she mostly knows and plans everything before you were even asked. She does research, she studies possibilities. She knows what has preceded her and has very strong esthetic opinions on contemporary jewelry and its different threads. She reads, she sees a lot, and is very well informed. She is hungry of a particular type of knowledge, and she perfectly knows what she is looking for. Nomen Nescio, the exhibition coming out of her 2 years research during the MFA program at Alchimia, and essentially an installation of 300 brooches, shows exactly all of that.

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The pieces highlight a uniqueness amongst the mass, hence the decision to show them in grids was a very smart one. Instead of creating chaotic crowds of pieces shown throughout the space, this type of display setting gives the visitor the chance to really care and look for the details and the differences between them.

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Each piece came with its own “passport”: literally a sort of identity document for the pieces, giving information about them, such as their names, materials, leaving space to document their journeys and speak of their future owners. This gives the pieces a political tone, one that speaks of citizenship and sense of identity.

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As we always suggest at Alchimia: do make good edition pieces. Here you can see how several in fact were sold. Please note that this can be your little contribution to society: Carla decided to donate a percentage of the sales to Oxfam, a confederation of NGO’s working on the alleviation of global poverty.

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The exhibition was held in a very beautiful private space not far from the school. This is not the best choice in terms of audiences as of course this means the space itself won’t bring in a crowd. On the other hand the esthetic result has been just what Carla was looking for. In one way or the other we find ourselves almost always having to make some compromises.

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As always, and again and again, friends play a major role in setting up an exhibition. Be always sure to check their schedule, not only yours, when planning a date.

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Polene, 2015, wood.

Weapons of Perfection, Lilian Mattuschka’s show in Florence and her graduate project for her MFA with Alchimia, was finely curated. It took place at Chiasso Perduto, an exhibition space in Florence open to different disciplines.

Here are a few things we have learned from her exhibition.

If you have a very characterized space, clean it as much as possible of any unnecessary element and play and relate to its architecture. Using a minimum amount of outsourced material (pedestals or anything of the like) will create a more organic relation between your pieces and the architecture.

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Exhibithion view.

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Exhibition view.

When your collection has a rhythm, one of those rhythms that contribute to creating a narrative, do try to emphasize it and give it a form. The legibility of your artistic intentions will be enriched by it.

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Exhibition view.

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Handle, 2016, wood.

Play with your business card or any other additional element of the show. Thinking artistically or curatorially about every aspect of the exhibition is paramount if you want to seduce your audience (and above all potential client).

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Business-cards as smile-mask.

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Exhibithion view.

If your work has a certain variety, do support that with different display methods. Here, video alternates with jewelry, the latter presented in many ways that followed form. “Some were shown in nicchie, others just on the wall, hanging from the ceiling with transparent fill, some were flying, some others were shown in boxes similar to those you would use to store weapons. Also the videos were all shown in different ways: on a computer screen, projected on a mapped wall, or in a little framed iPad. The exhibition was really playing with opposites, the pieces that were speaking of impositions or encourage physical corrections were the ones flying; they seemed like birds, or angels”.

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Silenziatore, 2016, video coming along a jewelry piece by the same title. Made in collaboration with Piero Aricó.

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Weapons of Perfection, 2016, realized in collabiration with Luca Maoceri. Performers: Giulietta Evans, Andrea Bertocci, Flavia Bardelloni, Benedetta Rustici, Piero Aricó and Viola Mattuschka.

Give a lot of thought to the way you use light. Lilian here decided to work with very low lights, to emphasize the material qualities of the wood and dramatize the space by playing with their shadows.

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Die Armee, 2016, installation, wood.

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Die Armee, 2016, installation, wood.

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Polene, 2015, wood.

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Smile, 2016, plexiglass-wood-iron.

Remember to create a space for reading, drinking and talking outside of the exhibition (or at least so in winter) if you want the exhibition to be a more silent space of contemplation.

And do mind: openings are for quick chats, while it is the following days that more engaged conversations can happen. So be there for the duration of the show if you can!

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Exhibition view.

Article originally posted at Alchimia – How to Make an Exhibition (in Florence) #2 Lillian Mattuschka

On November 26th, 2016 MFA graduating student Chumeng Weng presented her solo-show WYSIWYG at the Spazio Culturale Mentana, a project space in Florence that promotes and presents the work of young artists, from diverse disciplines.

We take this chance, and others to come, to write about what it takes (practically, financially and psychologically) to make a show, in Florence and elsewhere.

First issue you will have to deal with is that many organizations in Florence will not offer you their spaces for free (in fact some actually really speculate on the need for presentation spaces young artists have). You have to take into account some budget for that, and especially be good and smart when negotiating a price. As stereotypes often hold a degree of truth, Italians are great (read: not fair) merchants.

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Last-minute problem solving characterizes basically every single exhibition, be it a biennial or a tiny solo-show in a shoebox. While you get tired, frustrated, anxious, and sleep-less remember that this is something everyone experiences, so don’t feel guilty or overtly desperate about it. Just keep focused and make use of every little bit of time you have left, even just the last minutes can do magic.

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And HEY despite everything you made it, and even look particularly good for your own exhibition.

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Friends, particularly when dealing with the same discipline, are always essential, do ask for help, and do distribute tasks, you just can’t manage everything by yourself. Here for instance Lumy Noguez played the role of chief curatorial advisor of WYSIWYG.

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Don’t try to decode the first visitor’s thoughts about the show, there is just a fine line between looking interested, serious and absolutely bored.

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If you want or need performers in your show of course ask people that surround you and you know already. The job is hard, and shouldn’t be overdone.

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Do think about children when plotting the display. Having a baby-safe exhibition space will multiply your audience.

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NEVER forget to thank publicly everyone who helped you. Giving credit to who donated work and time to your show is not only a nice gesture, it’s a must do thing. People loved you, so do love back.

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This should go without saying, but SMILE SMILE SMILE. If you made it this far, you should be more than proud of yourself.

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Originally posted by Alchimia.it – How to Make an Exhibition (in Florence) #1 Chumeng Weng