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exhibitions / mostre

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

We are glad to say that Patrick Davison has won the Goldsmiths’ Fair 2016 Best New Design Award (Week Two) for Box: a container, an object and a sculpture, only 50mm tall and with a fascinating and intricate surface’s pattern made of silver, brass, copper, bronze, and nickel silver (alpaca).

Patrick Davison Goldsmith Fair Box

Box, fine silver,sterling silver, copper, bronze, nickle silver, brass,  2015

 

Patrick Davison Goldsmith Fair Box

Who is Patrick Davison

A student of Alchimia in the past, and a contributing faculty today, Patrick is a jewellery designer whose practice is defined by a process-led work which incorporates silver and mixed metals.

He studied at the Glasgow School of Art and at Alchimia Contemporary Jewellery School in Florence with Ruudt Peters. After graduation he returned to Kent in England and set up his workshop where he continues to work. He began to develop his own work exploring a variety of gold and silversmithing techniques and complementing this personal practice with work in jewellery workshops.

 

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Necklace, silver, shibuichi, 2015

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Porphyry, box, silver, shibuichi, bronze, brass copper, 2014

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Box (oval), silver, nickel silver, 2014

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walls of the church/of the temple, vessel, silver, nickel silver, bronze, brass, copper, 2014

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Brooches, all from 2016

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Box, silver, Fine silver, Bronze, Brass, Copper, 2016

Goldsmiths’ Fair

Goldsmiths’ Fair is one of the most important events for contemporary jewellery of the UK, organized every year by the Goldsmith Company.

For over two weeks 150 independent makers, from young talents to more established professionals, from all over Britain are selected by a panel of experts to present their work in this context.

For more information please visit: https://www.goldsmithsfair.co.uk

by Chumeng Weng

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View from the vitrine of EContemporary Gallery

In early September, when stores were sluggish from the August heat and new students started to invade the city again, I got a chance to escape to the north of Italy. Trieste, a city bordered by Slovenia and the Adriatic Sea, has impressed me with its multicultural background and a scenic view. To skip the lonely planet kind of introduction, I’ll jump to saying that Trieste is also the hometown of Carla Movia who is a promising graduate student and teaching assistant of Alchimia. She is a jeweler, an artist, a generous host during my trip, and above all a dear friend.

Carla Movia participated in a project titled Artefatto, the result of a yearly open call for participation addressed to young emerging artists from all over the world under 31 years old and based on a different theme each year. The project was initiated by the Youth Aggregation Centres of the Municipality of Trieste as a result of a networking between educational institutions, cultural organizations, local communities and their younger generations. The Municipality of Trieste supported and enhanced this event through an art exhibition and several collateral activities such as ARTEFATTO zoom!

The 11th edition of Artefatto included the work of 40 artists, 8 of which were selected to be part of a show also in ARTEFATTO zoom, in different spaces of the city related to a number of curatorial choices.

The opening took place on September 9th with an ice installation by Fabio Ranzolin placed in the middle of the entrance of ITIS (Azienda pubblica di Servizi alla Persona). A nursing home is not normally associated to art activities. However this environment the artist chose spoke very directly to the topics he wanted to address: the personal experience with his mother suffering from the Alzheimer Disease. Two rows of wine glasses were placed on a block of ice with pure friction. Intensified dripping sound corresponding to the action was being constantly looped in the background. Each second the tension was stretched a bit more since the sound kept reminding the audiences that there would be a moment when the friction will no longer hold the glasses on the ice block as slowing melting away, and all would snap into a million of pieces. It was not a site specific piece but was extremely fitting with the artist’s intention. It was beautiful to perceive the strong collaboration, the support and solidarity existing between very different sectors of the city.

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Fabio Ranzolin setting up the wine glasses on ice block in ITIS

After this opening event, four exhibitions inaugurated too, all only for one hour, and in four locations. Artworks used a variety of media, and locations seemed to have always been carefully chosen in relation to the content of the exhibitions. It really felt as an exhibition organized by and for young people, jumping around locations on high heels and never complaining, even though I wonder what it meant for the artists to have a one hour only show.

Carla Movia was one of the 8 finalists, and exhibited some of her brooches (part of her graduate work) at the art gallery EContemporary in a show curated by Elena Cantori. Amongst all paintings, sculptures, photographs, videos and installations, jewellery sounded like an odd field to be included. However, and fortunately, to discuss whether or not contemporary jewellery belonged to the visual arts world seemed rather unnecessary at this point. For it is not the medium that determines whether or not something should be considered as art. In fact the most important aspect here seemed to be whether the artworks were capable of communicating the artists’ thoughts and research to the public in a creative way. Artists didn’t need a million dollar idea to start with, but an originality in their proposed answer to the general thematic framework. Carla Movia’s jewellery pieces were perfectly responding to this context. Her collection of brooches is made out of cans composed of containers and lids. They are a vivid illustration of marginalized individuals evaluated due to pre-established prejudices and processes of stereotyping. Stripped off of their original functions as cans, they become brooches, portraits, sculptures and recordings of a statement. Most importantly, they become a symbol of our societal norms. Movia does not only represent an issue, but also encourages a moment of reflection to a public that is essentially implicated in the problem.

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Carla Movia and her collection in EContemporary Gallery

I find that the world of contemporary jewellery takes itself too seriously. Why are we often so persistent in our need to define what we do and where we belong to? Is it self reassurance we need, to justify the fact that we produce a type of jewellery that has nothing to do with the traditional jewellery making doctrine? Movia in this case did not trouble herself with defining the boundaries of contemporary jewellery or contemporary art. She did not even have the intention to blur disciplinary borders or to be a “jewellery activist” of sort. To be fair not everyone has an instinctual understanding of her works and it’s not easy to reach the conceptual and formal qualities she achieved. Her work is the result of years of practice, research and discussion. Movia studied at Alchimia for five years and to some extent Alchimia can really be considered more than a jewellery school, as the questions you face during your studies there become existential, philosophical, they put into questions a lot of who you are and what you do, leading to continuously reconsidering yourself.

All the artists participating in the show at Econtemporary gallery had to personally introduce their work before an audience. Movia’s talent in talking about her work proved once again how Alchimia’s students are armed from head to toe to defend their work. Movia was able to talk about her project in just a few sentences like a veteran that talked about her war badges all the time.

I felt lucky to be a fellow classmate of Movia and see how her thoughts and works have developed over the past two years. Of course not all of us have her strength and mentality, and not all of us are interested in creating relations between jewellery techniques, worldwide conflicts and self recognition. But Alchimia over the past years has achieved so much in the contemporary jewellery scene. With her students being awarded all around the world and the school being nominated at different fairs and competitions…prospective students flock into the school like mad worshippers. The quality of teaching is not a guarantee for success, we as students also need to put in a huge amount of effort and energy. It always is a mutual interaction that leads to collaboration as well as conflict.

Best of luck to all the young artists out there, stay young, stay hungry.

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Chumeng Weng lived and studied in Shenyang, China for 18 years before studying fine art in Canada. Still looking for a better self, she spent one year in technical jewellery making until attending Alchimia where not only her perception of jewellery has been altered greatly but also her philosophy towards ways of living has been reinterpreted.

Mid August has passed, and you are probably trying to enjoy the few days left of this summer….so while you hurry to the beach or to that beautiful path into the mountains, or leisure in the luxurious greens of some not-so-hot spot, here we share with you what some of our students have been doing, because in the end vacation can get boring, too. At least for Alchimists.

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In Amsterdam, guided by their MFA tutor Lucy Sarneel, the students of our second year MFA program have been presenting a pop-up exhibition titled “Moments of Perspective”, introducing to a diverse cultural crowd their two-years long research and a number of statements around it. In essence this was a moment to try-out ideas regarding the difficult task of thinking in and through space their jewelry pieces, while also having to mediate them to an audience. Their texts were the product of a three-days workshop with AJF editor in chief Benjamin Lignel, who worked with them on creative writing, meaning analyzing and experimenting with the many ways in which a work can exist and be described through words, thinking of language as a powerful form of craft, part and parcel of the students’ collections.

This activity is part of a pedagogical process that supports students in going public, addressing holistically the many aspects that constitute the profession of a contemporary jewelry maker.

Enjoy images (and the rest of the holidays), and more soon.

Yours,

Alchimia

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Chumeng Weng

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Marissa Ryan Racht

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Lilian Mattuschka

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  • all photos by Chumeng Weng and Marissa Ryan Racht

Unveiled was an exhibition organized by the second year BFA students of Alchimia. The end result of this endeavour was very Alchimish, a term that has grown to describe the multicultural environment the institution is so distinctly famous for. In essence, you could see the personal development of each student branching out from the Alchimia tree, a strong correlation between their practices, like interlocking roots underneath the rainforest. The students categorized themselves into 4 sections based on material research, social commentary, narrative and emotional voyage. This illustrated the many creative possibilities contemporary jewellery offers, and how individuality can shine through a community.

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Ziji Zhang, Do You Feel the Power?, brooches, 2016, wood, silver, steel. Photo by Diana Pantea

Upon entering the visitors were greeted by Zac Zhang’s countless blue and red wooden brooches puzzling together in a squared frame. The combination of these two colors reminded me of the two extremities of a magnet. The forces of repulsion and attraction between the magnetic poles were strong enough to cause all the color blocks to jiggle in a chaotic yet rhythmic way. Zac dressed himself in a black skin-tight costume while pinning the brooches on one side of his suit. Like one of those American superheroes coming alive from comic books, his powers didn’t allow him to be placed alongside the common beings. Hence he had to stand alone, with freedom and solitude.

After passing through this one-man show, visitors were flanked by two rows of artists’ statements on the corridor wall. I wonder if the other students could have borrowed some of Zac’s superpowers given they seemed to be almost afraid of misunderstanding, as they decided to release long explanations about their work before presenting it. I think that it would have been more intriguing if the students wrote shorter introductory texts, since most people, including myself, are usually eager to see the real thing first (and of course to get their wine, positioned only at the far end of the exhibition space).

I felt a surge of quietness flowing into me while walking through the white fabrics that fell freely over the many benches-turned-tables. My eyes could follow the curves of the white valleys converging into each series of work. It was as if I was walking through an archive room that only opens once in a while. Somehow the setting established an oppressed and remote atmosphere that resonated with most of the works presented, giving the visitors some clues of what to expect next.

Ziwei Yi created a bag of secrets to be filled by visitors, an interactive tool that became a way to speak about the core aspect of her work, dealing with hidden personal stories. In an accompanying book, Yi showed respect to the many people that trusted her with their secrets by binding the page containing content inward, making it readable only through an active gesture of incision. It was a beautiful symbolic act, inviting people to take a distance from their personal traumas, naughty memories and whatsoever. To her right, Margaret Muncheimer presented a series of miniature Wunderkammer filled with found objects stripped from their primal functions and meanings. With the same respect Yi has given to people, Muncheimer created a moment of recognition for the many objects that we often overlook.

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Ziwei Yi, The Memoir of Tata, pendants and interactive bag for secrets, 2016, mixed materials. Photo by Chumeng Weng

 
 On the other side of the white drapery hill was Vanessa Karla and her research on dyed rice paper. She was the only student revealing the secret of her ingredients by displaying some pieces in progress, forming a never ending circle of experimentation and evolution. To the left of her pieces one could detect another kind of devotion, one very different from Karla’s. Eleonora Natali realized pieces entirely focused on only one form and its many meanings, that of the labyrinth. There was not much variation, both material and style wise. I tried to follow the paths of her labyrinths visually, which led me to nowhere since reaching a valid exit is not the point of her works. Her pieces favour no one, nor herself. They exist for no answer, nor question. The rigid lines that formed the paths through the maze continuously reminded me of how much she struggled in a journey of her own. But she persisted to walk through, maybe circling around but never stopping, and I felt a huge respect for her extremely focused approach and discipline.
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Vanessa Karla, (Un)controlled, material experiment, 2016, rice paper, sepia ink. Photo by Chumeng Weng

Proceeding to the mid section of the exhibition, here three collections with great simplicity were topped off with Clara Nguyen’s complex reinterpretation of the wilderness. All collections in this section were producing a sound, name it a whisper or just noise. They also shared a kind of nostalgia towards interaction. Bonnie Hsu utilized the softness of cotton cloth and the brittleness of maple wood to play a childhood melody. The smooth wires of Anna Hui seemed to be so effortlessly bended with the fingers of God, they were evoking a longing for intimacy in human relationships. Similarly, Lina Gorbach used pictures that highlighted the function and the purpose of each piece in relation to the other. I particularly appreciated the quietness of the pictures and the slight hint of humor in her accompanying book. Without the images, the pieces would have been so minimal and out of context that they might have only resembled well designed objects. However, I would have loved to see the pieces coming out of their beautifully executed box as it was too intimidating to pick them up and try them on.
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 Lina Gorbach, The Space between the Two, Objects, 2016, mixed material. Photo by Kawin Leenutaphong

Amongst many weighty topics, Marisa Leenutaphong managed to break through by juxtaposing her seriousness in craftsmanship with the absurdity in combining recognizable human forms with other creatures. Her work evoked in me a curiosity that I hadn’t felt since childhood, yet if I were a child I would definitely not have understood her sarcastic charm that only stings the so called grown-ups.

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Marisa Leenutaphong, Snake snake fish fish, pendant and brooch, 2016, silver, ribbon, toy doll parts. Photo by Kawin Leenutaphong

 In a total pastel pink setting that evoked the stereotypical female characteristics, Daria Olejniczak reflected on the idea of the female body perfection. Her seemingly aynonmous fashion-magazine-styled book achieved a strong criticality by posing sharp rhetorical questions. However, there was something missing in her pieces, the bitterness was lost in their beautiful appearence, with too smooth edges and soft elements. Differently, Irene Belfi took on a rather neutral standpoint by exploring the purity of materials and the sensory reactions corresponding to them. Her work proofed the importance of collaboration amongst different disciplines. I admire the flexibility of her approach and would love to be as courageous as she is when approaching others.
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Irene Belfi, Con-tatto, bracelet, 2016, mixed materials. Photo by Kawin Leenutaphong

Finally, at the far end of the exhibition space, a row of iron plates and compressed copper bracelets strangely showed how a man can endure to be cut and torn without crying out loud. The sensibility behind Yanis Turcarelli’s pieces has a strong feminine touch that many great male jewellers possess, think for example of Ruudt Peters, Alexander Blank, or Kiko Gianocca. It seemed to be a fit choice to have him concluding the exhibition since his work is extremely emotional and personal, which guided the visitor’s back to the exhibition’s beginning and general thematic framework. Turcarelli has certainly put a plug into a bathtub full of whatever emotion the visitors have been accumulating thus far, leaving it floating and then sinking into the bottom of their hearts.

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Yanis Turcarelli, Chrysalis, bracelet, 2016, copper. Photo by Chumeng Weng

As a whole all the works were carefully thought through and well executed. As a student myself, I feel for them, struggling between technique and conceptual development, while being in a process of learning to master both aspects. Like all effective antidotes, the distinctive Alchimish language brought to the experience its own side effects. Most of the works were very solemn, sometimes even emotionally too heavy. Fortunately those pieces were counteracted by some lighter or less melodramatic moods. All in all, the show was conceptually rigorous, its own title acting as a real keyword through it. The process of unveiling, whatever the motivation and the subject being undressed, and whether or not one liked this nudeness, was an honest presentation of their two years experience.

In a separate room, the first year BFA students were showcasing their body of works created in homage to other artists. Their exhibition, titled Echo, was a fairly standard set up where students laid out their creations on one side and accompanying books on another. These students are still quite new with jewellery making, but you could notice their enthusiasm and professionalism in the metal working, their love and care for details, despite tiny mistakes.

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Echo, exhibition view.  Photo by Chumeng Weng

Chumeng Weng lived and studied in Shenyang, China for 18 years before studying fine art in Canada. Still looking for a better self, she spent one year in technical jewellery making until attending Alchimia where not only her perception of jewellery has been altered greatly but also her philosophy towards ways of living has been reinterpreted.