The Italian Barbara Paganin will be one of the main guests of the Florence Jewellery Week 2020, a cultural event organized by Le Arti Orafe Jewellery School and completely devoted to contemporary body decoration. It will take place from 28th May to 4th June, located around the city, in historic buildings and art galleries. Paganin’s masterpieces will be exhibited in the former refectory inside the Santa Maria Novella museum complex, together with other works by Giovanni Corvaja, Suk Chun Oh, Cóilín Ó Dubhghaill, Kazumi Nagano, Sam Tho Duong and alongside the Karl & Heidi Bollman Collection.
I had the pleasure of asking Barbara about her work:
During the FJW, the Memoria Aperta jewellery series will tell us about you and your personal universe. These ornaments have a strong biographical and emotional charge. They are “intimate” jewels, keepers of childhood secrets, revealed through the wearer’s body. How was this collection born and where do all these miniature silver and porcelain objects, old photographs, small dolls that make up your jewellery come from?
BARBARA PAGANIN: “In 2011, I felt the need to have a new goal: not just wearable jewels, with balanced compositions, rich in new colours, carefully constructed using various materials, but also jewels that can transmit emotions and make memories re-emerge. Here is how the Memoria Aperta project takes shape, designed as site-specific for the Palazzo Fortuny Museum in Venice and then toured in various countries in Europe and overseas.
Jewels in which everyone could find something personal, jewels that were able to bring back memories of the past.
In Memoria Aperta I speak of myself, of my real or dreamlike memories, but I also leave space for others’ memory. Precisely for that reason I did not give a title and I did not want to explain the meaning of each brooch too much, so as not to influence other people with my personal reading of the work, whereas leaving them the opportunity to see what they want, their own story, their own memories, their intimate emotions.
I have seen people moved in front of some of these brooches and in front of some Catarsi series necklace too. They are people who attached strong emotional value to these jewels.
The small objects contained are part of a collection that my father had, enriched with pieces that I bought over the years a bit around markets or antique shops during various trips and in Venice. I still have a lot of them.
It was a great test of courage to separate myself from these adorable objects and decide to put them in another context. Usually it is tempting to keep them as they are, instead I wanted to give them another life, reuse them by creating something new. They are all elements that have had their own history, have been used, have signs, sometimes they are broken.
The precious stones that I used are mainly stones with inclusions because they convey more the feeling of natural stone with its own story too. Large and coloured stones, fairytale stones.”