Florence Jewellery Week, 28th of May- 3rd of June, 2015
Curator, Giò Carbone
The 2015 edition has moved from a peculiar concept and has assumed a different form from the usual exhibition, by organizing a week of events entirely devoted to contemporary jewellery and the complex relationships with the design and the craft, with the realization of exhibitions, conferences, workshops, meetings and demonstrations of artists and craftsmen.
Artistic research, handicrafts, design, new technologies.
Artistic research, design and quality craftsmanship are closely-linked aspects, sometimes difficult to distinguish. One without the others would not make sense, and each one has its roots in the others.
In recent decades these aspects have been artificially and forcibly set in opposition to each other, but nowadays this trend is changing, to the benefit of mutual attention and integration.
Artistic research has made tremendous progress over the past 40 years, especially in Europe, while in this part of the world quality craftsmanship seemed to be back in a "runner-up" position, and design has been mainly linked to industrial production. The jewellery designer, understood as a person who invents, manufactures and markets his/her products, found significant space in a few countries, such as Germany and the UK, while remaining marginal in Italy.
In recent years, many young people have returned to manual and creative activities (by natural choice or due to unfavorable economic conditions, and supported by new technologies), rediscovering the value of traditional knowledge and skills, until recently considered "outdated" and therefore not very interesting.
An important role in this “return to crafts” is played by new technologies (especially the CAD world), the widespread use of alternative materials, and the ability to combine different skills in the creation of objects to wear ..... the jewel finally seems released from its "dusty" concept and creating jewellery becomes a very palatable field of experimentation.
In different geographical areas, such as Africa and India, craft activity is still a very important aspect of social life. The artifacts are related to family and clan rituals, to social status, to religious and secular celebrations, and materials, as well as work processes, have remained unchanged.
These aspects are a rich heritage, not only to the society in which they have developed, but for all mankind.
The project aims to contribute to the reconciliation of these aspects by presenting the work of some artists (from Europe, China, India and Russia), some designers and some master craftsmen from Italy, Africa and India.
Schools and academies have an important role in spreading the culture related to artistic research, design, and the transmission of craft traditions and skills.
The FJW project also includes a tribute to the city of Florence, which can boast a glorious past for its "botteghe" and of course for the incomparable glories of its artists, but lives in a present that has slowly depleted this content. A few excellences still survive in the town, and in recent times show signs of revival thanks to some young people who are courageously rediscovering quality craftsmanship.
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Nora Fok is a jewellery artist who expresses her ideas in a personal and distinctive way. Born in Hong Kong, in 1955, she finishes her studies in Three dimensional design (Hong Kong Polytechnic) and Wood, Metal, Ceramics and Pastics (Brighton Polytechnic) in 1984 and lives and works in Hove, England. Using mainly nylon thread, she is weaving and knitting delightful and delicate pieces of jewellery with the most basic tools. Her inspiration comes from asking questions about nature and its complex balance of structure and randomness, which she addresses in all aspects of her work. Her works are part of international collections and exhibitions.
Xavier Monclús lives and works as jewellery artist in Menorca, Spain. Born in 1966 in Barcelona he studies jewellery at the Escola Massana at his place of birth. He is well known for his playful, toy like jewellery pieces, that push the limitations of wearability and feature an infantile aesthetics behind which we can always find a deeper sense. Appropriated images can be found in new, surreal contexts. In his later work he is focusing more on geometric shapes and textures, never leaving the figurative world. His activities as a lecturer and curator as well as his many international exhibitions bring him and his works all over the world.
Philip Sajet born 1955 in Amsterdam, is known for his highly aesthetic and clearly structured jewellery pieces, featuring a variety of materials such as rough stones and enamels as well as a colour palette reaching from radiant to subtle. After his education at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy, Amsterdam he takes an internship with Francesco Pavan, one of the pioneers of Italian contemporary jewellery. His works are determined by a distinct approach to beauty and subtle tactile qualities. He works and lives in Germany and France and his pieces are part of important collections such as the Stedeljik Museum Amsterdam or the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Mi-Mi moscow is a union of two independent artists, Mila Kalnitskaya and Micha Maslennikov who are both educated at the Stroganov Moscow State University of Arts and Industry. They are working and exhibiting together since 1985 and live and work in Moscow and Galzignano, Italy. The eccentric couple is known for jewellery pieces that have a distinctive performative and sculptural aspect as well as strongly critical contents. They are constantly pushing the boundaries of the classical jewellery typologies and choose various formats of presentation such as performances and interviews.
Bifei Cao born in Hunan, China studied in China and the United States and is currently lecturer and PhD candidate at the Australian National University, Canberra. The omnipotent artist and teacher has a sculptural and functional approach to jewellery making, and does not hesitate to overthrow the common limits of wearability. He is appropriating various traditional Chinese techniques and developing them in his own way in order to create his unique pieces. Structures and construction play an important role and give his works a distinct aesthetics. Together with figurative elements they evoke communication beyond cultural limitations.
Kezhen Wang born 1976 in China, is educated in Art and Design at the Nanjing Institute of Arts, Nanjing, China and in Jewellery, silversmithing and related product design at the Birmingham School of Jewellery, UK. The artist and curator is Head of the Metal Crafts department at the Nanjing college of Art. Currently he is a PhD candidate at the University of Lincoln, UK. In his jewellery practice he is lightheartedly combining traditional goldsmithing techniques and concepts with new tecnologies filling them with content that relates to questions of being human and the fact that jewellery as a human expression accompanied us since ancient times.