A jewel or an object is our starting point for our artistic research and projects. We focus on multiple aspects of jewellery, such as physicality, matter, presentation, ornamentation and symbolism. We explore cultural and social meaning of these themes, mainly through artistic works and within different contexts, ranging from everyday life or public space to the art and design world or one’s own discipline. The platform ‘Precious Dialogue’ will literally and figuratively function as a conversation piece in order to stimulate dialogue.
Coördinator : Liesbet Bussche
Researchers : Liesbet Bussche, Hilde Van der Heyden, Irma Földényi
Speaking Jewellery is the latest research project of the Jewellery Design department of Sint Lucas Antwerp. Students, lecturers and researchers explore the communicative qualities of the contemporary jewel. The ‘power of speech’ of a jewel lies hidden in and among all the references that it carries. These references make the jewel readable and ensure that it attracts people. From a statement on the catwalk to an atmospheric attribute in a film. From a royal symbol to a magic grave relic. In contemporary jewellery, references to material, form, wearability, function, value, price and rarity are often overlooked or barely mobilized by the designers themselves. And yet, thanks to jewellery’s long history, these references are familiar to a broad audience. Contemporary social references such as sustainability and ecology are not at all or hardly communicated in a presentable fashion in jewellery or its display. The denial, neglect or omission of these references seems to the researchers to be one of the reasons why contemporary jewellery today is seen as hermetic.
The research project Speaking Jewellery therefore analyses the ‘language’ of jewellery and the references that it carried with it since time immemorial. We look at the elements which, we as researchers, can once more deploy to let the jewellery tell a story about itself and its genesis, its manufacturing process and its meaning. How can we let the jewel ‘speak’ again? In each artistic project, the research team turns the spotlight on an archetype from the history of jewellery. In the first artistic project, we focus on the chain necklace. The necklace is, like the string of pearls or the signet ring, an icon in the world of jewellery. It is an essential part in both the more traditional and the contemporary design practice. Its many, varied manifestations are a rich source of well-founded and accessible research. Can the chain necklace let the contemporary jewel communicate once more with a group of people that not only consists of makers, wearers or collectors?
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