Erupt 2010

Another neckpiece, and this time from, what I assume are, all new materials: silicon rubber, glass beads and linen thread. The combination of those three things does not look like what you might expect from them. The beads don’t seem to be threaded. The linen thread is wrapped around the silicon rubber instead of being covered by it! The result is a solid, organic piece with attention to detail.

An eruption seems to have happened, several craters can be be found on the surface. This is where the bare silicon is visible. The pinkish holes are surrounded by lots of tiny, bright yellow glass beads, packed together very tightly. Where the spread of yellow stops, the soft linen starts, calming the piece down and making it look more friendly. It ends with a loop on one side, and on the other side, a rounded and dented form in a brighter pink color, as if it could be the source, or start of something similar but new…. No matter what else my imagination can come up with, this beautiful neckpiece has clearly grown. It makes me think of internal body-parts, or something from the bottom of the sea, and somehow I even get weird flash-backs from the Avatar movie!

Emily Hunt included this work in her exhibition ‘Appendage*’, which I think is a great title since it refers to biology, a starting point for her pieces, as well as language. Appendage could also apply to jewelry on the body, although all the precious jewels, like the ones showcased in my vitrine, would be missed enormously!
The Appendage exhibition can be visit in gallery Metalab near Sydney in Australia, but hurry it is on until the 25th of February.

Exhibition is also showcased on Klimt02.

*Wikipedia: An appendage in the broadest sense is an additional or subsidiary part existing on, or added to, something which can generally still function if the appendage has never existed or is later provided or grown, or will still perform a primary function if the appendage is removed.


Tante Rosanne

(photograph by Johan Hespeel)

After all the male input from the Lingam exhibition in the previous post, this blog needed a female boost. And, since Tine Vindevogel has won the first prize in the 2009 four-yearly prize for arts and crafts (congratulations), an initiative of the province of West-Flanders, Belgium, her work was brought to my attention.

The title ‘Tante Rosanne’ (aunt Rosanne in Dutch) implies plenty of femininity. The fine crocodile strap used for the neckpiece, could refer to upper class ladies. The fact that is made from a vintage crocodile belt, with signs of wear and tear clearly visible, to me, refers to the ‘aunt’ part of the title.

This work is one of her ‘Migration in Jewelry’ –series, because all the works are made from old shoes, that used to migrate through the world. The wearers’ input has made the shoe more interesting to Tine Vindevogel. She has taken it even further, by migrating the material on the body as well.

The old soles in this neckpiece are carefully selected to combine their rounded shape with the rectangular shape of the belt. The tension and balance between these contradicting forms is what Tine Vindevogel is after in all her work. The result is incredibly beautiful!

I love the delicacy she puts in her work, the roughness that normally comes with soles of shoes has totally disappeared. Instead, there is a perfection that can only exist because of imperfection.

Last week, I went to the prizedraw to support my friend Aline Vandeplas, who came in second, with her ‘Gold-up’ work. Read my earlier post about her ‘Golden fruit’ here. The exhibition of the 2009 four-yearly prize for arts and crafts, is on until March 14th in Bruges, Belgium.


What are you looking for?

© Photography by Rob Versluys

After long deliberation (see previous post), I chose the work ‘What are you looking’ for by Swedish Sofia Bj√∂rkman. It shows a still-frame of an ultrasound, a western proof of fertility, a symbol of our focus on facts. This is countered by the questions on the bottom. “What are you looking for? What do you hope to see? Will you keep it? Who is responsible for your decision?” They are not the kind of questions asked when someone has an ultrasound. They make it a personal issue, a personal insecurity that comes with every pregnancy.

It is clear that it is a boy, because of his golden phallus protruding out of the picture, a beautiful way of dealing with the lingam. In Hinduism the lingam is an explosive energy, surrounded by the ongoing energy of its’ female equivalent. A clear plastic shape covers the picture, it suggests a uterus, a way of showing the female energy. But it goes further than that; the little thing in the ultrasound is her son, making it very precious, a result of love to be loved. To me, that is the true meaning of lingam.

Lingam exhibition

When I first heard about the lingam- exhibition, I thought it seemed purposely provocative. Maybe I was biased because of the provocative exhibition-mascot and by the fact that it was a Dutch exhibit. Then, Caroline Van Hoek invited me for her three-year- celebration dinner, with Ruudt Peters as a special guest. He is a renowned Dutch jewelry artist and teacher, and curator of the lingam- exhibition. Caroline sent this you tube film around and seeing it changed my mind.

In his speech, and in the film, Ruudt Peters explained how he got to make lingams himself. How they intrigued him, when he found lots in an eastern market. How big the cultural differences between east and west are; concerning the depiction of these fertility symbols, a common thing in the east, and practically non-existing in the west. He took them to the west and then was curious about other peoples’ points of view. So, he invited 122 artists to come up with a western answer to the eastern lingam, a way of showing a deeper spiritual meaning and symbolism. But when the boxes with the lingam- works arrived, he felt like he could not go through with the exhibition, the work felt out of place, almost vulgar, in our western culture. In the end, with all 122 works there, in a museum dedicated to religion (Christian art) he felt it was a true display of western society, in all it shapes and forms, through lingams.

When I was there, it was busier then I expected. It was nice to hear people comment to each other about the works. (Some were trying to see the deeper meaning and unhappy that there was not enough explanation. Some were laughing at the funny work, some were discussing the material use and some were getting excited to go and make their own lingam, great!) All the works, combined with real eastern lingams, were scattered on three big tables in one room. The walls and ceiling were painted orange except the yellowy lights directed at the work. The color reminded me of the red-lights, apparently I still could not get passed my western background. Or being inside a huge body, it was the same color as you get when you put a flashlight through the tip of your finger. Not the usual setting for contemporary jewelry exhibits. Because of this lighting, you had to get really close to get a decent look at any of the work. With 122 incredibly diverse works to choose from it was very hard for me to select one. I think Ruudt Peters was right when he said it turned out to be an example of what western culture can do with the lingam theme. Continued in the next post..