A few days ago we saw the end of the very successful fourth edition of Florence Jewellery Week, the Florentine week entirely dedicated to the world of jewellery, which this year has had a special endorsement by the actress Serra Yilmaz, a great fan and collector of contemporary jewellery, who, with her own personalized interpretations, wore some of the works by the leading artists in the exhibitions.
From 28th April to 2nd May, Florence was the European jewellery capital, with a full calendar of events including exhibitions, conferences, workshops and live demonstrations – with craftspeople, designers, scholars and researchers in the fields of design and the visual arts – which helped people understand how the horizons of contemporary jewellery are expanding and being redefined from a holistic and multi-disciplinary perspective.
Curated by Giò Carbone and Alice Rendon, this fourth Florence Jewellery Week concentrated particularly on the interaction between artistic research, crafts, new technologies and recyling in the vast field of body decoration. There were numerous exhibitions held in different parts of the city, with both internationally-established and promising younger artists, artisan goldsmiths who exhibited and offered their creations to the public in the Scuderie di Palazzo Corsini, and students and teachers from the LAO school who put on live demonstrations at the Polveriera della Fortezza da Basso on the occasion of MIDA. Eight of the most elegant hotels in the city used their halls and drawing-rooms to show some pieces from the main exhibitions, in a new itinerary of Five-Star Jewellery. All this and much more at the contemporary jewellery week, which started in 2015 and is the leader of all Italian jewellery weeks and one of the best in Europe
FJW, held every 2 years, is a project conceived, co-ordinated and supported by the prestigious Florentine school Le Arti Orafe. Founded in 1985 by Giò Carbone, LAO has always promoted the culture of jewellery in its most complete expression, with events, exhibitions, meetings on themes linked to the world of goldsmithery creation, craftsmanship, design and artistic research. As early as 2000 the school had opened a gallery dedicated to jewellery, and 2005 saw the first PREZIOSA Contemporary Jewellery exhibition, the first large and unique annual event dedicated to the diffusion and promotion of contemporary jewellery.
Florence 10 May 2022_
By now, FJW is an unmissable cultural event, an all-round meeting of the complex world of goldsmithery creation from contemporary artistic exploration to design, but with an eye and particular attention focused on goldsmithery craftsmanship.
The works by the artists in PREZIOSA, the cornerstone event, (Jayne Wallace, Kazumi Nagano, Conversation Piece, Ana Rajcevic, Barbara Paganin, Rein Vollenga, Sam Tho Duong, Lauren Kalman, Anya Kivarkis) gave expression to the key themes on which the concept was based, later discussed during the two days dedicated to the conferences.
The PREZIOSA YOUNG exhibition, featuring the winners of the eponymous competition organized by LAO for up-and-coming figures in contemporary jewellery, had Florence as the first call on its tour, hosted by the elegant Palazzo Coveri Gallery. The exhibition, with works by the Chinese Xinia Guan and Zhipeng Wang, the Dane Anne Lahn Hornbæk Hansen, the Thai Pilynn Siriphanich and the Belgian Charlotte Vanhoubroeck, will continue its journey with stops in Holland at the Galerie Door, in Barcelona at the Hannah Gallery of KLIMT02, and following that in Padova, in collaboration with the municipality there.
Charlotte Vanhoubroeck, one of the artists selected, won the special prize in the PREZIOSA YOUNG competition: a three-month artistic residency as guest of LAO, during which she will create a new collection of jewellery and hold a seminar for the students at the school.
New to this year’s event was PREZIOSA MAKERS, a project originating from a collaboration between LAO and ARTIGIANATO & PALAZZO, a shop window for craftspeople and designers selected by an expert panel who enjoyed the opportunity to show and sell their collections during the days of the event, and the “ITINERARIO DEL GIOIELLO A 5 STELLE”, in which eight of the best hotels in the city (Dimora Palanca, Lungarno, Regency, Savoy, The Place, The Westin Excelsior, Villa Cora and Ville sull’Arno) offered their halls and drawing-rooms to show some pieces by artists from the main exhibitions in FJW.
Thanks to a collaboration with Firenze Fiera, LAO took part in MIDA, the International Exhibition of Craftsmanship. The school set up the whole Polveriera pavilion as a large atelier/workshop, in which the public could watch demonstrations of bench and design work provided by LAO students and teachers, and get to know the training opportunities offered by the school closer up. On show were objects produced by students in various specializations, from goldsmithery courses to CAD, engraving, stone-setting and enamels.
Talking of the LAO training activities and the wide range of collaborations involved, we should mention the very special one with The Place Firenze: the birth of the first project supported by TPOW – The Place of Wonders, to award three study grants to students resident in Tuscany. The details can be found on the school’s site, www.artiorafe.it.
One of the things which most enhance and characterize FJW are the days dedicated to the conferences and debates. The cycle of lectures was opened by Barbara Schmidt, with her studies of what we mean and expect, etymologically, by the word “jewellery”. The historical preconceptions and prejudices more generally relating to the “decorative” world were addressed by Lauren Kalman. Speaking of present and future scenarios, there was a discussion on the post-human and its influence on the poetics of contemporary art (Ana Rajcevic, Federica Fontana).
Jayne Wallace, Nantia Koulidou, Annamaria Zanella & Renzo Pasquale addressed the lyrical and connective prospects encouraged by new technologies.
The relationship between jewellery and devices, and the “materiality” of the digital, but also sustainability in the critical reconsideration of extraction methods in the mining field, were discussed by the artistic duo Conversation Piece.
Another theme was that of the “representation” of jewellery as a gesture of awareness and documentation (Anya Kivarkis) in a contemporary culture based on image, while Maria Laura La Mantia talked to us about the consequences of social distancing and web-based communication in the Art sector during the time of the pandemic.
The university lecturer Roberta Bernabei introduced a still little-recognized study praxis in Italy, through the analysis of the work of some British university students exhibited in the LAO bookshop.
The presentation by Paola Stroppiana was an opportunity to revisit the essential contribution of the pioneers of artistic jewellery through the loan of the Bollmann Collection, displayed in the “Carlo Azeglio Ciampi” rooms of Palazzo del Pegaso, the seat of the Tuscan Regional Council, together with the famous busby entirely interwoven with gold by the master goldsmith Giovanni Corvaja.
The programme of talks concluded with the presentation of the SEGNI SUL VOLTO project, devised and hosted by Carla Riccoboni and co-ordinated by Alice Rendon, the results of which were on display at the Istituto dei Bardi in Piazza Santo Spirito. An opportunity to reflect yet again on the importance of ornamentation to identity, thanks to the participation of the speakers Alessandra Menegotto, Roberta Bernabei, Francesco Bravin, Maria Laura La Mantia and Chiara Scarpitti, who discussed the results of the work by the participants in the project: Annarita Bianco, Claudia Zanella, Gisella Ciullo, Giulia Morellini, Bai Tongqiang, Letizia Maggio, Cristian Visentin, Simona Materi, Micol Ferrara, Silvia Sandini and Barbara Uderzo.
Organized by Confartigianato Firenze, “Firenze artigiana insolita” laid out an itinerary of visits to some local examples of high-level craftsmanship through the streets of the city, such as Dini Caffè srl, Moleria Locchi srl, Julia Market, Pestelli Creazioni, Le pietre nell’Arte di Scalpelli Renzo e C. snc, Penko Bottega Orafa and Hotel Medici.
LAO – Le Arti Orafe, Consiglio Regionale della Toscana, CNA Firenze Metropolitana, Firenze Fiera, ARTIGIANATO E PALAZZO
Ministero della Cultura, Regione Toscana, Città Metropolitana di Firenze, Comune di Firenze, Fondazione CR Firenze, Camera di Commercio di Firenze, Ganjam Nagappa & Son, Bangalore, India. Die Neue Sammlung, The Design Museum / Pinakothek der Moderne Munich
Dimora Palanca, Hotel Lungarno, Hotel Regency Firenze, Hotel Savoy, The Place Firenze, The Westin Excelsior, Hotel Villa Cora, Hotel Ville sull’Arno, Galleria del Palazzo, Inorgenta Fair Munich, Monaco di Baviera, Confartigianato Firenze, OMA, Osservatorio dei Mestieri d’Arte, Firenze, Fondazione Artigianelli, Associazione per Boboli, Istituto De’ Bardi, Firenze, Cullai Design. Wuhan, Cina, MODA Shanghai (Cina)
PREZIOSA Magazine Italia, KLIMT02 Barcellona, GZ – Goldschmiede Zeitung, EXIBART, Celebre Magazine World, Monaco Woman Magazine, Rinascimento Magazine, Journal des Bijoux, Lost in Jewellery Magazine, Firenze Spettacolo, FUL Firenze Urban Lifestyle, EuropeanLife Media, TA-DAAN
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