- October 27th - November 26th, 2016
Messages of Tenderness
“I don’t consider myself an artist. I consider myself a poet. Poets are classically defined by their words. For me, poets are defined above all by their poetics. And poetics is not a term restricted to words, it can be expanded and used in the most varied forms of expression.” Tunga
Since the dawn of civilization, jewelry has meant much more than the mere need for adornment. It could symbolize gratitude toward the gods, in the form of protective amulets, or could portray mythological or religious scenes. Whether due to mysticism, love, power or status, jewels are pacts, almost totems and, like art itself, have always been present as portraits of the history of human evolution.
In the fine arts, jewelry has the luxury – provided by the artists who conceive it, as well as by those who wear it – of having poetic license and being considered an extension of the artists’ field of work. Its value, therefore, is not necessarily measurable by the use of precious metals and stones or by the sophisticated techniques of a goldsmith. What makes it so valuable, attractive and desirable is the integrity of its artistic expression and the manner in which it touches and provokes the viewer, similar to drawings, paintings and sculpture. After all, jewelry differs from the other works of the artists in its purpose and the manner it is displayed, since it can be admired and also be worn. People who wear “jewelry created by artists” end up also influencing the perception of the object itself, therefore becoming an extension of the work of art.
The jewelry work of many artists reflects the same style and makes use of the same signs, symbols and materials of their other works of art. Such is the case of the pieces by Roberto Burle Marx who, along with his brother Haroldo, developed a “free form” technique to sculpt Brazilian stones and recreate the same esthetic patterns of his designs and gardens. Other examples of jewelry in this exhibition that are both an expansion of the artists’ field of creation and an evolution of their technique include the kinetic rings by Pol Bury and Cruz-Diez; Beatriz Milhazes’ earrings with a mandala design; Ai Weiwei’s bracelet as a form of political and social expression; Anish Kapoor’s convex mirrored rings; Sonia Gomes’ necklace of fabrics with knots and embroidery; Lichtenstein’s pop art brooch; and Jenny Holzer’s compelling feminist statement engraved in a serpent-shaped ring.
Some of the jewelry items on display also contain an intimate meaning that humanizes the artist behind the work, such as the necklace by Wesley Duke Lee and the paper bracelets by Marepe, both artists created the pieces as a gift to gallery owner Luisa Strina, or the wedding ring José Resende designed for his wife, Jac Leirner, and Tunga’s necklace/mini-installation for Cordélia, symbolizing two bodies that can never fulfill themselves. These examples of “jewelry by artists” represent pacts, relations and give new meanings to their muses, who shed their sole function as inspirational beings and take on an active role in the dialogue.
Nelson Leirner’s necklaces and Célio Braga’s items evoke mystical and protective meanings, much like ancient jewelry. Invoking freely the poetics of Tunga and Burle Marx, respectively, regardless of their intention and meaning, jewels are “forms of expression”, poems that convey “messages of tenderness to all people”.