Dates, places and jewellers are set! Athens Jewellery Week will happen for the first time this year and it is alreadystarting tomorrow. If I could, I would be there!!!! So if you have the opportunity, just go and enjoy it!
As you probably know, my jewellery adventure started in Athens, therefore I have special and even nostalgic feelings regarding Greek Jewellery.
Greek designers look at Contemporary Jewellery as an art form and they are always experimenting new ways to innovate and promote it. They are restless in trying to use Jewellery as a means of expression for creativity and, to prove it, here is another festival, which will be organized by Anticlastics, a group formed by Anastasia Kandaraki, Erato Kouloubi, Ioanna Natsikou and Niki Stylianou.
II These are the artists II
Aggelika Diplari, Anastasia Kandaraki, Antria Prasinou, Angelika Komis, Angelos Konstantakatos, Artemis Valsamaki, Corinna Coutouzi, Demitra Thomloudis, Despina Pantazopoulou, Dora Haralambaki, Efharis Alepedis, Elisavet Messi, Erato Kouloubi, Evangelia Dimitriou, Ioanna Natsikoou, Ioli Livada, Iro Kaskani, Katerina Glyka, Liana Pattihis, Marina Zachou, Nicole Polentas, Revekka Moustaki Zei, Victoria Ioannidou, Vivi Touloumidi, Xenia Deimezi, Yiota Vogli
II Groups of artists II
>> Cluster collective II Anastasia Agglopoulou, Hara Kourtali, Yakinthi Oikonomou
>>JAW (Jewellery Art Workers) II Achilleas Georgiadis, Afroditi Goula, Stella Deligianni, Artemis Zafrana, Thomas Thomidis, Iosif Iosifidis, Vally Kontidis, Katerina Malami, Mary Margoni-Giannis Madilakis, Sarina Beza, Fortini Nikaidou, Nikos Karakostas, Sofia Papalexiou, Maria Psarianou, Cosmochaos Maria Apostolopoulou, Niko Karakostas, D’olium (Sofia Bahalava-Vassilis - stalmoulis), Theofanis Konstantinou
>> Maria Tsimpiskaki - Niki Stylianou
>> RagTag Collective II Chrisoula Papahatzi, George Giannoutsos, Ismini Pachi, Kalliope Theodoropoulou, Vasia Pachi, Yannis Tsalapatis )
II Jewelry Schools II
>> Anamma Studio
>> Chalkis Art School
II Galleries II
>> Eleni Marneri gallery
>> Popeye Loves Olive Art Space
II Jury II
>> Jorge Manilla - Jewelry and Art Designer
>>Vassilis H. - Visual Artist, Sculptor
>> Zina Kaloudi - Historian of Art, Curator, National Gallery-Alexandros Soutzos Museum
>> Anastasia Kandaraki - Jewelry Maker, Instructor
>> Erato Kouloubi - Jewelry Designer, Popeye loves Olive Art Space
>> Ioanna Natsikou - Jewelry Artist
>> Niki Stylianou - Jewelry Maker, Architect
As you can see, a lot of interesting jewellers will present their work during this week, and I would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to four of them: Demitra Thomloudis, Anastasia Kandaraki, Nicole Polentas and Corinna Coutouzi. I find that, somehow, their work connect, is inspired or eventually relates to architecture, not only in formal term but also in the creative process.
For instance, in Demitra Thomloudis’ jewellery you will be able to discovery architectural aesthetics, construction, material, landscape and even urbanism. Her work is very much influenced by “vernacular architecture and landscape of site-specific locations”. (1) I find it dazzling and specially love the way she (re)interpret all these concepts and then, in a very particular way, employs them to jewellery pieces that are worn by a human body. As she states:
“Our bodies perpetually occupy the built environment. My work attempts to reverse these roles and interactions by allowing the visual language found within constructed spaces an opportunity to intimately coexist and inhabit the body. I examine and challenge formal architectural organization and its materials in an attempt to redefine and elevate its presence within the construct of jewelry.” (2)
You fell like each piece really has the ability to get the user closer to its environment and the time he/she lives on. To understand even more of Demitra’s research, you should definitely also take a look to her one year project: the Houston Yellow Tape.
Anastasia Kandaraki also caught my attention by the way she portrays athenian vestiges of the past and then uses this framework and history culture as an inspiration for her jewellery. As the artist says:
“I live in Athens and ever since I remember myself I see around remains of past times. Abandoned, crumbling buildings falling apart; the marks of time on them; yet, alive. They have plenty of stories to tell; you only have to keep quiet and listen. Their roofs are sinking little by little. They end up bare, naked with their beams out there; with nothing to hide anymore. Just standing there, exposed and unprotected. Within them, trees grow.
And they keep on existing and so do we; as if in parallel lives…Life in Athens seems like falling apart. Its people are also naked and unprotected. Dreams, desires, loves, passions falling apart. Who knows, though, maybe at some point trees will spring up." (3)
This is exactly how I remember Athens: a city that in each corner reminds you that someone, in the past, was passing by or living there. Of course I saw it through a traveler’s eyes. So, I find it really stunning to see how someone who grew up in this specific society structure manages to echo it into jewellery.
Once again, we are looking at a work that defines the time and environment where the artist lives on , but at the same time, is also defined by it.
Living Ruins I, II, III and VI II Copyrights Anastasia Kandaraki
Nicole Polentas chooses narratives to express herself. Her pieces are the result of a beautiful research which "is about the ways in which jewelry objects can initiate an engagement with, and understanding of, cultural place and identity. The multiplicity of identity is examined, reconfigured and reimagined on a visceral level. Jewelry becomes the space in which new associations emerge as the impetus for complex reconstruction. The body of work investigates how culture, gender and ethnicity are experienced through composite narratives of time and place. A narrative approach is applied analytically to the construction of artefact, in order to reflect, interpret and reinvent experience.” (4)
It is such a beautiful and intense work! The different layers, elements and even colours amaze me! Nicole’s greek heritage is clear so I would say her jewellery is the result of both personal and cultural perceptions.
Above all, what I love about Nicoles’ narratives is the fact that it really get us thinking how contemporary jewellery can actually be a platform to discuss, examine and (re)interpret our past and present time, culture, history, space and environment.
II Jewellery and copyrights by Nicole Polentas II
Corinna Coutouzi is an artist whose jewellery result of a constant dialogue between her and the material she works with. As she explains:
“I hammer on round metal wire, to give it the shape I want. The resilience the metal thus acquires, allows me to omit all added-on hanging closures or security devices, in order for the overall design to take over these functions.
No part of the wire remains unworked, so that the light may travel upon and be reflected by the surfaces created through the hammering.
If the metal resists, I have to change the initial design. Through this intense interaction, my jewelry and other objects come into being.”(5)
So, Corinna’s pieces may seem simple at first, nevertheless, after closer examination, you realize how carefully they have been constructed. She manages to play with curves, curls and spirals as if lines could fly in order to create light and delicate wearable sculptures. She does not fear the material limitations, instead she challenges them and even takes advantage of its elasticity to find functional solutions.
Moreover, on her pieces, you can grasp scratches and dents that the hammer had left on the metal, while she was working on the anvil. On the one hand, this bring to mind that Corinna’s jewellery is handmade and not factory-produced. On the other hand, it also remind us that, for the jeweler, the working process is as important as the final result.
II Jewellery and copyrights by Corinna Coutouzi II
So as you can, the Athens Jewellery week 2016 really looks promising! There will be exhibitions and events organized in different spots, bringing together several contemporary jewellery interested or collaborative parts and members (artists, galleries, collectors, museums, institutions, etc.)..
So, just go and enjoy meeting the views and new trends of greek jewellers, while you follow this map which allows you to also wonder around this magnificent city!