Objectspace is delighted to present two engaging installations by three internationally renowned jewellers Manon van Kouswijk, Fabrizio Tridenti and Ted Noten, timed to coincide with JEMposium in Wellington (10-13 February), New Zealand's international contemporary jewellery symposium. Manon van Kouswijk (Netherlands/Australia), Fabrizio Tridenti (Italy) and Ted Noten (Netherlands) are leading practitioners of contemporary jewellery with highly distinctive practices. The possibility of these makers, who currently reside in three different countries, exhibiting at Objectspace together, arises because they are in New Zealand as keynote speakers at JEMposium.
For their installations at Objectspace Tridenti and van Kouswijk have, while conferring with each other, individually responded to the gallery space. Objectspace has engaged two international writers, based in different hemispheres from their subjects, to write about these jewellers. Benjamin Lignel (France) has written about Manon van Kouswijk and Meredith Turnbull (Australia) has written about Fabrizio Tridenti for Objectspace's online publication.
Fabrizio Tridenti's installation Anything is concerned with the translation of objects and materials from one realm of production into another, specifically of materials from technical, mechanical and industrial contexts into fine art wearables and sculpture. Components more regularly found on the assembly line or in the hardware store such as tubular gaskets, exhaust rubber, gas pipes, wheels, pulleys and auto-parts these items are constituted by Tridenti as necklaces, pendants, bracelets and rings. Whilst still recognisably belonging to the industrial and mechanical worlds writer Meredith Turnbull observes in her essay Anything into Eternity that these works function as past, present and future objects. These are objects whose identity, at sometime in the future, will be so obscured by time that they may be regarded as talismanic objects indicating the wearer holds some arcane knowledge or secret from the past.
Manon van Kouswijk's installation Perles d' Artistes is also the name of an ongoing project focused on making a series of necklaces made on the basis of a strict method. The beads of no.1 necklace are made with two fingertips, no.2 with four fingertips, no.3 with six, no.4 with eight and no.5 with ten. First exhibited in 2009, the objects offer up to scrutiny little else than just that: a series of white (and then coloured) strung beads sporting a growing number of facets, arranged on the page (and in the gallery) as one would geometric models, from the simplest (a large lentil) to the more complex (an irregular decahedron). Benjamin Lignel in his essay The singular and the generic: portrait of the artist as a maker says, they flaunt the systematic, the serial, in the face of whatever notion of artistic spontaneity we hold dear. Each necklace implies a 'how to' that frames the way it looks, and spells out its position in a series. Not only do we know exactly what to expect, but the gesture of making a bead is already a classification, a standard of measure: that bead is this gesture.
Lignel observes that these works shift our attention away from the object as commodity, onto the performative act of making...one set of fingers at a time, a negative portrait of the maker's hand. The result is a conflicted statement of authorship. At once ironic (any child could have done this) and nostalgic (this is, after all, the ultimate hand-made piece, all fingerprints and signatures), it means to plot, on either side of the same coin, the particular position of craft in the fine arts: singular and generic, authorial and derivative, spectacular and predictable.
Ted Noten is a highly respected jeweller who has won numerous awards and accolades including international jewellery's prestigious Françoise van den Bosch Award (2008). In Ted Noten: gold, sweat & pearls he says, I make jewellery that takes some time getting used to. When you wear it, you make yourself vulnerable as it makes such a striking statement. I speak out through my jewellery and objects. I comment upon jewellery as a phenomenon, upon the industry or - like any artist - upon humanity.
Working as Atelier Ted Noten Ted Noten has stepped beyond the sphere of contemporary jewellery and created a high profile and successful international practice as a contemporary artist and designer which includes art and design projects, installations and commissions for private collectors, cultural organisations and art institutions. In 2011 Noten won the Dutch Artist of the Year award. Noten has previously shown at Objectspace in the 2007 exhibition European Voices in the Objectspace Vault.
Directed by Simone de Vries, the 53 minute documentary Ted Noten: gold, sweat & pearls (2010) is a portrait of the artist that includes a reunion with the work which launched his international career Turbo Princess (1995) a little mouse cast in acrylic and wearing a small pearl necklace.