JOYA is known to be one of the most important fair in the scene of international contemporary art jewelry and I had high expectations in a visit this year. Not only the fair proved to be of excellent quality, but also various exhibitions scattered around the city have surprised me.
The cultural space Arts Santa Monica, adjacent to the bustling and central Rambla, is both intimate and professional: balanced spaces for each artist, different and original projects, clean and essential set up, to let speak only jewels.
After the first day of bulimic excitement, little by little my attention has been directed to those works in which a close and empathetic connection has been created.
Undoubtedly the two main artists awarded Jeeming Jamie Chung (South Korea - Winner JOYA Award 2015) and Jelizaveta Suska (Latvia - Winner Herbert Hofmann Price ' SCHMUCK') stood out for compositional and stylistic harmony. A kind of perfection emerging from the union of various qualities (technical, aesthetic and conceptual) in an overall balance and responsiveness.
Jelizaveta, already reported for originality and experimentation, in his collection 'Frozen' moves through deception. Colored gems and brilliant minerals proved fluffy, soft and light sculptures. Optical illusion is generated by a new material, a polymer, mixed with stones and minerals.
Precious and non-precious are united in shapeless and essential forms, prehistoric and futuristic together.
Malene Kastalje offers a similar ambiguity in its softer creations, made of silicone. Lightness and heaviness, softness and hardness chase them in a world of small sculptures, where a bubble comes out the other, continuously evolving.
A series of different inspirations and styles animate the creations made by Anna Król, who combines the fantastic and the fabulous in black and white to French romanticism, ironically playing with jewel with extreme delicacy, at your fingertips.
From Israel, pastels, spongy and drooping surfaces of Daniella Saraya transport you to a world of torn and layered matter, just like our lives, she says.
Fertility, naturalness, oval and feminine shapes are proposed by both, Melina Lindroos and Helmi Lindblom, even if with very different styles and techniques. The first one is delicate, rhythmic and romantic. She presented at Joya a series of brooches made of cotton and avocado peel. The second one, conversely ironically playful, used balloons and glue into glossy and pop shades.
Irony and fun, in fact, are present both within and outside the fair. For example, Alchimia – Contemporary Jewellery School, plus surprising for intelligence of their offer, gave birth to a prize draw, which aims to raise funds to allow a young student to be present next year in Joya.
In town instead, grotesque and sarcasm reign in iconic creations of Helen Britton, whose solo exhibition is staged at the Klimt02 Gallery (until 28 October, you still have time). In this series of 7 brooches and paintings, specially made for Klimt02, iconography, popular culture and folklore are transformed into ironic and artistic amulets.
Noteworthy is also the work and the proposal of a couple of young galleries and their courageous leaders: ICKX of Brussels, owned by Audrey Ickx, offers a selection of artists and designers who have a common taste for geometric, minimalist and simple aesthetic, aimed especially at launch of young and rising stars of contemporary jewelry; Color Triciclo is a studio/gallery in Barcelona, born in February 2015 by two Italians, Adele Giuntini and Costanza Nannoni, who focus their creative impulses in jewel, strengthening the concepts of upcycling, sustainability and transformation of "poor" materials. On the occasion of Joya they host the exhibition Versus.
I like to call it an experiment in bilateral emotional inspiration, where ten former classmates of the Massana School have created their work trying to identify themselves in the creativity of others.
Among the initiatives, and with a purpose that I deeply share, the exhibition "Les Confluences | Las Confluencias - Ramon Casas and Contemporary jewellery" presented by Nichka Marobin at the Museu del Modernisme is special. With the aim of making dialogues between paintings and jewels, the exhibition presents an interdisciplinary correspondence helpful to discover the deepest meaning of the works, playing with similarities.
After this endless beauty binge, something happened. I was wandering in the area dedicated to schools and suddenly two lively and witty eyes appeared.
Gualba Rojo Agramunt told me her story and describes me the birth of a piece that, from there soon, would have turned in one of the most important in my research. 'DEVENIR', made by Gualba last year, is a pendant that stand underside of the navel. While she wore it, with great intensity, she told me that during its invention also discovered to be pregnant, as if between her body and a spontaneous creative impulse had created a transcendent connection.
And then I realized that it’s not just about aesthetic, poetry or technical study... The meaning of jewel stands on its relationship to the body, it is dynamic and transcends the mere sensual physicality and substance.
JOYA Barcelona Art Jewellery Fair is the main event of art jewellery in Spain. Since 2009 is dedicated to promote contemporary jewellery, taking place at the cultural space Arts Santa Mónica gathering the most renowned national and international artists, galleries, collectives, schools, conferences and parallel events. JOYA 2016 included the participation of 46 selected artists, 4 winners of prestigious international awards, 4 Galleries, 3 collectives, 4 international schools and 6 national schools, a total amount of 300 artists from around the world.
In order to relate art jewelry with contemporary art, this year jury members are outstanding art figures:
- Dakis Joannou (Cyprus) Founder and Director of DESTE Foundation for Contemporary Art
- Carlos Urroz Arancibia (Spain) Director of Contemporary Art Fair ARCOMadrid
- Liesbeth den Besten (Holland) Françoise van den Bosch Foundation
- Jeemin Jamie Chung (South Korea) Winner JOYA 2015
- Piotr Rybaczek (Poland) Founder and owner of La Basilica Galería
- Paulo Ribeiro (Brazil) Founder & Co – Director of JOYA Barcelona
- Anthony Chevallier (France) Founder & Co – Director of JOYA Barcelona