Extranalities- Pictureware.

Extranalities- Pictureware.

Extranalities – Pictureware

By: Saskia van Es

Extranalities is a group of established jewellery artists who challenge each other with unusual assignments. The participants have already sent each other something unattractive from their own possessions, to turn into something beautiful. And vice versa. All kinds of assignments, even entire mood boards, ended up on the workbenches of unsuspecting colleagues.

The participants force each other to stretch the boundaries of their own artistic approach. Each theme results in an exhibition. For each subsequent round, the group invites a new participant, from a different country and with a different style. Pictureware is the 7th edition of Extranalities.

What was the inspiration this time? In the mid-1990s, Peter Vermandere strolled past the famous bookstalls along the Seine. There, he found a black-and-white photograph of a man and a child, decorated with paper flower garlands. Thus began the search for photographs in which jewellery plays a role. He even bought an entire archive of American newspaper photos. Until at a certain point, his collector’s mania turned to other exciting things. For Extranalities, the cardboard box was taken from the attic again. The old jewellery photos and their captions were given a new life as inspiration for actual jewellery: Pictureware.

Taking part in Pictureware:

Herman Hermsen (NL), Tim Carson (UK), Peter Vermandere (BE), Felieke van der Leest (NO/NL), Sofia Björkman (SE), Denise Reytan (DE), Sara Gackowska (PL/IT), Christoph Zellweger (CH) and Catarina Silva (PT).

 

 

Felieke van der Leest (NO/NL)

In the photo we see a California housewife, if the caption is to be believed, who once wanted to raise the low status of eggs by making them into jewellery. Felieke van der Leest’s own work has something unmistakably absurdist about it. Grist to her mill. These are the eggs of the goose with the golden eggs. In her case, the goose also shows some leg. Felieke made the work with the seed bead technique she is known for. Gold-plated beads in this case of no less than 24k.  Another picture that Felieke took under her wing was the one with the two young women. What if they were to be photographed in our time? They could be a #metoo activist or be wearing ‘fan merch’ from Felieke’s band Scrotum Clamp.

 

Felieke van der Leest (NO/NL)

Golden Eggs with Goose Feet

earrings, textile, oxidized silver, 24kt gold-plated glass beads, 2020 (courtesy of Galerie Rob Koudijs, Amsterdam)

 

Herman Hermsen (NL)

If news photos at the end of the 1960s were in colour, we would have seen a ‘colour-drenched’ whole. Herman Hermsen apparently used what he saw and not what he knew. Thus, a black and white necklace emerges, a play with time. The couple in the other photo seems unable to choose. They are about to just combine the different strands and chains. The superlative of this thought are the chains around B.A. Baracus’ neck. You have to have the corresponding muscles to be able to carry that amount of gold. And the ‘blue balls’? They were taken from the Boston Strangler, a serial killer who started making jewellery while in captivity. Extranalities-member Tim Carson finds the man’s obsession with necklaces particularly worrying. But Herman sympathizes: he will probably not get much satisfaction behind bars.

Herman Hermsen (NL)

White and Black, necklace, laminated formica, onyx beads, 2021.

Peter Vermandere (BE)

A hippie sells necklaces made of sticks and wool, representing ‘God’s Eye’. They don’t look very sturdy. It must have been the spiritual content that was important to him. The echo of that old news photograph has become a lot more robust with Peter Vermandere. A lot more grounded too. There is a pendant with aluminium from the original panels of the Brussels landmark Atomium. Another consists of a piece of worked ivory that is actually a nut. Or ornaments made of metal formed in a historical die forging press. And at the very next, glistening amethyst eyes look at you. The hippy of yesteryear would know whose eyes they are.

Peter Vermandere (BE)

My pendants – Ammonite,pendant, sliced ammonite pair from Morocco, silver, 1994

My pendants – Carved Stone, pendant, steatite, 1999

My pendants – Carved Nut, pendant, tagua nut (vegetable ivory), 2004

My pendants – Freestyle Atomics, pendant, natural garnet crystal cluster, aluminium from the Brussels Atomium, 2009

My pendants – Back from Bengel, pendant, double-eyed slice of amethyst flower stalactite, die-hammered aluminium, 2016

Sara Gackowska (PL/IT)

Three photos, each showing a woman wearing jewellery: a girl shows homemade goods for a sales fair, a young woman wears ‘Indian Jewelry’ and a lady pays tribute to the button cell battery, a great technical innovation at the time.

Sara Gackowska draws inspiration from the atmosphere of analogue photos, made with film, chemicals and paper. How different it is now, when we swipe our fingers across glass to take in visual images. Sara zooms in on the printed photo. The discs are pixels taken from the paper photographs. In the necklace, each part is formed from exactly one photo: a girl, a young woman and a lady.

Sara Gackowska (PL/IT)

Cameo I, brooch, photography paper, glue, alpaca, steel, 2022.

Denise Reytan (DE)

A jeweller’s couple is smiling proudly at us. They have made a Christmas tree out of old jewellery. And they are wearing a few things themselves, such as a watch on a breast pocket. It was the bird on the top right that set Denise Reyan’s imagination to work. The bird is attracted to the gems and the glitter. Just like the couple’s clientele. But the bird is also free according to Denise. After she has given him a shiny silver coat, he flies away. On his journey, the little bird meets a crocodile. And who knows how many new friends are waiting along the way…

Denise Reytan (DE)

Counter clockwise Part 1 (bird), brooch, silver, steel, rigid foam, 2022

Timothy Information Limited (UK)

Timothy Information Limited aka Tim Carson saw, while looking at the photos from the old days, quite some people wearing all their brooches and buttons at the same time. These people clearly want to say something. Or maybe they just want to belong, which also gives it a sad edge. Tim was curious to find out how young and optimistic Bruna and Doug had fared. He managed to track down Bruna. The plan was that Tim would make jewellery based on what Bruna told him about her life. He would send the pieces to her in exchange for a photo of her wearing them. Bruna, probably overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of the Brit, withdrew.

What Tim has left, is a shadow of an event that was once captured in a photograph. He also made a time capsule for Bruna with a collection of experiences that make you who you are. Finally, there is a brooch with the text ‘I am here’. But who is where and when was that? Simply look at Tim’s double portrait to know that photos can play games with you. 

Timothy Information Limited (UK)

For Bruna
badge, white metal, spray paint, stainless steel, 2022.

Sofia Björkman (SE)

The photograph that Sofia Björkman got hold of was about an artist who was casting shells and nuts. She also found a piece of newspaper article, with sentences like ‘A woman wearing a solid silver peanut on a cord around her neck is not necessarily showing her political preference’ and ‘Sometimes nature doesn’t produce the perfection people seem to want….’.

Another photo shows a model with a futuristic wire headpiece. The bird she is holding is also a wire sculpture. Sofia decided to start working with wire. She started drawing in 3D to get close to ‘the perfection people seem to want’. In the end, the work you see here is not made of metal wire but of thread-like polycarbonate. Light, transparent and strong. But also associated with plastic pollution and unhealthy substances. Sofia does not show the sea creature itself, but its – equally beautiful – skeleton.

Sofia Björkman (SE)

Fish

brooches, polycarbonate, steel, 2019-2022

Christoph Zellweger (CH)

It is the year 1946 and we see a table with jewellery confiscated in Germany. With this image in mind Christoph Zellweger examined “that which has been confiscated, sealed and preserved.” The jewellery in the ReCollection series consists of old metal cigarette cases, sealed hermetically. His work relates to the ongoing debate about the aftermath of colonialism. How do we deal with the millions of artworks and cultural objects that have ended up in museums, collections and private possession through unjust means?

Fragments of text can be half-read under the thick yellowish lacquered surfaces. It reads, for example, ‘Legally stolen’ or ‘Embroidered with pearls and adorned with cowries’.  Christoph explains that the handwritten words are engraved by sandblasting, and come from various articles and reports on the many Re’s: Repatriation, Restitution, Redistribution and Repair.

Christoph Zellweger (CH)

Pendants and two boxes in the ReCollection series, found objects, varnish, 2022:

Embroidered with pearls and adorned with cowries / Robbed, bartered or acquired as souvenir / >>They took the gold / and the silver aside<< / Legally stolen / Unclear how it came into my possession / >>The blood that sticks / to the object<< / >>The most conveted / booty<< / silverware piece I / silverware piece II / silver plated cigarette case / Without proof of origin (box) / The assets have been given back (box)

Catarina Silva (PT)

Catarina Silva had to respond to a photo of papal jewellery. And a huge Schiaparelli necklace of glass beads encrusted in gold leaf. It is clear why photographers made these images. Such a photo is meant to capture a memory. But what Catarina noticed is that the image also evokes other memories. In her case, the old photographs were a bridge to festive memories, in the form of candy wrappers and chocolate foil, carefully spread out and preserved. Catarina Silva has made that ritual materialize with the delicate coloured metal foil. It is now no longer a photo that evokes a memory. Instead, it is the piece of jewellery that evokes the beauty of transient memories.

Catarina Silva (PT)

Lost memories

necklace, found object, chocolate wrapping paper, silk thread, 2022.

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