By cloelea, Oct 12 2017
The use of performance in jewellery is a subject which fascinates me, whether it is through dance, photography, video, music or a combination of these. It seems to be an essential aspect of jewellery since jewellery as an object doesn’t exist in my opinion, it would merely be a sculpture or a decoration. Jewellery only exists as part of the body and this is the main problem with displaying it, in particular when we are talking about art jewellery.
It is not enough to show a jewel in a case behind a glass with a light shining at it from above. This is not a jewel, and it is not how the artefact has been intended to be seen and used. That is why introducing some actions, where the body is present and showing the interaction between the jewel and the body is an essential aspect of art jewellery.
The American jewellery artist Lauren Kalman has placed this aspect of jewellery at the centre of her creations, using performance, photography and installation. “Specifically I am interested to see work that fully considers the site of the jewelry as an integral part of the work, not just as documentation. For me this is a necessary part of a dialogue about jewelry” (Lauren Kalman, https://artjewelryforum.org/lauren-kalman).
Her work is also centred on the image of the body, what the body chosen tells about the work as a whole, the body with its specificities: gender, colour of the skin and hair, visible and hidden parts… and also the clothes or lack of, and the movements or the impossibility to move and the positions of each body part, in particular the ones where the jewellery is intended for.
“Bodies are not a neutral ground for jewelry. This is why I choose, almost always, to be the model in my work. I feel it most appropriate to speak from my unique vantage point, as one perspective (rather than some universal truth) in a sea of identities and values” (Lauren Kalman).
Her own body plays such an important part in her creative work that the subject of her work also includes her own subjective experiences that she feels within her body. This is often an important element of art jewellery in general, the idea that the piece created is an expression of the artist’s inner-self. Jewellery is so close to the body physically and emotionally that it aims to be a medium of expression and not simply an ornament.