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Noovo Editions

Noovo Editions is an independent editorial project with online and paper editions. First of its kind in Spain from an unique and contemporary perspective on the international panorama,
Noovo seeks not only to be an aesthetic arbiter but also a cultural mediator at the juncture between Fashion, Photography & Jewellery.
A platform to show the highest level of creativity from around the world

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Interviews ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

----------------------------------------------------....................---.INTERVIEW WITH LIESBETH DEN BESTEN

Could you introduce yourself?

I am an art historian with a special interest in contemporary design, crafts and jewellery. Since 1985 I work as a free lancer, mainly as a writer and critic for Dutch and international magazines, and also as a lecturer for international conferences and art academies. Further making exhibitions and working as an advisor and juror. Since 2000 I am the president of the Françoise van den Bosch Foundation, a Dutch private foundation since 1980, aimed at stimulating and promoting contemporary art jewellery . Besides that I am one of the nine members of Think Tank, a European Initiative for the Applied Arts; we try to stimulate discourse in contemporary crafts by yearly meeting for a symposium, and subsequently making a publication. The 6th edition ‘Speed’ is just ready and for sale (see: www.thinktank04.eu)

We´ve read on your page that The Foundation, named after the jewellery designer Françoise van den Bosch (1944-1977) was founded in 1980 and it aims to stimulate international contemporary jewellery design, provide incentives for the discipline and bring jewellery under the attention of an ever increasing wider public.

Could you explain what would you consider as contemporary jewellery design nowadays?

Today contemporary jewellery design tends to be referred to as ‘art jewellery’. I like this notion, in my opinion it means that the tendency is more in the direction of a free and art-wise approach to making than a design approach. Contemporary jewellery can be everything that is worn on the body as an addition to beautify and to distinguish. For the wearer contemporary jewellery is an excellent way to manifest him/herself. But contemporary jewellery can also be a way to investigate the meaning of jewellery in a wider sense, to reflect on the phenomenon of jewellery, by using video, photography, installation or print. Contemporary jewellery can therefore be: handmade and unique, rapid prototyped or in series, and a completely different manifestation in (moving or still) image, print or space. Contemporary art jewellery is a discipline that brings forth jewellery and work about jewellery. Today every conceivable material is used for making jewellery, even dust, trash, mother milk and human fat.

Could you consider adding the word design to contemporary jewellery define more the concept of contemporary jewellery nowadays?

Well, it depends on how you interpret the word design. If you consider design as a word that involves a certain rationality in the generic process and that is aimed at industrial production, than the word can only be applied to a small segment of the jewellery field. But, knowing that for many product designers today the story they want to tell with their product is more important than a rationalised production method and infinite series, you can say jewellery and design are related. There is a similarity in the fact that design, jewellery (and crafts) are usable. Design, jewellery and crafts objects have a direct connection to people – they are not just made with the intention to look at it – although this happens as well in design and in jewellery. Jewellery is about meaning and about being human: jewellery is used by people, daily or for special occasions, like they use a chair, a bag, a car or a glass – using something can have a practical (sitting, carrying, drinking) aim, but many times it also has an overt or hidden symbolic meaning. By choosing for certain outstanding designs people make a statement about themselves.

In order to promote contemporary jewellery design, you have "The Françoise van den Bosch Prize" which was given to a renowed people inside this field but, could you specify about this Prize?

The Prize is awarded every two years. People can not apply for it. In stead, the board of the Foundation composes a new jury every two years. The jury has two ‘permanent’ components: the former Award winner, and a member of the board of the Foundation (every jury another member). Besides that the board chooses three persons from the world of jewellery, design, art, museums, writing, galleries or collectors. The jury is independent and only gets minor instructions from the Foundation. The Prize is awarded to a designer of jewellery (and/or objects), regardless nationality and age, as a recognition for his or her work. The artist has to attract attention to the field of jewellery and to the Foundation. The winner should be an active person in the field, his/her work should be outstanding, and (s)he should be an inspiring example for the profession – also for younger generations. The Françoise van den Bosch Award is not necessarily an oeuvre prize. There is not a list of nominees, but the jury members choose freely and have to defend their choice in a jury meeting, ending up in a unanimous advise to the board of the Foundation.

An amount of money, derived from the Foundation's capital revenues, is made available every two years to the recipient of the Prize. This prize money is currently 5,000 euro. The Foundation also purchases a representative work by the winner for the Françoise van den Bosch collection. The Prize is open internationally to all artist related but,

How the Prize promote the designer´s work? Would you consider that (money is good) but would be more important to promote jeweller´s work?

Well, you can say that being awarded with a Prize is a stimulating thing as such: the Foundation always tries to make something out of it by helping to organise an exhibition or event and in that way to stimulate and promote the work of the recipient involved. We had exhibitions starting in Dutch museums such as the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, the SM’s (Den Bosch), and the Groninger Museum and travelling around to different venues all over the world, often with an accompanying catalogue. In 2008 Ted Noten, that year’s recipient, organised a fabulous catwalk jewellery show, the Tedwalk – which was another way of showing jewellery: in stead of frozen in a showcase, it showed jewellery in motion, in a glossy setting with music and light. Besides that we have our collection, which is hold in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. When this museum finally will re-open after a years long renovation (probably/hopefully at the end of 2011), parts of our collection will be on show in the design department.

Further we have our website, we organise lectures every now and then and invite interesting people (makers and theorists) to the Netherlands. Last year we organised a one day symposium ‘Out of the Box’ with lecturers from England, Germany and Holland. This year we are again organising a very special event. Since a couple of years the Foundation has a group of friends (many of them active buyer, wearers and collectors of jewellery), they support us and we intend to organise special events for them.

If we go through the last award winner´s, we become aware of the relevant names you ´ve got but, is there any change for young talents? would you consider any option to open a young talent Prize category?

Actually our present winner (New Zealand jeweller Lisa Walker, 2010) is the youngest one we’ve had since years. She is born in 1967 and she only graduated at the Munich Arts Academy in 2004. But I wouldn’t consider her a young talent, her work is mature and forceful. We don’t have plans for a young talent Prize, but we do have found a way to do something for the young ones: in the year the Prize is not awarded, we acquire work from young talents, called The Piet Hein Verspyck Mijnssen Encouragement Acquisitions. This way we acquired work from different countries, where young artists are pre-selected by a scout who presents his/her nominations to the board of the Foundation. The board makes the final decision. We have acquired jewellery and jewellery related work from the Netherlands, Germany, Australia, Finland, Spain and Japan. It is only a small instrumental arrangement but we know most young artists appreciate it a lot. (see also next question/answer)

You have this category in your web for young talent, could you tell us more about this?, how is it work?, how young talents could be part of this?

Every two years, in the uneven years when the prize is not awarded, we acquire work from young talents for our collection. We think by buying work, we recognise the quality of the makers and hope this is stimulating for them to continue working. We have experienced that it works like that. Again this is not an open competition. We started with the Young Talent Acquisitions in 1997. We work like this: first the board selects a country (we’ve had the Netherlands, Germany, Australia, Finland, Spain, Japan and the last time the Netherlands again), then we ask a scout in this country to make a pre-selection, finally the board chooses which work is acquired. Mostly we buy from three till five different artists – depending on our budget and the prices involved.

It looks like you have given the honor to design for a trophy Françoise van den Bosch Prize to people from the Netherlands. isn´t it? could it be possible for an internationally designer to take part of this?

In the past there were only Dutch designers involved in making a trophy. The last trophy was designed by Marcel Wanders in 1992, and was used till the year 1997. Than, for some reasons, we stopped giving trophies. In 2008 we asked a Taiwanese student of the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, Noon (Passama Sanpatchayapong), to design a trophy for Ted Noten. She made a fabulous BIG FAT TROPHY, a big and shiny red inflatable. We thought this was a very successful trial and therefore this year another student from the Rietveld Academy will make a trophy for Lisa Walker. We are lucky to have an academy such as the Rietveld Academy nearby, the students come from all over the world – so there is little chance that it will be a Dutch affair, on the contrary. Again, we think this is a way to stimulate young makers, to stimulate the field, to attract attention by doing something different, by creating new moments of attention and new possibilities to spread information about jewellery.

In our last conversation you told me you were about organise an event for the prize awarding ceremony and you´d suggested that you were working on something spectacular!!, is anything set up by now?

Yes, we are working on it and we can’t tell you the details yet. But the main thing is that the Chicks on Speed are going to do a wonderful and crazy performance on the occasion of the prize awarding ceremony in the Lloyd Hotel/Cultural Embassy in Amsterdam – later this year, in October or November. Lisa Walker is friends with Alex Murray-Leslie and Melissa Logan since many years. They know each art from the Munich Art Academy where they all studied and they started working together in the nineteen nineties when they organised pop-up Seppi bars in Munich. But they also worked together in other ways, Lisa made jewellery with Chicks’ waste material, and she made jewellery for special Chicks on Speed shows. Now the Chicks are designing a performance with sensors. The sensors are especially made and designed for them and Lisa Walker will make jewellery and/or accessories using these sensors. It will be quite spectacular! Besides that Lisa is making new work for her exhibition, to be shown in the Lloyd Hotel/Cultural Embassy as well, on one of the platforms and probably also in some hotel rooms.

In order to talk about what are your thoughts in contemporary jewellery design I decided to ask you a few things:

What is your point of view about originality in contemporary jewellery?

Originality, authenticity, individuality, intelligence, humour, spirituality, singularity, I don’t know which one to choose. Originality is just one characteristic that can make a piece or collection of jewellery important. And perhaps originality is less important than singularity and intelligence. In design and art it is important that an artist has his own voice, is that what you call ‘originality’?

Do you feel contemporary design is taking over a growing audience, even not from this field or is kept just for a few, specially the ones who are related?

I don’t really get what you mean. But I think you want to talk about the isolation of jewellery:
Product design is very sexy, it has the ability to attract a wide audience because it is about daily things but in a different outfit, daily things with a twist, daily things with a highly appealing humoristic, bright or reduced appearance – much design has an iconic status the moment it is released (Maarten Baas, Studio Job, Bouroullec Brothers, Campana Brothers). Art jewellery on the other hand has always been a bit isolated, perhaps also as a result of the makers and galleries. While designers go for the big gesture, and are trained in communication, jewellers tend to choose for the seclusion of their own studio and workbench. Personality has to do with the choices you make in life: the one chooses for the appeal and shine of design, the other for the smallness and intimacy of jewellery. But, there is a growing market and a growing awareness about this ‘problem’.

The international network in art jewellery is very well organised, people travel a lot and exchange ideas all over the world. There are different fairs presenting art jewellery (London, Rotterdam, Chicago, New York), and an auction house organising auctions for art jewellery (Brussels). Some jewellery galleries succeed to get admitted to renown and up-market art fairs such as: Tefaf, Art Basel, Design Miami. Besides that the number of galleries for art jewellery is growing tremendously, new generations of sellers and buyers enter the market. Young galleries are eager on selling and on finding new customers and some succeed in this very well. A Swiss gallery recently opened an annex in London, a Brussels gallery thinks about opening an annex in Paris. I see an enormous energy and zest: I think the period of standstill is over. This is the situation on the selling and representing side. With regard to the makers I do think jewellers should step out of the comfort zone and try to engage more in collaborations with others artists and try to find other ways to present and sell jewellery outside of the gallery system. Positive things are happening here as well by the way (such as ‘pop up’ stores, and Lisa Walker’s collaboration with Chicks on Speed).

What would you consider is the best internationally school to knowledge about contemporary jewellery design? and also which country would you consider is the most related to this field? We´ll try to figure where are the new talents coming from

In my opinion there are four excellent schools: Munich (Academy of Fine Arts, Klasse Künzli), Amsterdam (Rietveld Academy), Stockholm (Konstfack, Ädellab), and Cranbrook (USA)– being a good school depends on different things, such as the teacher, the freedom of education (education not being completely overruled by regulations from ‘above’), sometimes the cultural climate in the place where the school is based and perhaps even a kind of ‘tradition’ in educating creative and conceptual art jewellers. All education that is aimed in the first place at going deep and trying to ‘de-learn’ what is learned before, to become aware of what you are doing, and is not aimed in the first place at fast success and making esthetical objects, is good education.

I think Germany and the Netherlands, Scandinavia, and the USA are countries/regions/continents where the best jewellery is made at this moment. But there more centres are developing: Estonia, Finland, Portugal, Australia, New Zealand, Korea and even Latin America.

Who is the last jewel you´ve adquired from?

I bought my last jewel in March this year in a gallery in Munich. It is a pendant by Mikiko Minewaki from Tokyo Japan. She works with recycled plastic toys. This pendant is a cross with a black ground layer, and yellow and green parts sawn out of toy construction material. I felt attracted because of its colours, material and the feeling of ‘being of this time’ – and also because of the low price actually. I feel very comfortable wearing it, and I wear it almost every day. Your last acquisition is always the best.

What are your aims for the 2010?

My aims or that of the Foundation? My aims are to continue writing my book ‘On Jewellery’, which will be published at the end of next year and to concentrate on the accompanying exhibition which will take place in the Arnhem Museum for Modern Art (MMKA). Besides that there are lectures and talks in Mexico City, London, Bergen (Norway) and Gmunden (Austria) and perhaps more to come.

The aims for the Foundation for this year are: finding a new member for the board and trying to consolidate our ‘team’ – the last couple of years we have had quite some changes: our treasurer Mr. Piet Hein Verspyck Mijnssen sadly passed away last year, Manon van Kouswijk couldn’t combine her work as the head of the jewellery department at the Rietveld Academy with being a board member and Suska Mackert moved to Germany with her family. Besides that the organisation of the Lisa Walker exhibition, the prize awarding ceremony and the Chicks on Speed performance takes a lot of time – especially for an organisation that works with volunteers. But working together with Lisa Walker and with the Chicks on Speed is a delight! In the course the year we will also organise a special meeting for our friends, and we are thinking how we can do something to celebrate our 30th jubilee.

More info: http://www.francoisevandenbosch.nl

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