From November 14 to December 21, 2019, LA Joaillerie par Mazlo Gallery will host SUBSTANTIFIC in collaboration with the Alice Art Foundation. Echoing the famous quote of French Renaissance writer François Rabelais, this exhibition brings together four contemporary art jewellers: Alexander Blank, Sungho Cho, Karin Herwegh and Fabrizio Tridenti. Resolutely minimalist, all have chosen to explore this tenuous frontier between graphic language and three-dimensionality in an attempt to capture, through a piece of jewellery, the iconic essence of the visual symbol.
This approach manifests itself formally through the primacy given to the sculptural dimension of the object, whose form is deliberately simplified and synthesized as if of a sign deprived from all its ornaments to retain its sole substance. This rigor is also tangible in the economy with which materials, colors and techniques are chosen without ever neglecting the refinement of know-how.
Even if their specific sources of inspiration and their intentions diverge, the works of these four artists are deeply rooted in popular culture inherited from modernity and from the hyper-industrial society, multiplying allusions to comics, cartoons and to the game and entertainment industries.
This feature is particularly obvious in the works of Alexander Blank. An eternal teenager, this born-storyteller draws with a contagious fantasy from childhood memories, filled with skateboards, American comics and science fiction stories and movies. With bluffing virtuosity his works question the idea of shifting identities - as in the Jimmys series which relies both on the historical portrait and jewellery history by renewing the cameo genre - or of the irreducible aspect of the passage of time, as masterfully exemplified by his most recent series of sun-brooches entitled Weather Forecast. The latter, essentially inspired by his own childhood drawings, is reminiscent of the experiments of the Cobra group and most of all of the tutelary figure of Paul Klee, who, after having exhumed his child drawings in 1902, made them the fertile ground of his relentless quest for fantasy and spontaneity.
A similar taste for the abstraction of forms and for the reminiscences of childhood can be found within Sungho Cho's works, also a former student of the Munich Academy under master Otto Künzli. Combining found objects and various materials - plastics, wood and oxidized metal - the works of this accomplished gold- and silversmith stand out for their elegant sobriety. The question of identity in a digitale age and the threat on individual freedoms are among his priviledged working topics. A master in the art of upcycling, Sungho Cho invites us to reflect on what still makes us human while technology keeps on expanding its web and domination on individuals and the function of the jewellery as an exterior signal of identity.
The desire to limit the means and to stylize the forms is probably the most radically expressed by Karin Herwegh's works. Deeply influenced by Antiquity, Tribal arts and Modern art, this artist, initially trained as a fashion designer, has made the choice of her medium a true statement of independence. After having spent some years carving sculpture works in hard wax which were then casted in metal, she has decided to use a simple knife to sculpt pieces of wood, thus allowing to give a larger scale to the human and animal protagonists of her sculptural chronicles accompanied by enigmatic titles : I like it here, An early start, A career in film, etc. A sense of humor and a talent for terse statements that recall the melancholy of Sempé or the clean lines of Richard McGuire's Sequential Drawings.
Fabrizio Tridenti plays the most metaphysical score within this quartet. No trace of figuration in his works, here abstraction reigns supreme to praise the void. Inspired by the Heart Sutra, the Italian artist signs with kū* one of his most mystical series. The beauty and the sculptural presence of forms lie less in their contours than in the negative spaces that cross or unfold around them. The austerity of the forms is exacerbated by the exclusive use of a deep mate graphite metal. In his attempt to describe the materiality of emptiness as a necessary condition to all creation, Fabrizio Tridenti seems to deliver a logical and serene continuation to his previous series that showcased his vision of chaos using discordant colors and pseudo-industrial wastes. With kū, the din and cacophony of moving bodies seem to have left room to inner silence and newfound harmony.
*kū (空, « void ») is one of the five elements defined by the Japanese Godai tradition.
Exhibition November 14 > December 21, 2019.
Exceptional extension until April 2020.
Tuesday - Friday 2 - 7 pm.
Saturday 11 am - 1 pm and 2 - 7 pm.
Born in 1975 in Büdingen (DE), Alexander Blank does not owe his current career as an art jeweller to an early vocation but to a happy combination of circumstances. After discovering that the photographer he wanted to study with had already an apprentice, he introduced himself to his neighbor who turned out to be a goldsmith. After two years of apprenticeship, he continued his professional technical training in Hanau and Hanover before joining the Design Academy of Hanau, where he really discovered the discipline of contemporary jewellery and its horizon of possibilities. Graduated in 2004, he then joined the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich under direction of Otto Künzli, where he studied until 2010.
He received the Herbert Hoffmann Preis in 2012 and his works are featured in many prestigious public and private collections, including the Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, the CODA Museum, Apeldoorn (NL), the Kestner Museum, Hanover (DE) and the Hiko Mizuno Collection (JP).
He lives and works in Munich since 2010.
Born in 1975 in Cheongsong, Korea, Sungho Cho graduated in Metalwork & Jewellery from Seoul National University. Between 2006 and 2008, he moved to Florence to study at the prestigious Alchimia school with two masters of the contemporary art jewelry field, Manfred Bischoff and David Bielander before completing his training with Otto Künzli from 2008 to 2013 at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich.In 2013, he received the award of Best Jeweler of the Year in Korea and his works appear regularly in exhibitions in Europe and the USA. His works are present in many permanent collections of international museums such as the Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), the Museum of Contemporary Craft (Portland, USA), The Chiwoo Craft Museum (Korea) and the Alice and Louis Koch Collection (Basel, Switzerland).
Born in 1968 in Zuiddorpe, The Netherlands, Karin Herwegh first studied fashion design at the St. Joost Academy of Fine Arts in Breda from 1986 to 1991. After two years in the world of fashion, she realized that this universe and the frenzied rhythm of the collections did not correspond to her aspirations and slowly began to experiment with different types of materials and to gather drawings and sketches according to her inspirations. She finally decided to continue her studies by training in jewellery techniques first at the Technical school s'Hertogenbosch (NL) and then at the Technical school (Nijverheidsschool) of Antwerp section Goldsmith-jewellery.
Her works are in the permanent collection of the CODA Museum in Apeldoorn (NL) and the Zeeuws Museum in Middelburg (NL). She lives and works in Hoofdplaat (NL).
Born in 1962 à San Giovanni Teatino, Fabrizio Tridenti is an Italian art jeweller. After graduating in 1982 from Istituto Statale d’Arte, Penne, he spent a few years as an apprentice in a couple of reknown workshops, before establishing his studio in 1993 in Pescara. Today he lives and works in Vasto. The aesthetic language developed by Fabrizio Tridenti reflects in a frontal way the reality of the contemporary industrial and technological environment. Using poor materials, usually industrial waste, he composes, out of chaos, monumental and powerfully designed objects. By refuting the traditional aspects of jewelry such as functional, formal and aesthetic values, he moves his reflection on the field of conceptual art and proposes a wider field of investigation for the jewel. His works have been exhibited in many galleries and museums internationally, such as MAD Museum in New York, the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich, the Museo degli Argenti, Palazzo Pitti, in Florence, the Amber Museum in Gdañsk, the Museum of Contemporary Craft in Portland, Oregon.