The covid-19 epidemic is already causing major troubles for all of us. For the gallery, this means, among other things, a violent stop of our programmation. In April 2020, we were to host the exhibition “Simple Stories”, introducing the works of artists Jana Machatova and Peter Machata. Since we are unable to show their work in the context of the gallery, we are offering you the opportunity to discover their work through an online exhibition and interviews. Although Jana and Peter are partners in life, they work separately. For this reason, both interviews are published independly. Stay tuned and home!
LA Joaillerie : You were a student of Anton Cepka in Bratislava, one of the most important international art jewelry masters. Did this influence your practice and if yes, how?
Jana Machatova : Cepka was an important artistic role model for me and an authority in his field. I always liked the unambiguity of his artistic expression. He showed me how to look for poetry in everydayness. I don’t deny that I was significantly influenced by his visual expression during my studies until I found my own way. Anton Cepka is a type of introvert who expresses himself through his works; he’s not a man of many words, but when he uses them they always hit the target. He influenced my direction, perception of proportions and relation to material. And perhaps because of him I love using a coping saw!
LA Joaillerie : What drove you to study jewelry? How did you come to art jewelry especially?
Jana Machatova : My path through jewelry wasn’t that straightforward. As a child, I dreamed about being a freelancer, perhaps I liked the word free the most. My parents led me toward my occupation. I liked to draw, I was no good in math and because of my health I needed a sedentary occupation. As a result, we decided to choose the Secondary School of Applied Arts with an orientation on metal in Kremnica, specifically goldsmithery-silversmithery. Continuing in the academic study of this specialization was natural, but it doesn’t mean that I had an idea of what I was getting into. Despite all the challenges of this occupation I don’t regret this decision.
LA Joaillerie : What makes your jewelry singular and different from others ?
Jana Machatova : I hope that my works are distinguishable thanks to my style, but it’s particularly because of the fact that I draw from my own memories and experience.
LA Joaillerie : What are your main sources of inspiration ?
Jana Machatova : I work a lot with photography and other visual materials. I use pictures, photographs from family albums, old postcards, pictures from recent history or newspapers from early 20th Century. I abuse the pictures by attaching a specific sentimental value to them to express my own thoughts or emotions.
LA Joaillerie : Can you describe your creative process ?
Jana Machatova : Creation is a continuous process. In my case, the creation of a new collection is determined by the work from the previous collection. I approach each jewel in a collection individually and new ideas come gradually. At the beginning I worked with material with great respect, and preparatory drawings, which were almost of the nature of technical drawings and a necessity for me. Even today I still do sketches and drawings, but I’ve become much more relaxed at work and I work more spontaneously, perhaps due to Peter’s influence.
LA Joaillerie : You’ve been creating art jewelry for more than 20 years. How has your practice evolved ?
Jana Machatova : During my studies and shortly after graduating I worked with kinetic and variable jewelry, the language of which was rather abstract. Gradually I began to perceive jewelry as means of communication and self expression. I thematized personal living. I worked with the theme of love, and later pregnancy. Having my own children and starting a family allowed me to focus on childhood and to return to the past. I began to work with photographs from family albums where I found an abundance of inspiration. I was interested in seemingly banal situations, cyclically recurring in the photographs of all generations; on many occasions I didn’t know the people in the photographs, or those who are not with us anymore. When creating jewels, I omitted faces, and bodies were turned into silhouettes. I created the space by the layering of cuts through planes just as our memories are layered. Later I continued on this sentimental level in the collection entitled Love is Love, in which I worked with old postcards that I found in the attic of our old house. But I was increasingly confronted with social and welfare themes. I wasn’t looking for them, but as time passed, I felt the need to work with them.
In the Love is Love collection I created a jewel with Brejnev’s famous kisses; I also touched on the theme of homosexual love which is still politically abused in my environment. When going through family albums I ran into photographs which also indirectly documented the social system in which I grew up. I don’t like nostalgia-inspired optimism or the miraculous forgetting of reality in a non-democratic society and therefore I confronted my sentimental recollections with the reality that I grew up in. Thus I created the collection entitled Where are you from? in which my works are the answer to this question. At the same time, it was my way of coping with this period. Today I’m taking a break from this difficult theme and working with romantic pictures and needlework instructions from newspaper inserts from the early 20th century. At the moment, I’m working on the Frauen-Fleiss collection, I take newspaper fragments, make interventions and suffuse them in epoxide, and continue with the work. But this doesn’t mean that I’ve fully abandoned political jewelry, which cuts across my entire work.
LA Joaillerie : What does « making » mean to you ?
Jana Machatova : Joy, necessity and perhaps a kind of art therapy.
LA Joaillerie : Which are the topics you’d like to explore in the future ?
Jana Machatova : I can’t say with certainty. Life is full of surprises and keeps bringing us new themes. I don’t think that I will deviate much from my program. Perhaps I won’t intentionally work with cosmology or mathematics. I will work with the themes that are personally related to me. it’s the only way that I can be sincere.
LA Joaillerie : How do you imagine the future of art jewelry ?
Jana Machatova : My wish is for art jewelry to be more specifically artistic.We artists create future of this art field. The way we will make the jewellery the way it will turn out.
LA Joaillerie : How would you define « art jewelry » ?
Jana Machatova : Art jewelry, like other types of art, is a means to express the thoughts, opinions and emotions of the artist. Jewelry is specific in its connection to the human body, which also gives it more possibilities of interaction with the public. As a result, the simple art-public (owner) relationship takes on a new feature: art- owner (wearer)- public. This quality of jewelry also contributes to its essential communication function.
Teil der Perlenarbeit zum Gürtel Nr.40
Silver, paper, resin, gold foil, volcanic stone beads.
LA Joaillerie : Your work can be defined as figurative and narrative. A type of approach that is usually seen in Anglo-Saxon countries. What drove you to this genre and in which way is your work influenced by your cultural origins ?
Jana Machatova : Art jewelry doesn’t have a long tradition in my country. But expression through stories is quite natural in all branches of art. I like stories, I like literature, perhaps this is why this method of work suits me. I come from an urban environment, the place where I live, the society in which I grew up, my family, my culture inevitably forms me with all their positives and negatives. I don’t consider folk art and folklore to be a baseline for me, despite its unquestionable importance as cultural heritage. I consider childhood and growing up to be a determining period for every individual. I grew up in a socialist country and I realize its impact on my personality and on my entire generation. Therefore, I consider working with these memories as important. So that we don’t forget them and continue to appreciate freedom.
LA Joaillerie : If you were not a jeweler, what would you like to be ?
Jana machatova : I hope I won’t have to become something else. It’s beautiful to be able to be an artist.