Invited to participate in the collective exhibition “Sign of the Times”, Serena Holm is one of our guests whose favorite genre is narrative jewelry. Her baroque and complex works never fail to raise questions among visitors, so we wanted to know a little more about her approach and the reasons that led her to choose two of the thorniest paths when it comes to dealing with contemporary art jewelry: narrative genre and precious materials.
> You were born and raised in Italy. Then you decided to move to Sweden to complete your training as a jeweler. What led you to choose Sweden, when Italy has such an incredible history and great schools, when it comes to jewelry making ?
I lived in the south of Italy and although there are many manufacturers of gold and silver jewellery it was hard to find a place where to do apprenticeship. When I tried to do that I had just finished upper secondary school and was then too old and had the wrong gender. Traditionally goldsmiths accept only young guys as trainees in their companies. So instead I decided then to move to Bologna and study art history.
> You studied art history in Bologna. Do you think it influences your art today? How does it actually fuel it ?
I think definitely Italian art history and esthetics is part of my cultural heritage that is recognizable in my work. Both in the prevalence of figurative choices, the narrativity and in some pieces an almost baroque approach to the composition.
> Why did you turn to narrative jewelry ?
Also here I think that my Italian background has importance as Italian art history is predominantly figurative and narrative, based on religious and mythological storytelling.
> Would you qualify your works as “subversive” ?
I must say I never saw it like that before you defined it as such. I have always a wish to raise thoughts about issues that concern me, and those can maybe appear “subversive” ?
> Your works often contain engaged ideas, dealing with environmental, psychological or sociological issues. Do you think art jewelry can be a means to change values and mentalities ?
It is one of the reasons why I work with art. I am sure arts have the power and the duty to present alternative views of the world. I had a vision of jewellery art as one of the most democratic art genres since it can be used in everyday life situations. It is not restricted to specific rooms and occasions.
> You use a lot of recycled materials or repurposed objects in your works. Would you say that you are a collector ?
Yes I confess I am…;)
> Contrary to the majority of contemporary art jewelry makers, you choose to work with precious materials (precious gems and precious metals). Why ?
I guess it partly depends on the ancient Italian jewellery culture that have influenced me which is made of precious metals and gems. But the main reason is their qualities. I prefer stable enduring materials of natural origin. The forging properties of precious materials are outstanding to me in many ways, they never stop to surprise and challenge me and at the same time I feel comfortable with them. Natural stones are beautiful.
Neither precious metals nor stones deteriorate and I like the idea that the pieces created can last so that the real value of a jewel can be enclosed in it, which is when the jewel becomes precious for its meaning according to the reason why it was chosen.
Although precious metals and gems are often the base on which i build my pieces I combine them with all kind of materials accordingly to what I want to express.
> What have you been working on lately ? Do you have upcoming projects ?
Lately I have been working mostly with textile and for my upcoming project I am experimenting on a series of jewels where I combine textile techniques with inspiration from ancient Asian textile art works and goldsmith techniques.
ABOUT SERENA HOLM
Raised in the south of Italy, Serena Holm is a Swedish artist, established in Gothenburg since 2004. After studying art history in Bologna, she moved to Sweden where she studied art and jewelry design at the School of Design and Crafts, University of Gothenburg.
The artist is represented in the collections of the Röhsska Museum and has received various awards and awards attesting to the quality of her work. Her out-of-the-box talismanic works owe her international recognition and to be regularly invited to participate in exhibitions.
See her complete profile page on KLIMT02