Photo above: Malene Kastalje, The Swollen Part series, neckpieces and brooches (silicone, magnets, neodymium magnets). Athens Jewelry Week 2018: "Art + Jewelry: Intersecting Spaces", main exhibition at the Benaki Museum, Athens, Greece.
An event that it is coming to terms with the city's glorious past and turbulent present - certainly a most fertile ground for artistry - Athens Jewelry Week is turning into an institution in a very short time. The rigorous organizers create since 2016 an anti-copy/paste jewelry fair that it is most visually becoming and it gathers contemporary jewellers of incredible capacity and vision, from Greece, Europe, Asia and beyond. The result is a series of parallel events and performances around the city, starting from the core exhibition at the Benaki Museum of Greek Culture and Decorative Arts.
This year the plot thickens, the craftsmanship and inventiveness of the participants steps up another level and radical notions float in the open space of the exhibition's central area. The intense impact of the objects crossover the instant recognition of all things relevant to now: democracy, sustainability, existence, survival, pluralism, memory, courage, strenghth, effort, beauty, science, humor, humanism, narrative and history. The questions remain strong butthe objects proved stronger and made to be worn by the human body but also by a building, an area, a city.
Could Athens be the inspiration or the stimulus to rethink the past centuries' ornamental tradition? The city is definitely the reason to revoke existing problems, issues, philosophies and maybe it offers the opportunity to remap crafts' territories, from the "over-exhibitional" norms of contemporary jewelry's huge commercial fairs to something really essential.
Key moments of the exhibition, the works of Guest and Invited artists, Maria Militsi and Matt Lambert respectively, the latter also having presented a groundbreaking video performace (photos bellow).
The students who stole the scene with their phenomenal creations: Everett Hoffman with Wild Country necklace, Veronika Fabian with Rebellious Chain series, Johannes Lindh post-sautoir and Marzia Rossi necklace (Alchimia) - (in pictures from top to bottom bellow).
The Greek makers-jewellers performed a powerful rematch this year, alongside with some impressive international entries - we selected the following noteworthy works, (from top to bottom): Efharis Alepedis, Constantinos Papadoukas, Yiota Vogli, Artemis Valsamaki, Asami Watanabe.
The predominant side-by-side presentations of last year's winners Orsolya Losonczy: "Precious Inside Out" series and Snem Yildirim: "Mein Lieber Diktator" series (their brooches in pics bellow, top and bottom respectively) configured once more the bipolar question of Beauty and Politics, of Utopia and Distress, of Self and Ego.
We are closing with the installation Hormones by Hao-Han Jhang, a vivid reminder of all the revolutionary mutations that are about to determine future societies and industries.
We are looking forward to next AJW 2019. It seems that this institution is here to stay!