In basic terms, jewellery may be understood as wearable artwork, a platform for everyday activism, or simply the class of objects closest to the body. Yet jewellery undoubtedly also carries historical, anthropological and environmental legacies, and these require urgent rethinking in light of the ecological disasters and imperial decadence of our present moment. Doing so raises fundamental questions about the contemporary place and potential of jewellery. How can one doubt the very object that is in front of her?
Bodies of Knowledge is an exhibition of work by current and a selection of former students (2018–2023) of the Jewellery – Linking Bodies Department. It showcases a particular attitude towards jewellery – one characterized by constant questioning of the historical, material, environmental and societal contexts within which jewellery is located. This attitude asks us to reconsider, among other things, how we conceive of bodies and their limits. In a world where the human, as a separate, self-contained entity, is no longer the epitome of power and progress, new understandings of the body may open pathways toward new modes of ecological being. Rather than seeking to possess objects, being ecological means moving through and sharing processes and space with other humans, species, and non-human entities. It suggests new relations to space, to the body, to material and to society. It points at potential worlds, as conceived otherwise: bodies are no longer defined by being human or not. Through jewellery, as a practice that fundamentally links all kinds of bodies and allows for both individual and collective contemplation and investigation, we can propose and craft new potentialities for being otherwise.
Text by students (alphabetical order):
1 Mathilde Arens, Capital pillars, 2019 / necklace / material: PLA plastic, brass / technique: 3D-printing, sandcasting
Collaboration with the department of Climate Policy Analysis: Philipp Pattberg Oscar Wideberg and Lisa Sanderink, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.
This work explores the borders between individual and societal identity, and how this border zone interacts with the multinational corporation. Compressed columns as wearables give shape to the idea of both moulding and being moulded simultaneously. The pillars take form through both stretching and pressing and are derived visually from the logos of multinational corporations. The wearer undergoes a slight struggle in either putting on the piece or by carrying its weight.
2 Caroline Bach, Materialisation, 2019 / chain / material: rubber, latex, hevea wood, havea seeds, brass / technique: carving, cutting, assembling
Materialisation is an outcome of a process-based research project that I started alongside my historical studies of the rubber industry, in which I focused especially on tyre production. Drawing on this research, this series seeks to make visible the transformation of rubber from the rubber tree (Hevea) seed to the tyre—exposing a process usually forgotten or unknown. Each piece within the project has an educative power and acts as a support structure for the body. Because of their wearability, the objects come closer to the body, reaching for the wearer’s emotions and sensations, and allowing the wearer to physically experiment with each step of the material’s exploitation. By piquing curiosity through the senses of touch, vision and smell, the goal is to reconnect people with matter—the transformed matter that they interact with, often without thinking, every day.
3 Augustina Banyte, Corps Morcelé, 2019 / film
Corps Morcelé (“fragmented body”) is derived from Jacques Lacan’s concept of the mirror stage: a period in the formation of ego in which a myth of conspicuous wholeness averts anxiety about the body being in pieces, as represented by images of mutilation or dismemberment, or of the devouring or bursting open of the body. The memory of this feeling remains with the subject all their lives, buried in the unconscious but constantly returning, and this never-ending counteraction makes a sense of wholeness impossible.
This work questions whether an inevitably fragmented body can be unified in disunity through the implementation of (feminist) agency, and how we might move beyond paradigms of fragmentation/wholeness.
4 Alara Bora, Shadow Play, 2023 / film
A short film made by filming silhouettes and shadows reflecting on a screen. It is inspired by the coincidental shadows cast onto walls by moving body parts and dancing bodies, along with traditional shadow puppet theatre, and was produced as part of my research on the body, motion and shadows.
5 Martina Bucci, Mappina, 2023 / object / material: black and white pepper / technique: hand-weaving
How are memories embodied in the senses? Mappina is a work inspired by the use of traditional craft techniques, such as weaving, to recreate a fabric of memories through our senses, in this case the sense of smell. It is a meticulously handcrafted object that stems from childhood memories. It is a work in which ritual, ceremoniality and memory become content.
6 Margherita Chinchio, Scroll Shimmers, 2019-2020 / jewellery series / material and technique: Inflated acetate and acrylic coating
This jewellery series dwells around the topic of the reconfiguration of existing content as the dominant methodology for new cultural production in the digital era.
Images beget images, and beyond both verbal discourse and context, content is often immediately incorporated into a new work.
What defines originality and autonomy in today’s network society? Is context the new content?
Starting from these considerations, I decided to playfully mimic these mechanisms, and after selecting images of jewellery from my Instagram feed, I blended them together, creating new hybrid designs.
My digital collages have then been inflated, given volume, to become new pieces of wearable jewellery.
Even though they are three-dimensional, the graphic nature of these pieces and a tension between their digital and organic features are still present.
The aim of the coating is to highlight their new identity, “erasing” any association with the pieces they originated from.
This collection is the outcome of an infinite chain of contributors.
7 Juliette Delarue,
a Daily sediments : a side dish to the main course of remembrance, 2019 / bodies-related objects / material and technique: layers and layers of food waste powder, orange powder, orange juice, silicone limbs
Food is, to me, a precious tool for imagination because of its sensory stimulation: it initiates intimate and complex conversations with your own body. Considering bodies through the prism of food culture and food beliefs implies observation at different levels: at the intimate scale of our own bodies and at a larger societal scale, both of which allow for questioning the reality of a universal scale.
For my written thesis I looked into liquid nourishment as matter, as well as in terms of symbols and beliefs, through its connection to historical vessels, and as a tool for understanding physical and social bodies. I realised that liquid needs to be held but that it remains ungraspable.
I chose not to work with liquid but towards its opposite. The ambition here was to figuratively grasp the ungraspable through its literal materiality: to evoke liquid through its absence.
I worked with food waste as a continuous and unlimited source of material. I collected, dehydrated, ground and turned everything to powder, utterly exhausting the matter. I made up a set of rules, gestures and a precise process that smoothly infiltrated my daily routine. The borders between food habits, artistic practice and the research process became porous and turned to membranes. I found myself surrounded by colourful and pungent powders. Powder was the main actor of my graduation work, and I needed to stage it. So I built spaces for it.
One is part of the Rietveld building: a vitrine filled with layers of powders as a proof of time accumulating through matter. The other one is a stage: a box, the walls, ceiling and floor of which are covered with orange powder. The space is matt and dusty, smells like citrus and invites the body to penetrate it through the senses.
I feel the need to build and propose new rituals—new ways of consuming and comprehending our food. I feel the need to update the symbols lying in food products and eating habits. Challenging and transcending my own culture is a way to invent new imageries and typologies, and to open possibilities for new intimate and collective imaginations.
b Hunter gatherer vest, 2018 / photo
8 Lindsey Fontijn, + | –, 2018 / objects / material: silver and copper / technique: electrolyse
If an object is situated in an environment in which it did not originate, the meaning changes.
This disregard of context is difficult for Lindsey to understand. Through her work she wants to reveal the inherent entanglement of value and meaning and give this relationship attention. Why do we appropriate objects from a traditional context and place them in a totally different one, in which the original meaning is no longer recognizable?
This current body of work takes traditional jewellery as a starting point, records time through experimentation with a chemical process, and in so doing removes or disrupts the object’s original function.
With the technique of electrolysis (+ and -), you extract material (+) that will slowly grow on an object in the middle (-). This is done with electricity.
This specific work is about the give and take of information. Jewellery has an important function in life: it contains a lot of information to show to the public. For Lindsey it serves as public art. The plates resemble her parents, in that her father used to wear a necklace with her mother’s initial, “L”, and the other plate resembles the charms of a bracelet her mother wore when she was eighteen years old. The object in the middle is a charm bracelet Lindsey got from her parents when she turned eighteen. Using varnish keeps the image in the process—the copper around it disappears and the electricity draws it to her bracelet.
9 Yawen Fu,
a The distance between us, 2019 – now / chain / material: brass gears, beading thread / technique: beading
When I left, I didn’t know that I would be away from home for 1,258 days. I counted the days by stringing together watch gears. They are the beads of time. They form a long, long string which materializes distance, time, and longing for me.
b Who is sleeping?, 2022 / happening
Who is sleeping? is a social intervention. I wear a pyjama suit and walk around in the exhibition space, falling asleep wherever I feel like. While sleeping, I’m a displaced, foreign, privileged and unconscious body, just like the other displayed artworks. The only differences are that I’m not protected and I’m alive. Will the audience put up with me?
10 Dana Haire, Organs in motion, 2023 / sculpture, objects / material : steel, brass, copper, textile, rice / technique : hammering, bending, oxidizing, patinizing, sawing
11 Robin Isenmann,
a An empty shelf filled with flowers pt. 1, 2023 / jewellery / material: 925 silver, steel / technique: casting, welding
A hook that gets stuck on your pants while walking through the fields.
The process of copying a natural form and crafting a pin out of it emphasizes the individuality of every rose thorn and is an attempt to understand its shape.
b Upper bloom, 2021 / photo
12 Ada Jochimsen, Sounds of a tedious attempt to create connections, 2022 / object, performance / material: kitchen towel, porcelain clay, cotton thread / technique: bobbin lace making
Crossing, knotting, crossing, knotting.
Repetitive movements. It is a slow process, tedious work. It is only through persistence that a new body gets created, a body of connections.
Crossing, knotting, crossing, knotting.
The sounds, too, are repeated. It is only though persistence that a rhythm gets created, a rhythm offering comfort in its repetitiveness.
13 Myrthe Kamoen, On stones, 2021 / objects / material: rocks found on the beach in Almere / technique: rock tumbling, sandblasting, performance
i weather away,
like metamorphic rock.
my minerals reconstitute,
14 Minhwa Kang, Deco-structionism, 2021 / photo
15 Ayano Koda,
a Inside out, 2022 / object / material: egghshell / technique: gluing
b Contour, 2021 / photo
c Ungraspable, 2021 / photo print
A carrying device for something un-carriable.
16 Lujza Kramárová, Moving across intangible territories, 2023 / body-related objects / material and technique: copper plated PLA print
Moving across intangible territories captures the artist’s movement data as recorded through the use of a GPS tracking application. The object is a result of research on the impact of digital technologies on body movements and reflects on how communication infrastructures, such as copper wire networks, shape our physical landscapes.
Do digital technologies act as prosthetics for the movement of bodies? How does copper redefine the way we interact with physical and digital landscapes?
The object created from the collected data acts as a prop that enables one to experience the movement in a new and transformative way.
17 Sara Leme, Dancing Body, 2018 / photo
Dancing Body is part of the graduation project After-Hours, which investigates the death of the human body and the correlated acts we perform surrounding mourning. While the living perform rituals of remembrance, in parallel time, the dead choreograph their process of decay. In contemporary societies we are more and more alienated from death, and consequently, from the dead body. After-Hours zooms in to the physical after-life of a dead body: the whole transformation our bodies will go through from the moment we die. I create jewellery in the tradition of Memento Mori that capture some moments of this “dance macabre”, with the intention of making visible and opening discussion about the raw reality of our self-decay and self-mourning.
18 Stella Lydaki,
a Lingering Longing, 2022 / photo
Maybe one day my longing will become so long that I will untangle it and make a rope out of it—or a chain, a ladder—and use this to cross previously unbridgeable distances.
In this project, I research the gap between language and speech—between the abstraction that is language and the practice that is speech.
Can I translate this gap, which links the inside with the outside? This gap is the silence between words, the space of introspection, a mystery. The ethereality of this gap makes it hard to grasp—it is almost absent, nearly inexistent, wrapped in a silence that no one seems to remember how to break.
Thanks to the isolation we all experienced during the Covid-19 pandemic, we all became more familiar with the inside. The outside became quieter and the inside louder. As the immediate threat of Covid-19 began to diminish, there were questions that remained in me: Where have we been directing our longing in these past years? And what will happen to the remnants of our longings after some semblance of normalcy returns? Will they all suddenly be gone? Or will they still hang about us, like invisible threads?
b Lifeblood, 2019 / photo
The body extends in visible and invisible ways.
Internal, external – above, below.
The number two.
An object and me.
A person and me.
A sound and me.
One – two
My hair connects to the ground,
Alive and strong.
The source I seek is there; invisible like air.
Scepters and magic wands vanish as blurred extensions.
The human body is a wing that bears power.
Because I am, I am, Lifeblood.
19 Silvana McNulty, Endless findings, 2019 / objects / material and technique: soap, shaped by hand
Endless findings focuses on ordinary objects, things that surround us. It looks at the kind of ordinariness that does not challenge us, or at the very least, provokes a kind of disinterest and indifference in us. This series offers a way of examining the everyday and the modes of attending to it. Time and repetition become tools to rethink and transcend ordinary things. By committing to the everyday, I want to question and blur the frontier between the ordinary and the extraordinary, the banal and the sacred.
20 Karla Nilzen, dirt, 2022 / object / material: copper / technique: hammering
21 Lente Oosterhuis,
a Could you help me with my jewellery, please?, 2022 / film, jewellery / material: sand-blown copper / technique: hammering
This ornament does not draw much attention to itself, but makes space around the ear. The careful application of this comb emphasises the intimacy of the wearer and dresser, exposing with attention and care a piece of skin that can be as erotic as other parts of the body.
b Intimate Spaces, 2021 / photo
Photography by Anna Lenartowska.
22 Lola Orihuela, Reconnection, 2023 / bodies-related objects / material: copper / technique: hammering
I say hello to so many people in the day but never to myself
I wanted to take the time to appreciate my presence
Shaking my own hand
In order to reconnect with myself.
23 Laura Schürch, Kenshiro Suzuki, Maricke Van Leeuwen, car(ry)ing, 2018 / photo
Collaboration with the Wageningen University, visual soil quality assessment for improved ecosystem management.
Car(ry)ing starts with pieces of different qualities of soil, refined into gem-like stones, repetitively stringed together, so that they become one object, which can be worn and carried around the shoulders. Its weight refers to the importance of the responsibility we have to carry and care, either as a burden (dead, destroyed soil through human interventions: burnt, dried out) or a delight (fertile, healthy: blooming).
24 Emma Panzou-Lespinasse, Alteration, 2023 / jewellery / material: brass / technique: hammering, soldering, sand casting
Commonly, jewellery’s movements are induced by the movements that we humans make. The jewellery moves with our bodies, it is fully dependent on them, we have control over it. But what if there was a way for jewellery to alter our bodies and states of mind? In this project, I focused on acupuncture and acupressure and the effects that these two methods can have on our physical and mental conditions.
25 Lisa Plaut, Peeling, 2018 / photo
Peeling focuses on highlighting details that make it possible to find the lines of our perception and slide them apart. Metallic parts to connect, slide or keep open function as metaphorical tools for intuition. The work looks at jewellery as a phenomenon, taking an outsider position.
26 Jet Van Der Touw, Jonas Heiduk, Kelly Rijswijk, The burden of other data, 2018 / photo
Collaboration with the Wageningen University, the influence of digitalisation on agricultural consultants and research institutes.
Our starting point came from thinking about the bytes of things in our digital storage. Any Apple product shows a break-down of GB in its storage, and between all this data, a mysterious “other data” shows up! To bring this to light, and to have people physically feel their “other data” that they carry around, we have translated these GB into a weighted cloak consisting of heavy binary code.
27 Virág Szálas-Motesiczky,
a The Mountain which Bears a Human Name, 2019 / film
This video essay guides us through an unknown land which is well controlled by an experienced hunter who is a master of observation. The artificial landscape offers a trip and reveals different potential views generated from a found image of an unknown man who bears similar facial characteristics to one of my family members whom I have not seen for 20 years.The directed gaze of the video essay has “blurred switches” between characters, which indicates human and animalistic perspectives at the same time.
b The Hungarian Girl is Dreaming About the Arrival of the Hungarian Euro, 2021 / photo print, objects / material and technique: euro, nails-nickel brass
I put under investigation certain traditions in order to “dissect” dilemmas and frustrations originating from my cultural background, where the empty coin behaves as a spyhole to enlarge the threshold of antique political systems.
The work focuses on the concept of creating subjective narratives where ordinary objects hold certain embedded knowledge and statements by their nature. The context around this well-known attribute (coin) is in constant flux, depending on the cultural and political impacts of the contemporary present.
28 Alma Teer, The Best Jewellery A Woman Can Wear Is Her Smile, 2022 / jewellery / material: sweetwater pearls, silver wire, silver chain, silver thread / technique: weaving the pearls on silver thread, smithing the hooks
Smiling is one of the most common social reflexes of our time, a communication tool for expressing happiness. But a complexity of emotions lies behind this friendly gesture.
My family of “smile devices” questions the influence of history, society, social media and sexuality on the social behaviour of smiling. By forcing the wearer to smile I want to create awareness about those habits of our bodies that go unnoticed in daily life.
By exploring femininity through form and material, I want to connect generations of women sharing the same universal experience of being perceived by the “male gaze”.
Reclaiming power over our bodies, our behaviour and our sensuality without being judged.
Men passing by telling unknown women to smile.
Contributing to centuries of expectations imposed upon the female body.
These pieces tell the real stories that can be found behind a seemingly simple smile.
Finding the right balance between
29 Franca Ullrich, 233 kinds, 2020 / objects / material: found araucana araucaria / technique: hand-carved
233 kinds is a body of work made from the branches of an Araucaria araucana found piled up in front of the artists house. Originally coming from Chile and being planted in the West as an ornamental tree the conifer asks questions about our colonial past and the relationships between other than human species. The number in the title of the work revers to the amount of beetles using the Araucaria araucana as a host, according to a scientific research paper. It inspired the artist to carve tiny chairs resembling their place in its wood. Placed on the ground the audience is invited to change its usual eye level just to be immersed in a vanished community of other than human beings we tend to oversee. It might be difficult to understand the relation to jewellery since the carvings are not made to wear but for the artist the most important and interesting aspect of jewellery is the approach one needs to make them. Being trained originally as a goldsmith she developed a patience and zoom into material which turns time into a gooey molasses, giving shape to the fragile kinds in and around us.
@ franca.ullrich (instagram)
30 Sophie Lola Vorläufer, Grow, 2023 / film
A woman has her armpit hairs plucked, by a hand. The hand plucks hair after hair from the armpit with tweezers. You can see how the skin lifts, how the individual hair does not want to be released, does not want to separate from the body to which it belongs. Little by little, the hand removes each armpit hair, one by one, until the armpit is naked and plucked red.
In this work we see the wonderment and pain of an adolescent woman who suddenly feels alone and left behind on a seventh-grade playground. Alone because she is the only one, left behind because yesterday they were two: two young women who had decided together not to shave their legs and not to shave their armpits.
She goes home and shaves her legs and her armpits.
Years later she feels the pain of accepting herself better without the hair under her armpits. The pain of having removed herself from herself, from her own original form, in order to please, to belong.
This film is a snapshot of being a woman. An existence that is about improving, changing, beautifying and plucking at oneself and by oneself. Until you feel naked yourself, feel strange in your own body. A body that one gradually loses, loses touch with and in front of oneself.
It is my decision to slowly find myself again, to rediscover myself in my shell. Admitting to myself that I thought I was accepting myself, thought I was making self-determined decisions, and realizing how far away I am from that in reality, has loosened something in me.
I let my body grow, my body grows, I grow.
31 Yunting Zhang, Fantasy Water, 2019 / film
There are certain things that are always hanging on my heart: bottles of “fantasy water” and tributes before the shrine. I want to think that magical power in my own life does not just come from intangible deities. But here, you will also find a hesitancy about the efficacy of the spiritualized “fantasy water”. Does it have the power to positively respond to the authentic environment in which we live, which is always full of hope and despair? As you know, what is present here is not necessarily perfect “fantasy water”, but I hope that you, the visitor, can explore this ambiguous experience, relying on the human touch within this storytelling for guidance.
32 Weimin Zhu, Playful jewellery for the inner world, 2022 / jewellery / material: 925 silver, ostrich feathers / technique: soldering
Weimin realizes that jewellery can be a special bridge between our physical bodies and our mental selves. Drawing on her long-standing interest in healing, her graduation work, Playful jewellery for the inner world, is a series of wearable jewellery pieces that encourage the wearer to move their body by inviting them to play. The movements prompted by these pieces have been selected based on research into body awareness therapy, which aims to heal one’s “inner world” by strengthening awareness of the physical body. There are two main aspects to these pieces: on the one hand, their wearability, and on the other, their playful “purpose”.
OPENING – Wednesday 8th of March 2023, 12:00-18:00
Wed 8 – Sat 11 / 2023 // 12:00 – 18:00
Sun 12 / 2023 // 12:00 – 15:00
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