A room of one’s own
exhibition during MJW (Munich Jewellery Week 2019)
A room for eight women (seven plus one)
A group of women, seven to be precise – Catalina, Estela, Federica, Flora, Judy, Jimena, Lilian – who work in the field of contemporary jewelry, albeit with very different formal and conceptual choices. Who wanted to share an experience.
Something different from a simple collective exhibition, where at the most one relates individually to the same theme. What they wanted was to deal with the questions posed by Virginia Wolf in the essay A room of ones own, which, in their sumptuous simplicity, still pose questions, as lucid as ever to women in search of their own artistic identity. And – fundamental – they wanted to try to do it together.
To realize this ambition, they asked for the collaboration of another woman, Doris, who, after many years as artist and teacher of contemporary jewellery retains creative freedom moving in variuos artistic directions. A professional and emotional proximity but also a certain distance. An external personality who, thanks to her experience and knowledge of each individual sensibility, was at the same time, with some of her creations, a connection between the parts, a director of space, a curator in the strictest sense of the term.
And this was the way to create a dialogue and amalgamate: to highlight the pieces presented by each of the seven artits through materials – artistic or everyday – which at the same time contained their overall coherence, aesthetics and meaning. Individuality and the collective, how to make them live together: the mother of all utopias, one might say. And yet it was possible, with intelligence and specific attention to what was important to each of them.
That the most recurring elements of the installation were women (small sculptures of women in porcelain) and mirrors has nothing casual.
Women folded in themselves, dreamy, stunned, dialoguing: a small extract of those infinite possibilities, of that vital chaos that makes our mind a vast space of contradictory thoughts, as Virginia highlights in her book To the Lighthouse.
And mirrors: the objects that par excellence give us the opportunity, if we have the will, to put ourselves in front of our own image, in front of the other, in front of change, or the Soul of the World, as some would say. The encounter was therefore between differences that were not avoided but rather enriched, while remaining distinct.
What then is true collaboration. The best form of being together. Who knows, maybe it is from here that we must start again, from even small experiences that, as Richard Sennett says, help and invite everyone to re-learn the ability of collaboration to “repair” our society, as a craftsman does with a damaged tool: useful in the past and potentially even more useful once repaired. For this reason, we can say that the challenge was mastered beyond expectations.
Life stands still here is Virginia’s phrase that makes the sense of how the installation was perceived, by those who exhibited and by those who were “guests” rather than visitors. An exposure of vulnerability and strength. Of reassuring intimacy and courage in telling oneself, humanly (there were signs) and artistically.
An exhibition that was unveiled to those who knew how to read it and give it the time to narrate itself, to those who accepted the invitation to establish contact, to really stay in the room and to live paths and references. An exhibition that maybe has left, more than the precise memory of every single detail, that of a long, surprising emotion. To recall an emotion is the way to remember Poetry, says Edmund de Waal, ceramist and writer, in a recent exhibition.
If it is true, using once again a concept often expressed by Virginia, that all human experiences are fluid, in the process of becoming, then it would be nice to be able to think that also this experience was just one stop in a longer journey.
That deserves to continue. In working together.
jewellery by : Catalina Gibbert, Judy Mc Caigh, Lilian Mattuschka, Federica Sala, Jimena Rios, Flora Vagi, Estela Saez
drawings and sculpture: Doris Maninger
text: Maurizio Alampi
photos: Lilian Mattuschka