Jewels and artists
We live in a consumer society (unfortunately), where every object is created with the sole purpose of being consumed, to reach the end of its life cycle quickly. What about art? Does it get consumed? Absolutely yes, but the consumption of art is something that avoids being associated with ‘consumption’ as it is defined in economic disciplines.
Discover ‘I Sassi by Giorgio Vigna‘, sculptures to be worn
In art, however, the concept of consumption takes on a meaning different from the usual one: art that is ‘consumed’ is not depleted; quite the contrary. An enrichment is derived that does not affect the product itself because the value of art lies precisely in the immaterial dimension, in the emotion it can generate. Consequently, in a context where the goal is to achieve virtuosity, such as circular or closed-loop economy, art shows us that the noblest goal is actually to limit the life cycle to one but endless as its end will never come. Some approaches aligned with these logics have already become a paradigm even in industry, which can also be seen in artists working with jewelry.
Some examples? Among historical examples, the most emblematic for his approach to artistic production and the logic applied to jewelry, is César Baldaccini, better known as César. Famous for his compressions of everyday objects, he was perhaps among the first who made upcycling their signature, which can be seen in jewelry made with compressed bottle caps or ruined family jewelry. Another artist from the past who had a similar approach is Arman, who, in the field of jewelry, drowned fragments of small destroyed objects representing musical instruments in methacrylate. Or Mimmo Rotella, who tried his hand at jewelry by proposing on a small scale his typical overlapped posters of dolce vita movies. And then Antonio Paradiso, with the “Aria e Acqua” necklace made of Sciacca coral and gold, in which the coral used was part of a damaged necklace that was disassembled and reconstructed to generate new value. As for contemporary artists, we can appreciate some interventions that include the concept of upcycling in the development, choosing to fit in a part of the work components deriving from production scraps, elements that possibly would have been destroyed or reworked to generate a new product.
An example of this is Alessandro Busci’s “Iceberg” rings and necklaces, made from stones that are actually wasted from the cutting process, or defective silver plates that would have been re-melted through a cumbersome re-ennoblement process. Roberta Verteramo, on the other hand, uses scraps from bronze processing, small metal fragments with a rough appearance that lend themselves well to representing the concept of “distressed,” and that would be unthinkable to make from scratch. A series of virtuous examples that leave the industrial system room for new production paradigms because, as we have written, it is inherent in the idea of a work of art that it never reaches the end of its life cycle. What remarkable conclusion can we infer? Art is consumed without being worn out.