Forget canvases, blocks of granite and bronze: the body is the focus for twelve Brazilian artists who exhibited their art – pieces of jewellery – in an exhibition 'Contemporary Brazilian Jewellery' at A CASA Museu do Objeto Brasileiro.
Born of experiments with new forms, techniques and materials, the results are extraordinary, and at times beautiful. But this, according to the show’s curator Miriam Mirna Korolkovas, isn’t about aesthetics. ‘The artists aren’t concerned with beauty,’ says Korolkovas. ‘They’re more interested in expression, within the limits of what’s possible on the human form.’
The endeavour is epitomised by artists like Carol Pedroso, whose acrylic-and-silver creation fits inside the ear like an ear plug; or Alice Ursini, whose strange works push those possibilities to their limits with ceramic, leather and silver pieces that wrap around ankles and calves, or drape heavily over shoulders.
It’s arty, no doubt about it; but is it jewellery design? ‘Of course, the boundaries between art and design are blurred,’ says Korolkovas. ‘With design, you have to consider the weight and function of the piece. With art, there are fewer barriers; it’s just another medium, whose support is the body.’
Not all of the jewellery is cutting-edge – there are also bracelets made from seeds by a young native Krahô Indian. ‘Brazil is rich in cultural diversity, and so artists from different regions have completely unique approaches,’ says Korolkovas. Hena Lee, a Korean immigrant, creates necklaces from chopsticks, and carioca Mana Bernardes works with recycled PET plastic. ‘We consider all materials precious. It has nothing to do with their market cost.’