Festival SILVER in Legnica – 2016
The culmination of the 37th edition of the Festival SILVER in Legnica took place on 20-22 May. Not only is this festival a contemporary jewelery competition – it is also a global overview of what contemporary artists create and what kind of topics, techniques and materials are familiar to them.
At this year’s event 25 exhibition openings took place. We could see, among others, interesting individual exhibitions, such as Movement by Jeemin Jamie Chung or Where does a parallel world exist? by Mari Ishikawa. Rich group exhibitions included the annual cycle of Silver Schools, the exhibition Signs of Presence by employees of the Academy of Fine Arts in Lodz, Forgotten dogs and unseen flowers by Tabea Reulecke and Daniel Malev, the work of the Jewellery Art Concept association, and these are only a small part of the whole that was presented.
City and SILVER
The theme of the festival was CITY. The artists creating contemporary jewelry had a chance to think about what kind of phenomena or problems are associated with urban space and how does a human fit into all this, as a social unit. We had the opportunity to see the result of these considerations at two post-competition exhibitions: main, which took place in the Gallery of Art in Legnica, is a collection of jewelry selected by a prestigious jury and the second, held in Holownia (the lobby of the old town hall), which brings together works that were not qualified for the competition.
Artists, exhibitions, talks
During the culmination of the festival a symposium took place. This year it was divided into two parts: A Little bit of classic and A little bit of practice. Of particular interest were the lectures during which artists talked about their works which were presented in the context of their own exhibitions. It allowed to look at jewelry from a completely different perspective.
In my opinion one of the best lectures in the series was When I was growing up, I just wanted to be somewhere else – by Jorge Manilla. The artist showed us his homeland – Mexico, seen from his perspective as a city of great contrasts. He told us a little bit about who he is, where he grew up and where he lives now. He also explained how his life influenced the attitude which has to jewelry. He also mentioned that in case of his works it is better to feel, to experience rather than to watch.
In the introduction to the catalogue describing the exhibition we can read:
“For me jewellery means more that just creating something with aesthetic value…
Making jewellery I can find a lot of posibilities to research and try to understand life.”
– Jorge Manilla
Jorge Manilla loves black – and it can be seen clearly in his work. For him, color black is not sad or depressing. It is a place where the light begins – the point between darkness and brightness, from which a path to light begins.
I would like to try on your body
At the same place, where we could see Jorge Manilla’s jewelry, was Sergiusz Kuchczyński’s exhibition which is the result of his doctoral thesis. The exhibition consisted of three parts with separate titles: I’d like to try on your body, and Tie Me Up! and Protect me protectively – representing some kind of subsections to the main theme of the exhibition, which was: Corset.
Jewelry by Sergiusz Kuchczyński was highlighted by the Dominika Sadowska’s photos, which were exposed on the walls, between the objects.
Exhibition by Sergiusz Kuchczyński, however, was not the only one that was accentuated by the images of another artist: B (e) e black, is the title of one of the debuts taking place this year, during the Festival Silver. The author of the works exhibited on the mentioned exhibition was me (Justyna Stasiewicz) and the whole was accompanied by photographs taken by my brother (Rafał Stasiewicz).
From Spermheart to Mr. Zen
One of the individual exhibitions, which met with a particularly warm reception – resulting from its wit and unintrusive maneuvering of the recipient in a fun game of associations, was From Spermheart to Mr. Zen by Felieke van der Leest.
Monika Szpatowicz in a few graceful words described what could be seen at the exhibition:
Zoo Felieke is in fact a theatre and play with popular ideas, review of human-animal types and characters, is one great fun and metaphor.
Before I move on to the list of winners in this year’s edition of contemporary jewelery competition in Legnica, I would like to mention two more exhibitions. You have to bear in mind that the festival was unusually succinct and it is impossible to discuss fully all the artists and events, which entered into its composition, or at least you would have to write more than one article. Even more so, I encourage you to read the full program of the festival, which can be found at the website of the Art Gallery in Legnica.
This year, once again Au + group came to Legnica, which is next to Lis2 one of the most active groups of Polish art jewelery artists/creators. It is entirely male group, which includes Marcin Bogusław, Bartosz Maria Chmielewski, Filip Jackowski and Michael Wysocki.
These artists had prepared an interesting performance under the title of 1064 ° C, which took place during the first day of this year’s culmination of the festival.
The last exhibition, which I would like to describe a bit more, will be In the shadow by Wojtek Rygało. The artist hid from the audience until the last minute the work that he made, and that the guests of the festival could show the world one after the other, only during the grand opening.
Ending a report from the festival, I would like to present works that were awarded in the flagship competition of this year’s SILVER. As every year, there was an official prize-giving ceremony, during which a short performance by Mieczysław Gryza took place. The artist, using an electric hammer damaged part of the wall of the historic town hall, and wrapped the chipped parts in a piece of cloth and took with him. The result of the whole event was a wave of discussion on the one hand associated with the protection of monuments (and it is worth mentioning that the work of Mieczysław Gryza, which he prepared for the competition, was all about that) and on the second with what is allowed and what is not allowed to do for an artist.