Agathe Saint-Girons20 Years in TRANS is now on display at Galerie Elsa Vanier in Paris, France, until November 27, 2013. This exhibition showcases jewelry selections from Agathe Saint-Girons’s 20 years of making. In this interview, gallery owner Elsa Vanier and artist Agathe Saint-Girons discuss how this exhibition developed and about the current jewelry extravaganza in Paris called the Circuits Bijoux.

Missy Graff: What is the Circuits Bijoux, and who organized it? 

Elsa Vanier: Circuits Bijoux is presented by Ateliers d’Art de France in partnership with Les Arts Decoratifs Museum and the Un Bijou à l’Autre Association. Circuits Bijoux will be presenting around 70 exhibitions and proposing conferences and encounters aimed at highlighting the great diversity of contemporary jewelry from September 2013 to March 2014. 

France’s capital city has never before held an event that includes designers, museums, schools, galleries, cultural and institutional players, historians, and experts. 

Do you feel the Circuits Bijoux event will influence the knowledge and appreciation of the field of contemporary art jewelry in Paris? Internationally? 

Elsa Vanier: This event has attracted a lot of interest from jewelers around the world, and we can only hope it will attract some curiosity from a wider audience as well! I hope that the communications from the Circuits Bijoux’s website, the Arts Decoratifs Museum exhibition, the media, and large posters all around Paris will drive vistors to the various exhibitions.

Agathe Saint-GironsHave you noticed any common themes or ideas in the work of French jewelers?

Elsa Vanier: I can not say there is a specific French signature or a French style. However, it is only the beginning of the show, and a little early to say yes or no for sure. I should also mention that many of the exhibitions taking place include international artists. 

Why did you ask Agathe Saint-Girons to exhibit during Circuits Bijoux? Was there something special about her work that seemed particularly appropriate to this time?

Elsa Vanier: Agathe Saint-Girons’s 20th-year exhibition was planned long before the Circuits Bijoux event. Agathe has such a free expression in her work that I was very happy to start Circuits Bijoux with her solo show. Her pieces are not “easy sales,” but they are very interesting to speak about because they have a lot of personality.

Agathe Saint-Girons has a strong mind, so it occurred to me that it would be interesting to create a kind of circuit inside the circuit by asking her to introduce a younger artist to the gallery. She would recommend someone, and then we would do the same with her “protégé,” and again, and again, with a new artist every month until March 2014.

Please tell me about your background. Have you always had an interest in making jewelry?

Agathe Saint-Girons: I sold my first piece of jewelry when I was eight years old. However, I spent five years in business school after graduation.

Agathe Saint-GironsPart of this show is a retrospective, including pieces from 1992 to the present. How has your process and use of materials changed or developed over the past 20 years?

Agathe Saint-Girons: I cannot really say my process or use of materials has changed over the past 20 years. Rather, it is my approach to the subject material that has changed. The subject I am now working on through my Jewelery Portraits, Soul’s Mirror project is the contrast between the yin and yang parts in each of us, or between the social side of our relationships and the hidden, personal side. I have created some very personal and unique pieces of jewelry with this approach.

Can you please describe the work you are displaying at Galerie Elsa Vanier called Jewelry Portraits? What is particularly unique about your work and its relationship to your clients? 

Agathe Saint-Girons: This project is a way for me to create with another perception, another design brief, but still within my style. The process is far removed from placing an order. I create the work for a client based on three hours of personal interviews. The clients are only allowed to impose constraints based on material allergies or a lack of ear piercings.

What would you like your viewers to take away from this exhibition? 

Agathe Saint-Girons: Tenacity always wins, helped with wildness and courage.

Thank you.

Agathe Saint-GironsAgathe Saint-Girons

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Galerie Elsa Vanier, Paris, France