Dissolve and Disseminate!

By France

Sponsored by California College of the Arts and The Rotasa Foundation

Marginalized from mainstream culture, contemporary jewelers have started colonizing the spaces available to them to (re)define their practices and the field at large.

In this joint lecture, Liesbeth den Besten and Benjamin Lignel, contributors to Contemporary Jewelry in Perspective, look at two facets of this recent transformation.

Den Besten discusses participatory projects and projects that question issues of value and show how these strategies move away from “object-hood” toward “jewelry-ness.” Lignel shows examples of how the seven “spaces of jewelry”—discussed in part one of Contemporary Jewelry in Perspective—are occupied differently by makers around the world and focuses on the page as a space of production. The resulting overview points to a craft that often forgets its craft roots in order to dissolve itself and disseminate into the world.

To purchase Contemporary Jewelry in Perspective, please visit AJF’s bookstore


  • Benjamin Lignel & Liesbeth den Besten

    Benjamin Lignel first trained in philosophy and literature, then in art history, at New York University and finally in furniture design in London. Most of his time is devoted to creating jewelry, but the laws of gravity have recently been steering him back towards desktop adventures, including, but not limited to, curatorial, associative and writing endeavors. In 2007, he co-founded La Garantie, Association Pour Le Bijou, a French association with a mission to study and promote jewelry. He became a member of Think Tank: A European Initiative for the Applied Arts in 2009.

    Liesbeth den Besten studied art history and archaeology at the University of Amsterdam. Since 1985 she has been working freelance as a writer for Dutch newspapers, Dutch and international art and design magazines, and exhibition catalogs. Presently, she teaches at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy, Amsterdam. She is the chairwoman of the Françoise van den Bosch Foundation for contemporary jewelry, a member of the advisory board of the Chi ha paura…? Foundation, a founding member of Think Tank, a European Initiative for the Applied Arts. Her most recent book, On Jewellery: A Compendium of International Contemporary Art Jewellery, was published by Arnoldsche in November, 2011.


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