Ron Porter is a former board member of AJF and long-time, art-jewelry enthusiast.
I have never been one to enjoy being spoon-fed by others the pabulum of what to think, neither in my vocation nor in my avocations. I prefer to draw my own conclusions based on experience, education and intuition. Contemporary jewelry has allowed me a vast opportunity to explore the possibilities of an artist’s intent, as well as the freedom to react with nothing more analytical than a visceral response to a seductive object. That may be part of why I love it so.
That having been said, the just-published monograph of work by Katja Prins created over the last twelve years may be one of the more thought-provoking recent art jewelry publications. Don’t misunderstand; Katja Prins: The Uncanny Valley has the exquisite photography, quality paper and thoughtful presentation that we have come to expect from such publications. But it delves beneath the surface of both the artist and the art to crystallize a body of work that, on first glance, may seem to be connected in no discernible way. It is not a coffee-table book.
As enigmatic as the title may be, provocative essays by Ward Schrijver, Graziella Folchini Grassetto, Ursula Ilse-Neuman and others inform the reader to appreciate the cohesion of the artist’s underlying vision and purpose. Be forewarned, this is not pabulum! It may be a little tough to digest.
It would be a great disservice to the artist and this monograph to attempt to summarize what is found between the covers. One must discover the treasure alone. If you know the work of Katja Prins, you will come to appreciate it even more by reading The Uncanny Valley. If you do not know her work, I urge you to let this monograph introduce you to her and her life’s challenge. It is a rich experience.