AJF asked the five young Artist Award finalists to give us their thoughts on the future of the field. Their work represents a group of outstanding pieces of contemporary jewelry. This is the third of five interviews, including one with Seulgi Kwon, the winner of this year’s award.
For this, the 14th annual AJF Artist Award, the jurors were Carin Reinders, director of CODA, Apeldoorn, Netherlands; Karen Rotenberg, founder and director of Alianza Contemporary Craft and collector of contemporary jewelry; and Sooyeon Kim, jeweler and recipient of the 2013 AJF Artist Award. The jurors met in October and selected the following five finalists for the 2014 AJF Artist Award: Attai Chen, Benedikt Fischer, Lauren Kalman, Heejoo Kim, and Seulgi Kwon. The choices were based on originality, depth of concept, and quality of craftsmanship. These artists are also all under the age of 35.
There will be a small show of the five finalists’ work at Platina’s booth in the International Trade Fair hall in Munich in the Frame area surrounding Schmuck.
AJF: Where do you think the art jewelry field is going?
Heejoo Kim: I think it is on its way to being an independent form of the arts. While many jewelry artists regard this work as art, the majority of purchasers, except for some collectors, tend to place “preciousness” above “the idea of the work” when they see art jewelry.
Despite the disagreement of the priority, it is clear that both artists and purchasers are being generous about the range and boundary of art jewelry. The experience of wearing breaks the fixed idea of artworks. When people wear art jewelry and feel the harmony of their body and the work, they can develop a different concept of art. Regardless of its “preciousness” or “a concept of an art piece,” wearing art jewelry could make people feel something different. The harmony of a wearer and a work can be a new form of artwork itself. I believe if more and more people experience art jewelry like this, they will naturally regard it as a form of art.
Additionally, I think the craftsmanship of this jewelry will continue to be valued. Obviously, each work has its own aura, and it belongs to the artist’s unique quality. As a jewelry artist, I believe that when you experience wearing and feeling the jewelry, you know that it was created by an artist.
What do you think about that direction?
Heejoo Kim: I have been thinking that art jewelry should become an art field in which the art is in harmony with the human body. So that means that “wearability” and “sustainability” are very important. If a piece of jewelry does not represent the two things, then it is incomplete. In order to make wearable and sustainable artwork, we should polish our basic skills and recognize what we are doing. That means that in order to make art works be more powerful, artists need to have basic skills. It does not mean that it should be necessarily technically perfect.
What excites you about it?
Heejoo Kim: All the things I mentioned above are promising for the growth of the art jewelry field. Eventually, if it becomes larger and more stable, then economic interests will be greater.
What frustrates you about it?
Heejoo Kim: I think it is important for the role of the critics, curators, and gallerists to be professional. At this point it is difficult for them to link the artists with the public, because the market is not large enough. It is regrettable that their role is so hard.
What do you think your direction will be five years from now?
Heejoo Kim: I will try to be more flexible over the next few years. I think my role has been to help more people enjoy art jewelry and experience something different. So in order to do that in a better way, I would like to be more flexible and broaden myself. I also want to clarify my Korean identity. I will consider what I can do as a Korean jewelry artist.