United States

In Conversation with Paul Derrez, Mike Holmes, and Noel Guyomarc’h

40 + 25 + 20 years of Jewelry Militancy | In English / 日本語版


Exterior view, Ra Gallery, 1979, Lange Leidsedwarsstraat, Amsterdam, photo: courtesy Ra Gallery

The past decade has given most independent art practitioners occasional cause for dismay, as culture budgets get slashed and jewelry departments fight for their economic survival. In this climate, I find it particularly important to celebrate the resilience of jewelry dealers around the world: They have “made history” in all senses of the words, in the face of changing economic and political environments. Three dealers—in Holland, the United States, and Canada—are celebrating major milestones in their galleries’ long histories this year. I reached out to Paul Derrez, Mike Holmes, and Noel Guyomarc’h a few weeks before Gallery Ra’s 40th birthday, and they agreed to speak to their joys and tribulations in an unusual triangular conversation.

Dear Paul, Mike, and Noel,

I little while ago, I watched a documentary film called It Might Get Loud, about three fearsome guitar players: Jimmy Page (of Led Zeppelin), The Edge (U2), and Jack White (White Stripes). The documentary was unremarkable but for the amazing bits of guitar playing, and the devotion that those variously innovative players have for music history. The youngest, Jack White, presumably had Page, the eldest, as a model. But he mostly listens to music older than Page: rare country blues recording of old guys singing older music. White’s tenderness for old blues (and his raw reinterpretation of it) echoes a line from Paul, in which he describes three of Ra’s exhibitions from the 90s as “reviving the jewellery-world by relating to history and heritage, not as comment or irony. They connected to old values, without copying them, and with great sensibility.”[1]

Paul, that respect for history comes as a surprise: I assumed that your gallery made history precisely because it wanted to break away with tradition, that you became a dealer to promote something that was not easily accessible in Holland at the time.

In fact, what these anniversaries bring into focus is your roles as people who bet against conventions. So a first question to all three of you: How conscious were you of your role as missionary and history-maker when you respectively started in Amsterdam (in 1976), San Francisco (1991), and Montreal (1996)?

Paul Derrez: When I became part of the Dutch jewelry scene, in about 1975, there was a feeling of starting a new era for jewelry. We thought a total break with history and conventions was necessary. To gain new possibilities, we needed to experiment in many directions: in concepts, in designs, in materials, in relation to the body, in genders. We called the results experimental jewelry.

Some pioneers, such as Gijs Bakker and Emmy van Leersum, had prepared this movement, but we wanted it broader, less formal, and less individualistic.

There was no audience or market for this kind of jewelry, so we chose the strategy of confronting, informing, educating, surprising, convincing… The gallery structure became the vehicle for this. We even thought we would replace the old jewelry world with our new ideas and attitude. Which of course was rather naive. Luckily that’s what you are as a youngster…

But we wrote history in a more modest way: A fresh new branch has grown on the big jewelry tree. It was a hard and complex job, but in the long term it worked!

But revolutions run the risk of developing new conventions and restrictions. To avoid this trap, new orientation and research in many directions was necessary. Connecting (again) to heritage, to historical and ethnic jewelry, offered new inspirations and possibilities. I don’t use the word “experiment” anymore as it points too much to “finding” something new. I now prefer the word “research” for developing new ideas. The internationalization in the last three decades has also enriched the jewelry field enormously.

(left) Velvet da Vinci at its previous Hayes Street location, 1991–2004, photo: Mike Holmes/Velvet da Vinci; (right) Exhibition view, Karin Johansson, 2013, Velvet da Vinci, San Francisco, photo: Mike Holmes/Velvet da Vinci

Mike Holmes: Velvet da Vinci began as a lark. Like many jewelry galleries, Velvet da Vinci was founded by makers. My cousin, jeweler Kara Varian Baker (yes, her!), and I had both attended California College of Arts and Crafts and were searching with our pals for a venue to showcase our work. The big Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989 had damaged a freeway that ran through the center of San Francisco and it was in the process of being torn down, allowing an otherwise neglected neighborhood to be rejuvenated. In 1991, Hayes Valley was mostly empty storefronts, and we took the smallest, cheapest one ($400/month!) on the sunny side of the street. Velvet da Vinci was born.

Elaine Potter Gallery had been the topnotch craft gallery in the city but had recently closed due to Elaine’s tragic early death, and we felt there was an opportunity for us. Susan Cummins Gallery in nearby Mill Valley was the preeminent jewelry gallery in the US at the time, but we were interested in presenting craft in a different way. In the beginning, we exhibited jewelry as well as studio furniture, ceramics, and contemporary tapestry-making, but soon realized that jewelry was what we knew best. Since then the gallery has mostly focused on jewelry and metalworking.

Within a few years, the gallery had outgrown our local roots. We started showing work by artists across the country and by 1996 had organized Britain Now!, the first survey of the great new work coming out of the UK. This began a series of exhibitions highlighting jewelry from around the world, and Velvet da Vinci built a reputation based on these and other thematic shows. We have come a long way from the days when exhibitions were organized by 35-mm slides and letters though the post office.

Exhibition view, Dialogue, collective exhibition curated by Noel Guyomarc’h, 2013, Galerie Noel Guyomarc’h, photo: Stephane Blackburn

Noel Guyomarc’h: Initially, the gallery’s concept originated from the desire to promote and stand for a few local artists whose work I liked. I opened, full of beliefs and enthusiasm, in a downtown building dedicated to culture and surrounded by many visual arts galleries. I didn’t have examples around me of galleries dedicated to contemporary jewelry. In Montreal, Galerie Jocelyne Gobeil had built an international reputation over a few short years, but had closed in 1994. The place where I had been introduced to contemporary jewelry practices, Bijoux Suk Kwan, closed a year later. I knew from personal research about places with global reputations, like Galerie Ra or Helen Drutt Gallery, but these seemed remote from me, and my ambition was not to lead a renowned gallery. I just wanted, as I do now, to defend a discipline.

It has often been a chaotic and difficult route: My first gallery was located on the third floor, in an arts community reluctant to craft and fragilized by an uncertain economy. In 1999, I closed it … but reopened a few months later on the street level. Determination paid off: Several exhibitions I curated at the beginning offered innovative thoughts about jewelry, about what that object could represent. Almost as soon as I opened, in 1996, proposals from international artists started coming in, and some Quebec museums got interested in the collections I was representing.

This work makes daily demands on you, and I didn’t let myself think about what I was building. But over the past 10 years, numerous new international proposals and prospects are helping me realize, in retrospect, how much ground I have covered. I still seek to defend and promote a discipline by selecting the work of artists that I consider a contribution to the field.

(left) Poster for Robert Smit exhibition, 1985, Ra Gallery, Amsterdam, photo: Robert Smit; (right) Anti-War Medals announcement card, design: Mike & Maaike

In preparing for this interview, I asked the three of you which exhibition in the history of the gallery defined you as a dealer—and in all three cases, your answer very much has to do with taking a position: Paul mentions the 1985 Robert Smit exhibition Ornamentum Humanum which made history by the fierce debate it generated between Smit (who had “returned to gold”) and Gijs Bakker, who furiously criticized the move as a treason to the ideals of new jewelry.[2] Paul describes how clearly marked his position was regarding the issue: “my disgust for prestige was so deeply felt, that I could not muster any affinity for Italian and German gold jewellery. I had explicit ideas about what the maker’s position should be and detested putting the artist on a pedestal as a bohemian genius. Ra Gallery typically regarded makers and their work as producers and products, as craftsmen who were socially engaged, without pretence.”[3]

Meanwhile, Mike chose as defining projects his Anti-War Medals (2003–2005), which he describes as a “very political exhibition in a field where Politics are normally carefully avoided,” closely followed by La Frontera (2013), which looked at the US/Mexico border. There are two issues here that interest me: How does the field of jewelry lend itself to creating “engaged art,” and how can selling art jewelry have anything to do with taking a stand?

Noel Guyomarc’h: Among the exhibitions I’ve shown, the most controversial and debated one was Impaired Visions, by Barbara Stutman in 1997. Stutman permits herself, through jewelry—objects that communicate—to criticize certain points of view. Using brooches, rings, and necklaces, she expresses, satirically, the perverse effects of images in the media, which she perceives to be an obstacle to the emancipation of women. Her use of textile techniques, something we associate with traditionally female crafts or pastimes, reinforces this stance. To acquire and wear one of her works requires courage and commitment; the wearer becomes a standard-bearer of certain taboo subjects, many of which are still very much in the news.

Other artists have similarly used jewelry for militant purposes. No longer active today, Christian Chauveau denounced the political and economic justifications of the global arms race and conflicts in works made in 1999. In another vein, Anne Fauteux’s Bijoux-Outils series (1996–2002), kind of contemporary artifacts, examined the popular beliefs in the object’s power. To pretend-resolve the ills of our society, she offered solutions in creating fanciful and spiritual jewelry: Anti-Bitterness jewelry, Keys of Hope, Embarrassment Container

Environmental issues have more recently become a common topic for jewelers, who have been tackling the subject in a great variety of ways. Natural/Artificial, an international exhibition curated by Luzia Vogt in 2012, took hold of the subject by questioning notions of natural versus artificial, and looking at the range of human intervention on the environment. Luzia is a good example of an artist/curator challenging the status quo.

I would not say, however, that she is a lone case: Jewelry is an object of communication, of belonging, of identification. In contemporary practice, it is the outcome of a vision and reflection of the artist about the world, her environment, her art. The use of jewelry as means of denunciation or rallying call is in my view a truism. Most of contemporary jewelry is taking a stand.

Invitation card, Barbara Stutman: Impaired Visions, 1997, Galerie Noel Guyomarc’h, Montreal, photo: Pierre Fauteux

Mike Holmes: Just running a gallery selling the kind of jewelry that our galleries do is taking a stand. Even after all these years, most people are still unfamiliar with the notion that jewelry can be anything other than personal adornment made of precious materials. That adornment can be made from less intrinsically precious materials and have become precious because of the concepts contained in the piece and/or the care of workmanship of that piece provides an intellectual engagement that my audience appreciates. I try to be careful about the political exhibitions that I have organized. I am not always looking for a new political “hook” that might trivialize a particular important issue. I don’t want to become an “issue-of-the-month-club.”

Providing a venue that supports and encourages the creation of accomplished new work seems to be my role at the gallery. A good example of this was Under That Cloud, in 2011, curated by Jo Bloxham at Velvet da Vinci. Contemporary jewelers from around the world had convened in Mexico City for the Grey Area Symposium when the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland erupted, grounding air travel and affecting millions of people around the world. The experience of these many artists being stranded in Mexico created some excellent work. Nanna Melland’s Swarm installation of hundreds of aluminum airplanes was born of this project and has grown and gone on to great acclaim at subsequent venues, including the Schmuck exhibition in Munich. Another less known but also wonderful piece born out of Bloxham’s exhibition was Caroline Broadhead’s Caroline portrait pair of beaded bracelets.

Caroline Broadhead, Caroline bracelets, 2011, glass beads, each: 180 x 55 x 3 mm, photo: Mike Holmes/Velvet da Vinci

Paul Derrez: Most contemporary jewelry is “decorative arts”: beautiful objects with seductive shapes, structures, and colors, which contribute to making one’s outfit and personality more interesting.

Themes directly inspired by life and nature—like flowers or leaves—never do any harm, nor do abstract “plays” with lines and planes, both of which are OK. It’s about aesthetics, and some makers do this with fantastical results and a lot do them in a banal way. The fantastic ones, like Julie Blyfield and Sam-Tho Duong, I show at Ra with pride.

Some jewelry is questioning and intriguing, and uses unexpected themes, forms, materials, techniques, or combinations of these. Offering a more intellectual play, for people with confidence and attitude, that often acts as a conversation starter. And you need an answer when people ask you: What is it? (I sometimes answer: What do you think it is?)

And then there is jewelry which confronts. Which deals with personal, social, or political taboos. Which operates as a comment, a critique, or even an aberration. The most confronting kind of jewelry are badges. They were popular in the 70s and 80s, to show a—often explicit—point of view. At that time, a handful of Dutch contemporary jewelry designers played with that format: Marion Herbst ridiculed military decorations and Gijs Bakker did the same with royal jewelry. In the 90s, Gijs Bakker (again!) mixed religion with sport and addressed sexuality in his pieces. Around the same time, I made a series of phallic pendants—Face, Dick and Cross—to confuse gender stereotypes, and Pill-roulette-brooches to question the healing and stimulating role of pills.

These pieces are truly conversation pieces, but only for the courageous!

Nowadays we see “soft,” general statements, for example about nature or the environment, but no sharp and explicit ones. The growing demand for, and awareness of, political correctness has led to self-censorship. And neither artists nor their dealers want to be stabbed because of a message on a brooch…

So we enjoy the decorative arts, and there is nothing wrong with that!

Noel Guyomarc’h: Paul, what were the reactions of your clients regarding the third kind of engaged work (Bakker’s or Herbst’s), or the heated debates that surrounded the Robert Smit exhibition? Was your clientele buying and wearing these works? Were they also interested in the debates that took place within the community, and mostly concerning the community?

Paul Derrez: Yes, the clients were also involved in the polemics, and bought and wore these pieces as statements.

Exhibition view, Marion Herbst, 1993, Ra Gallery, Amsterdam, photo: Tom Haartsen

Benjamin Lignel: Paul, do you find that some works that may not be very political become so when worn by certain people—i.e., is there such a thing as “political wearing,” and does contemporary jewelry lend itself to that, as well as badges?

Paul Derrez: Badges/buttons can make a clear (political) statement. A badge expresses with text or image a sympathy, a piece of advice, a comment, or a wish: Vote Trump!, No nukes! Free abortion now! Jewelry can play such a role as a visual message too, as mentioned in the examples above. The message can also been created by the wearer, the situation, and the moment.

Madeleine Albright played this game on a high level with mostly uninteresting costume jewelry. A good example of “political wearing.” In wearing contemporary artist jewelry, there is in general no political message. The only message is: Look at this special piece. It makes me special, too! I personally like to wear pieces which are a bit subversive, which deregulate stereotypes or good taste, but I would not call that political.

Opening view, Ra Present, 2011, Ra Gallery, Amsterdam, photo: courtesy Ra Gallery

Benjamin Lignel: Part of your galleries’ mission is to evolve with the times—and adjust to or surf on social changes: Paul mentions the emancipation of women in his 40-year anniversary publication. (“Luckily the emancipation of jewellery and women seemed to go hand in hand. The cultural and financial independence of women opened.”[4]) What have been the biggest social changes, in the last 10 years, that have reshaped your mission? How have you addressed them?

Mike Holmes: The impact of the Internet has been profound. It is the most efficient way to reach my customers, but also by far the way that most contemporary jewelry is consumed. Facebook, Klimt02, and Art Jewelry Forum, and countless other websites and blogs, provide easy access to new developments in the field. And Instagram has almost overnight become the primary way our audience sees new jewelry. In just over a year, Velvet da Vinci gallery’s Instagram feed has gone from 0 to nearly 10,000 (thanks, Amy Tavern!). These clicks do not usually turn into sales, but happily sometimes they do…

Exhibition view, Badges & Buttons, Waistcoats & Vests, 2012, Velvet da Vinci, San Francisco, photo: Mike Holmes/Velvet da Vinci

Noel Guyomarc’h: The most transformative changes have been the eruption of online communication and of social media into the field. We have had to learn to manage and to feed all these different platforms, which in turn offer a boosted visibility to both galleries and creators. Sometimes online traffic makes us forget the role of galleries, which function as “gatekeepers” in their choices and selections of works, and wage a permanent campaign of education and awareness. It is thanks to the directors of all the seminal galleries dedicated to jewelry—like Paul, Helen Drutt, Barbara Cartlidge, or Marianne Schliwinski, to name a few—that there are now important collectors of contemporary jewelry, and that museums are building contemporary jewelry collections. The galleries offer a physical visibility to the artist’s work, which not the case with the ’net.

Still, sites like Art Jewelry Forum or Klimt02 are doing an incredible job on several levels, educating, promoting, discussing, and introducing contemporary jewelry to new audiences. The pertinence of their articles and publications gives credibility to this effervescent environment.

And today, whether we want it or not, every dealer (and artist) is obliged to feed their social media platforms, update their website … and do this extra work that is expected of them!

Exhibition view, Golden Clogs, Dutch Mountains, curated by Andrea Wagner, 2008, Galerie Noel Guyomarc’h, photo: Andrea Wagner

Paul Derrez: From the start of Ra Gallery in 1976 to now, there have been immense technological improvements: the fax, the copier, the computer, the mobile phone, the Internet… Traveling also became much easier and cheaper. Possibilities grew and improved enormously: You just deal with it.

But in managing a gallery, a lot has stayed the same: To keep strict opening hours, to have interesting stuff, to have an adequate display, to be nice to visitors, to provide information, to offer service. The ingredients for success are basically similar to that of a butcher shop. Being raised in a jewelry-store family, I got this base in my genes. I believe in the power of consistency and continuity. (While teaching Professional Practice at Rietveld Academy some years ago, the students’ enthusiasm for the pop-up store model drove me crazy!)

Writing the Gallery Ra story for the new book Ra Gallery 40 Years Cherished, I was amazed to realize how consistent Ra has been over all those years.

And how consistent the audience is: a relatively small number of people, looking for works which appeal and convince, because of their smartness, beauty, or craftsmanship. My role as a gallery owner is—just—to be a good intermediary…

Interior view, Ra Gallery at its new Nes location, 2010, Amsterdam, photo: Tom Haartsen

Benjamin Lignel: We often forget that dealers, like artists, must fight for the survival of their gallery, and often can’t do it without a large support system that takes many different forms: grants and specific financial arrangements from the state (Paul, for example, recalls a 15% discount granted to collectors for buying from Dutch artists, later replaced by interest-free installments not limited to Dutch makers[5]), the support of clients and commentators turned supporters … and the invisible, but crucial, help of partners. (Paul, again, speaking about the year following his move to Vijzelstraat: “Thanks to a husband with a steady job I survived these hard times.”[6]) Can you speak about the precariousness of the gallery business, and how you all managed to last for so long? Can you speak about the opportunities that this job represents? If you had to write a letter of advice to your younger self, what would your recommendations be?

Noel Guyomarc’h: To maintain the gallery during the first years, I kept a second job. It was exhausting, but I was passionate and persistent. In 2001, I was able to produce an income, and started receiving local support: Some exhibition projects have received financial support from cultural organizations, mainly for the promotion of Quebec artists.

There were still some difficult years. Like Paul, since the beginning of my gallery project, encouragement and my partner’s support have been and still are essential. (Since 2012, when he started working as the director of the Montreal Jewellery School, he has become much more aware of the importance of dealers.)

I have also tried to diversify my sources of income: In recent years, I have run creative workshops, with great success. Museums do contact me to assess works they receive in donations, or to act as commissioner for exhibitions or events.

Although it is a tough undertaking, the field needs new dealers.

What advice to a newcomer? The longest process is building a loyal customer base. It takes years. Establishing trust and credibility with the clientele, with the artists and institutions. The selection of works/artists gives a direction to the gallery, it is a sort of calling card. The relationship with the artists is also important: exchanges on new projects, exhibition planning, sales regulation … It’s a combination of factors that installs one’s reputation.

In Canada, interest in contemporary jewelry is growing slowly. Several customers have become collectors. Over time, however, I have had to develop a European and American clientele: By participating in various art fairs, new contacts were established. You must be very patient, and just as persevering, active, and creative as an artist.

View of exhibition entrance, La Frontera, 2013, Museo Franz Mayer, México D.F., Mexico, photo: Mike Holmes/Velvet da Vinci

Mike Holmes: After 25 years, running the gallery still isn’t easy, but at least I think I worry about it less. New challenges don’t seem as difficult as ones I have already survived. That must be progress! Rolling with the ups and downs of the economy and living on not very much money are the keys to keeping the doors open. My biggest ongoing challenge is the rent in a very expensive city like San Francisco. Polk Street is becoming hip, like Hayes Street before it, and the rent at the small space on the corner just went up to $13,000 a month (Lord Stanley, on 2065 Polk Street, was just named the third best new restaurant in the US…)

My advice to myself or anyone thinking about opening a gallery (there are not many new ones…) would be to be prepared for long days, hard work, and not much money, but know that the effort is repaid in huge ways with the amazing people you will meet along the way. The community of the gallery’s loyal customers, Polk Street neighbors, and my wonderful co-workers make going to work an ongoing pleasure. I love that I can go to many cities around the world and enjoy my close friendships there. Huge thanks for the support all these years.

Paul Derrez: How to survive is partly a matter of choice: Using your inherited money to invest in your business instead of buying a house. Living cheap. Building an enthusiastic team around you (assistants, bookkeeper, graphic designer, and photographer) to make running the gallery smooth, efficient, and therefore cheaper. For a while I was teaching, and this brought in some money. But it also distracted from gallery duties.

Partly it’s a matter of luck. My husband Willem had a steady job and housed and fed me when I was broke. Building up a pension was never possible for me. Happily we get a modest state pension in the Netherlands. But the gallery is always dependent on sales.

A few years ago there was the crisis, and people stopped spending money. I had to let go of my employees, but the gallery survived. Now the economy and mood are positive again, and Ra is alive and kicking.

What you need for this and other jobs are (not just a dream, but) a vision, commitment, consistency, and continuity!

Thank you!

Paul Derrez and Willem Hoogstede at the Rotterdam Contemporary fair, 2016, photo: Miecke Oosterman

MARQUIS IMAGE: Poster for Esther Knobel exhibition (cropped), 1995, Ra Gallery, Amsterdam, photo: Pepijn Provily

[1] Paul Derrez, in an email to the author, September 15, 2016.

[2] See Paul Derrez, Ra Gallery 40 Years Cherished (Amsterdam: Galerie Ra, 2016), 31.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid, 25.

[5] Ibid, 19.

[6] Ibid, 29.









少し前、私は『It Might Get Loud(邦題:ゲット・ラウド ジ・エッジ、ジミー・ペイジ、ジャック・ホワイト×ライフ×ギター)』という映画を見ました。ジミー・ペイジ(レッド・ツェッペリン)とジ・エッジ(U2)、ジャック・ホワイト(ホワイト・ストライプス)の個性的な3人のギタリストを追ったドキュメンタリーで、特筆すべきほどの作品ではありませんでしたが、凄技のギター演奏と、さまざまな意味で革新的なギタリスト勢の音楽史への貢献は見ものでした。当初、最年少のジャック・ホワイトは最年長のペイジをお手本にしていたそうですが、彼が聴いていた音楽の大半は、ペイジよりさらに時代を遡った、往年世代が歌う古い曲を録音したレアなカントリーブルースばかりだったそうです。ホワイトが抱く古いブルースへの憧れ(と、その粋な再解釈)は、ポールが90年代にギャラリー・ラで行った3つの展覧会について述べた「コメントや皮肉という形ではなく、歴史や遺産にかかわっていくことで、ジュエリー界を蘇らせる。彼らは、模倣に走るのではなく、大いなる感性を通して古い価値観とつながる」という一節に通じるものがあります。[1]














3人には、このインタビューに先駆けて、ギャラリー史上どの展覧会が、ディーラーとしての立場を決定づけたのかをお訊きしましたが、全員から、ある立場を表明するということに深く関連する回答をいただきました。ポールは、1985年のロバート・シュミットによる、「オーナメンタム・ヒューマナム」展を挙げましたね。この展覧会は(「金への回帰」を遂げた)シュミットと、そのシュミットの動きを、新しいジュエリーが掲げる理想に反するとして猛烈に批判したハイス・バッカーとのあいだで熾烈な議論を引き起こしたことで歴史を作りました。[2] ポールは、彼がこの件でいかに強くその立場を明示したかを次のように描写しています。「私の高級志向への嫌悪感はあまりに強く、イタリアやドイツのゴールドジュエリーへの親近感は一切湧かなかった。私には作り手の立場はこうあるべきという明確な考えがあり、アーティストを奔放な天才と謳って展示台の上に祭り上げるような真似には我慢がならなかった。通常、ギャラリー・ラでは誇張は加えず、作家とその作品をその生産者と制作物であり、作家は社会と関わる職人であるとみなしていた」。[3]















ノエル・ガヨマーチ:ポール、(バッカーやハーブストといった)第3種のテーマ性のある作品や、ロバート・シュミット展を巡る白熱した議論に対するお客さんの反応はどんなものでしたか? そういう作品を買って身につけてくれました? 彼らもそういったコミュニティの中で起きた、主にそのコミュニティ自体に関する議論に関心を持ってくれましたか?


ベンジャミン・リグネル:ポールに訊きます。あまり政治色の強くない作品でも、特定の人が装着することで政治色を帯びるということはあると思いますか? 換言すれば、「政治的な付け方」というものはありますでしょうか? また、コンテンポラリージュエリーもバッジと同じくそれに適していると思いますか? 

ポール・デレ:バッジやボタンは明確な(政治的)意思表示ができます。バッジひとつあれば文字やイメージを使って、共感や進言、コメントや願望を表現できます。トランプに一票を! とか、原発反対! とか、中絶の自由を! とかね。ジュエリーは、いま例示したような視覚的メッセージの役割も果たせます。装着者、状況、タイミングだってメッセージの作り手になり得ます。

マデレーン・オルブライトは、たいていはつまらないコスチュームジュエリーを使ってのことだったとはいえ、ハイレベルなやり方でこのゲームに興じましたよね。これは「政治的なつけ方」の好例です。同時代のアーティストのジュエリーを装着すること全般には政治的なメッセージはありません。唯一のメッセージといえば、この特別な作品を見てよ! これを付けていると私まで特別になれるの! っていうことぐらいで。個人的にはステレオタイプや趣味の良さを決めるルールを打ち破る、ちょっと不穏なところのある作品を付けるのが好きですが、それは政治的だとは言わないですよね。

ベンジャミン・リグネル:みなさんのギャラリーの使命のひとつは時代に伴う成長であり、社会の変化に応じて調整したり同調したりしていらっしゃいますよね。ポールは、開廊40周年記念の出版物で女性の解放について言及されていました(「幸いにも、ジュエリーの解放と女性の解放は歩調を合わせているようだ。女性の文化的・経済的自立の道が切り拓かれた。」[4])。過去10年間で起きた出来事のうち、皆さんの使命を一新させた最大の社会的変化は何でしたか? どうやってそれに対応しましたか? 

マイク・ホームズ:インターネットの影響は絶大です。お客さんに接触するには一番効率のいいやり方ですが、多くのコンテンポラリージュエリーの消費を招く最たる道でもあります。フェイスブックや klimt02、Art Jewelry Forum、そして無数のウェブサイトやブログの台頭でこの分野で起きている新たな変化を知るのが容易になりました。それに、Instagramは、ほぼ一夜にして、お客さんが新しいジュエリーを知る最初の手段になりましたね。たかだか1年超で、ヴェルヴェット・ダ・ヴィンチのInstagramの投稿数はゼロから10,000近くに急上昇しました(エイミー・タバーンのおかげです!)。ふつう、こういった「いいね」の数が売り上げに直結しませんが、ありがたいことに、時にはそうなることもあります…


それでも Art Jewelry Forum や klimt02 は、啓蒙や宣伝、論議の提供や新たな客層へのコンテンポラリージュエリーの紹介という複数の次元においてめざましい仕事をしています。彼らが出す記事や出版物の適切性はこの活気ある状況を裏づけるものです。




『Ra Gallery 40 Years Cherished』の上梓に向けてギャラリー・ラの物語を執筆していたら、これまでの首尾一貫した姿勢に気づいて自分でも驚きました。


ベンジャミン・リグネル:私たちは、ディーラーもまたアーティストと同様、ギャラリーの存続のために戦わねばならず、助成金や州の財政措置(ポール、たとえば、オランダ人作家の作品購入時に適用されたかつての15パーセントの割引制度は、オランダ人作家に限らず適用される利子の無料化という措置に改正されましたね[5])、クライアントや評論家上がりの後援者からの支援…そして姿は見えずとも不可欠なパートナーによる協力という、さまざまな形における大きな支援体系が整わずしてはその戦いがなし得ないことも多いのだという事実をしばしば忘れがちです。(再度ポールを引き合いに出させてもらうと、ビーゼルシュトラートへの移転の翌年は「安定した職を持つ夫のおかげできつい時期を乗り切れた」とおっしゃっていますね[6])。そこで、ギャラリー稼業の不安定さと、どのようにしてこうも長く続けてこられたのかをお聞かせいただけますか? この仕事ならではのチャンスについてもお話ください。若いころの自分にアドバイスを送るとしたら、どんなことをすすめますか? 







マイク・ホームズ:25年という年月を経てもなお、ギャラリー経営は楽な稼業ではありませんが、少なくとも悩みは減ったと思います。新たな挑戦が訪れても、いままでのものに比べればたいして困難には思えません。これは間違いなく進歩ですよね! 経済変動の波に乗り、潤沢とは言えないお金で生活することが、ギャラリー継続のカギです。私にとって目下の最大の課題は、サンフランシスコのような街は、賃料がバカ高いということ。ポルクストリートもかつてのヘイズストリートのようにヒップになってきたから、角地の小さなスペースでも月の賃料が13,000ドルにまではね上がってしまってね(つい最近、ポルクストリート2065番地のロードスタンレーはアメリカで新規開店されたレストランのベストスリーに格付けされてしまったし…)







[1] 2016年9月15日に筆者宛に送られたポール・デレからのメール

[2] ポール・デレ著Ra Gallery 40 Years Cherished (Amsterdam: Galerie Ra, 2016)、31頁参照。

[3] 同書参照。

[4] 同書25頁参照。

[5] 同書19頁参照。

ベンジャミン・リグネル:デザイナー、ライター、キュレーター。学士過程で美術史、修士課程で家具デザインを学び、修士号を取得した直後にジュエリーデザインの道に進む。2007年、ジュエリーの研究と振興を目的としたフランスの団体、ジュエリー保証協会(la garantie, association pour le bijou)を共同設立。2009年、欧州応用芸術イニシアチブ、シンクタンクに加入。2013年、ミュンヘン国立造形美術大学(ニュルンベルグ、ドイツ)のゲスト講師を務め、同年1月、アートジュエリーフォーラムの編集者に任命される。2015年、ジュエリーの展覧会を考察した初の著作『Shows and Tales』の編集に携わる。

Translated from English by Makiko Akiyama.


  • Benjamin Lignel

    An art historian (BA) and furniture designer (MA) by training, Benjamin Lignel veered toward jewelry design just after earning his master's degree. Lignel describes himself as a designer, writer, and curator. 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, and was a guest teacher at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste (Nuremberg, Germany) in 2013. Lignel was appointed editor of Art Jewelry Forum in January of the same year. In 2015, he edited the first book-length study of jewelry exhibition-making, "Shows and Tales." 

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