Ruudt Peters is a force. He is everywhere, it seems, with an irrepressible energy. He lives in Amsterdam, but you can find him in Mexico, India, Sweden, China, and numerous other places on a regular basis. You could even find him on the AJF jury recently for the Artist Award. Over the years, he has made it a habit to investigate cultures unfamiliar to him when he was ready to start a new series of jewelry. His curiosity drives him to learn about the spiritual inclinations of each place and come up with a way to express it. He is adventuresome, and with each series he changes the idea, the medium, and the technique he uses to make his jewelry. It is a bold way to work. This new show at Galerie Rob Koudijs is a result of his trip to China and his research about Qi.
Susan Cummins: Please explain the Qi project.
Ruudt Peters: Qi is the energy of life. It is Chinese alchemistic knowledge. I traveled through China for three months in order to be in touch with the Chinese alchemy of Qi. During my stay, I found out that there is a big difference between the East and the West in their approach to life. The Chinese are more holistic in their view of life/health and the mind/body relationships. Chinese alchemy is a mixture of Taoism, herbal medicine, acupuncture, and tai chi. It is based on real life. I tried to get all these influences and ideas into my work. I got crazy about it, and so in the end, I decided to make a blind drawing daily. It was a way to keep the memories alive.
For two months, I traveled around the country researching, and then for the last month, I stayed in Xiamen at the Chinese European Art Center (CEAC). During that time, I worked with ceramicists and stonecutters who took the blind drawings and began to laser cut and etch the stone into brooches. By the time I left, the project was halfway finished, but I continued to work on them from Amsterdam through emails and translations. Also after I came home, I worked out how to treat the 99 individual ceramic men who represented the body experiences of acupuncture, cupping, stone massage, goose bumps, anxiety, crying, craziness, affection, and other feelings. Then, I went back to China for four days to work on the figures to make each one feel like an individual. Then, I had all the work shipped back to me, and when they came, I was even surprised by how they looked.