The Queue for Food Bracelet, 2019 (Photo: M. Coman)
The end of World War II brought peace in Western Europe and communism in Eastern Europe. Mister Churchill offered 90 percent of Romania to Stalin on the famous hand written little note. After 15 years of terror, communism was installed.
How was it? I'm often asked. We were equals in a prison, in misery. It was humiliating and absurd. After these 30 years since the Communism fell, my jewellery collection tells the story of the daily life, the daily queues, of the people living in their small and cold, concrete apartments and thinking all the time of how to get some food, hot water, toilet paper, gas, books, light, films, music, coffee, ...soap...
Everybody wore an empty bag on empty streets with the hope that they might bring some thing, anything that reminded them of a normal life, back home.
My collection is not a political statement, is a life story. Life after WWII for Romania was a 45 years long coma followed by 30 year of slow recovery. Happy 75 anniversary, Europe!
Tattooed Pregnant Belly - Cuirass (Precious Tats project), 2020 (Photo: Vladimir Kotov)
In 2018, I created the "Precious parts" (capsule collection), where I started my anatomical research, and made several items, studying what is considered to be imperfect in common sense.
Further I continued this project, studying different textures of skin, including scars and bulging tattoos - which is basically a keloid. Electroforming helps to save the skin texture better than casting, so the objects not only have skin texture perfectly saved, but also have remains of rough convex tattoos.
During the project, I pay a lot attention to differences in textures, to all so called imperfections, to how a body changes in different states and positions, to how the skin works, stretches and shrinks, and how keloid tattoos behave on different body shapes.
For the Polemos exhibition I have created a shoulder and a neck piece, and a cuirass in the form of a pregnant belly with the remains of bulging tattoos. This is a surreal twist because I created "armory", using modern technics with tattoos that should remind about battle scars and ornaments of original medieval armory.
Candle for Peace - Candle, 2020 (Photo: Yonghak Jo)
I create jewellery as a wearable monument. By remembering war and the people who were involved in it, I attempt to contribute to the recovery of human nature and peace.
Both jewellery and monument exist as media of memory. They may differ in the representation; while the former stays confined within the private space, the latter occupies public space. However, they have in common their fundamental nature: to remember, to remind.
What I try to revoke through my work are things and people that exist amid the ongoing history of conflict that we, as human beings, have both created and are affected by.
I work on the theme of Korean War since I could experience and understand the chaos of Cold War and armistice in my native language. Since war itself is a painful experience that we all share to some extent, I believe my work based on Korean War can make my message heard by anyone who sees it.
The Soldier - Pendant (No More Heroes Anymore), 2020 (Photo: M. Karagkiozi)
No more Heroes anymore
No more Heroes anymore discusses the entanglement of human values that led to wars through time and space. It challenges the archetypal type of the self-sacrificing hero and everything that it represents. Elements of mockery in some of my pieces aim to deconstruct the power of this narrative.
Heroes fall and rise. Idols may collapse. Are Gods dead?
What becomes of us?
This project is an attempt to remove rigid symbols from their pedestal. Its goal is to enable real-life dialogues by rediscovering the victim in the hero.
Papisa Juana - Ring, 2020 (Photo: Ekaterina Korzh)
In 1095 Pope Urban II gave his famous speech at Clermont.
He combined the familiar ideas of pilgrimage and penance with the more radical notion of papally sanctioned violence. The result was something the world has never seen before.
The Crusades that followed Pope Urban's speech are known as some of the cruelest military campaigns in human history. Crusaders died on the way while trying to reach the Holy Land, slaughtering people who protected their homelands. Some of them were fighting for the imaginary Heaven, a land to reach after death, some to gain a real fortune.
The deed behind crusades was one and the the same: land is a treasure and a trophy.
My work takes examines the concept of "Land", real or imaginary, as the very interest of the Crusades. I create micro-landscapes in the form of religious talismans in order to translate this concept of Holy wars into jewelry.
Cut, Bend #8 - Brooch, 2020 (Photo: Paul Finch)
When we talk about war, we talk about the conflicts caused by power dynamics and competing ideologies. In Australia, amid disastrous bushfires linked to climate change and irresponsible human activity, politicians are waging an ideological war with those advocating for radical change.
The work I make follows a history in Australian jewellery making of interpreting the landscape. I am absorbed in particular by the dynamics and fragility of the environment, of people and the movement of matter between the two.
Thinking about the vibrancy of matter, I draw parallels between states of change in the world at large – grand, political and environmental – and the insular world of the individual – intimate, emotional and corporeal. The painted façade of contorted brass forms brings permanence and impermanence together.
Metaphors of change and adaptation are found in the material processes I use. They sympathise with our journey, as people, of negotiating life with each other. While the work has a strong material presence, it is really about gaining insight into the way we make ourselves.
O.T. - Body object, 2016 (Photo: Nicole Maunz)
It takes courage to approach one’s own dark feelings and open up a space for emotions like pain, sadness, anger, love, fear, disgust, envy or greed. As an unconscious motor, these emotions unleash strong constructive but also destructive forces that drive us to make decisions and take action.
Unresolved or repressed emotional contents create an inner conflict. Attempting to control the associated conditions or to keep them away leads to projections, whereby the reason or culprit is usually sought outside.
Conscious feeling, non-judgmental observation and recognizing the projection mechanisms is like a kind of liberation from an inner prison. Or, as Albert Einstein put it, a liberation from a kind of optical illusion of consciousness, in which a human experiences himself as separate from himself, from his thoughts and feelings and ultimately as separate from everyone else.
The Beirut Egg - Object, 2012 (Photo: Jürgen Baumann)
It was war who spoke to peace:
you should have stayed at home!
Peace thereon replied:
all the noise you made
woke me up!
This roar and thunder
these laments, these cries of pain
almost bereaved me of my mind
Your bloody battle
took my sleep.
For what is this all, if I may ask?
Mythophagen - Vocal Performance, 2019 (Photo: Chr. Ziegler)
LUPUS LUPO HOMO - descendents of survivors
Facing screams, tattered bodies, tortured and horrified women and children, traumatized cells, untold or unexpectedly ejected horror – is it appropriate to lead all this into an "art" attitude and from there into your listening....?
I don't dare judging appropriateness in this case - but only how we as grandchildren of war grew up amid an unmastered suffering instilled with that unmentioning or repetitive summoning, with the repression’s purpulency poured out over our once free-moving heart - oh no, we won’t be that lachrymose - were we not surrounded by symbols of peace and fear - and other wars took place far, far away?
But we finally have learned and evolved into more alert hikers through history than many of our parents - alas: As long as peace lives in images, as long as the idyll has a color, violence prevails.
Agios Giorgos - Wall object, 2020 (Photo: Chr. Ziegler)
"On June 10, 1944, for over two hours, Waffen-SS troops of the 2nd company, I/7 battalion, 4th SS Polizei Panzergrenadier Division under the command of the 26-year-old SS-Hauptsturmführer Fritz Lautenbach went door to door and massacred Greek civilians as part of "savage reprisals" for a partisan attack upon the unit's convoy.
A total of 228 men, women and children were killed in Distomo, a small village near Delphi. According to survivors, SS forces "bayoneted babies in their cribs, stabbed pregnant women, and beheaded the village priest." (Source: Wikipedia)
The grandfather and other relatives of Leonidas Panourgias were murdered in Distomo. Panourgias engraved "St.George - Distomo" to commemorate one of the most atrocious and unrepentant crimes against humanity Germany committed during WWII - a crime that still remains unpunished.
"Like St. George, a Roman army officer of Syrian decent, martyred for our redemption, the Distomo victims stayed in the village and helped their family and friends to flee in the woods by sacrificing their own lives", Panourgias claims.
Quiet Please! - Brooch, 2020 (Photo: C.M. Pretorius)
Gender Violence - Repressed War
The hand that covers my mouth is not mine.
I am not silent.
Fragile stitches embody my gender, my craft. I connect each thread, weaving the story, enclosing the fear. And I am silent, my words don’t reach my mouth.
Constricted by repression, dominance. Muzzled.
I create my armour, stitch myself back together again.
So I can be strong. Face my fear.
Start to live again.
Using crochet techniques that represent the female essence, I create my protection, my restraints. Together with traditional jewellery making techniques, the struggle to conquer fear becomes physical in the creation of the works.
Imagery include muzzles, armour and the hand as the executor of violence. Jewellery that is not ‘pretty’, but worn as visual expression when words don’t want to, or can’t, be uttered.
They Gave Me A Medal - Necklace, 2020 (Photo: A. Radulescu)
War is an uncomfortable subject; the physical and emotional toll it leaves behind is palpable. No matter if they’re medals, decorations, shields or wreaths for conquerors or martyrs, the symbols of war are complex and crafted, often so ornate. But they have to be uncomfortable. The pieces’ intent is to create the feeling of crossing barbed wire, the hurt and misery of being coerced into the cold, the emptiness of rewards.
The War, World War II, was present in my life long before I was born. My father fought in it as a young officer, my mother became a teenager during it. They didn’t talk much about it, but the little I heard was horrifying; everything was gone but memories, scorched earth and burnt metal smell.
In the aftermath of the war seven countries became the Eastern outcasts of Europe. 7,000 km of walls and fences, a new form of war.
St.Barbara, Patron Saint of Artillerists - Pectoral ornament, 2020 (Photo: Chr. Ziegler)
Women can be patrons of war. Athena is the most famous one in Greek mythology. In Christian Greece names change, but the force behind the name remains the same.
My grandfather kept a tiny St.Barbara icon in the pocket of his jacket while fighting in the Northern Epirus front during the Italian offensive against Greece in WW II (1940-41). Decorated for bravery, my grandfather, a doctor and reservist artillery officer, told me that while his position was shelled, he placed his life in God's hands.
Icons are mediators between man and God in the Orthodox tradition; they witness the human nature of divinity; and they inspire humans to overcome their nature, to overcome fear. I like to think of St.Barbara - an embroiderer and patron of warriors - as a beautiful woman and a messenger of glory; she raises her cup to salute us and holds a branch of palm under her left hand.
St.Barbara might have reminded my grandfather of my grandmother who raised her glass at the family banquets to wish him well and was serving at Red Cross back home. The icon condensed memories, wishes and faith and gave him the strength to carry on.
The Importance Of Others - Brooch, 2020 (Photo: E. Smith)
All throughout our lives, we are exposed to a phenomenal amount of negative information, whether it be international conflict or problems on a personal scale. This can – understandably – be overwhelming at times.
A part of the programming in our brains results in negative bias. This means we tend to focus on and therefore remember the more upsetting, hurtful or humiliating moments over the ones that truly make our hearts sing.
With this project, I endeavoured to bring the positives to light. Despite the countless struggles of the world, a little kindness and compassion can indeed go a long way. If history has taught us anything, it is that nothing can ever be solved through continuously perpetuating negativity, hatred and fighting.
It is not at all my intention to trivialise the severity of these issues, but negative things will always happen. It does not necessarily have to be about the issues themselves, but what you choose to do about them.
Tactical Acquisition Device - Sculptural hand grenade, 2020 (Photo: Jason Stein)
My work explores the idea of control: In the physical world and within our own consciousness. I am fascinated by the influence of the unseen structures and systems of everyday existence that modify our experiential reality.
I create physical interpretations of the structures of my internal mental landscape in order to identify and control the subconscious forces at play: The internal struggles and battles for control and understanding of a perceived sense of identity.
This form of internal warfare takes place against the backdrop of a volatile social and political world that is further distorted and corrupted by the consumption of a biased media. War is a dirty business motivated by the quest for power and political capital, and taken advantage of by corporations and nations at the expense of the most disadvantaged and immobilized segments of society, all while shrouded in the patriotic language of freedom and security.
Fragments - Necklace, 2020 (Photo: Chr. Ziegler)
Our contemporary culture is based on the principle of exploitation.
The global hunger for energy and raw materials makes war an obligatory means to fulfill the promise of unlimited prosperity and to keep up the circuit of production and consumption.
The plastic toy guns I use in the jewellery series I created for the exhibition Polemos refer both to the raw material which is the fundament of our synthetic age, and the political power system necessary to secure its exploitation.
The side effects of the wars for oil and military interventions in the Middle East have drastically become perceptible through the refugee crisis in Europe and other countries.
Paradoxically, the consequences of these effects do not cause a return to a more sustainable and energy-conscious culture, but a proliferation of militarism and political radicalisation.
© ZLR Betriebsimperium 2020