Athens Jewelry Week resembles a spine, a series of joints and links. Its building volumes are all the creative beings and their works that make its re-enactment possible year after year. The glue between the building volumes, the supporting nervous system, is the organization itself – The Anticlastics Team, an interview about Athens Jewelry Week 2019.
Athens Jewelry Week 2019
1. After four editions of AJW, how did the festival change and evolve? How did it change you, as artists and as organizers at the same time?
The first edition of AJW took place in 2016 and it was open to Greek participants only. Our main goal was to create a bridge and a dialogue between Greek contemporary jewelers living in our country and those that live abroad, in an attempt to unite and to support them, both in their country and all over the world. Since then, AJW has grown, opening up its boundaries, becoming international and more inclusive. One of the most decisive moments though, was when the festival entered the museum. While preparing our second edition, we started collaborating with the Modern Art annex of the Benaki Museum. We found that Despina Geroulanou, Member of the Benaki Museum Board of Trustees and Director of the Museum’s shop, shared the same passion and vision with us. After her proposal of hosting our central exhibition at one of their main exhibition spaces, we joined forces.
Athens Jewelry Week 2019 – Benaki Museum
This year, Art + Jewelry: Intersecting Spaces took place in the Benaki Museum, on Pireos 138, for the third time. And once more, we felt happy and privileged, because working in such an environment has been an endless source of inspiration. We consider Athens Jewelry Week a living being. It has its own independent and unique character. Sometimes it follows the guidelines we set up, while at other times it shows us the way. So as it changes and transforms, we change and transform too. Every year we welcome new participants and meet new people; we face new challenges and we are called to solve different problems. Inevitably, we learn new things every step of the way.
Being artists and organizers at the same time proved to be hard work, but an invaluable asset. Often shifting from the artist’s perspective to the organizer’s perspective (and vice versa) gives us a clear overview of this demanding project, while keeping alive our passionate relationship with the field and its people. As artists, we know from experience what fellow artists crave for, and we work hard to offer that. Alternating roles allows us to be inspired while inspiring and working onto building intimate bonds of trust with our audience.
2. Athens Jewelry Week 2019 was about…
AJW 2019 was about… all of us – whether students, emerging or established artists, visitors, interested parties coming from all backgrounds – meeting together in order to connect, share, inspire and be inspired by contemporary jewelry and each other.
Athens Jewelry Week 2019
3. How will you define beauty in contemporary jewelry?
Beauty in contemporary jewelry lies in authenticity and in the reciprocal quality of the shared experience between maker and viewer/wearer. Contemporary jewelry is more about the author – the maker behind the work. As such, it touches the realms of art. So it could be said that contemporary jewelry is a means to state an opinion, make a statement or express a feeling. It is a tool that allows one to create his unique version of the world and its contents.
On the other hand, beauty depends on who is looking at the work. Although it is a multi-dimensional ideal, simply put, beauty is that aspect (aspects) of animate or inanimate things that give pleasure to an individual, making him feel positive, grateful, inspired or even complete. Beauty is not art by itself. And art, although can be about beautiful things, it is not always beautiful or positive in the classical sense. It can be unpleasing and hurtful. It may assume the role of an activist that seeks to provoke a shift of perspective or a change, by evoking emotions and/or an emotional reaction. In this instance, we would say that beauty lies in the experience of this emotion and the shift it brings about. Contemporary jewelry works like that…
Athens Jewelry Week 2019
4. How will you describe the contemporary jewelry scene now in Greece?
The contemporary jewelry scene in Greece is colorful! It is rather small, but it is growing fast. It is passionate, dedicated and very active. Although there is no support from the state, makers, buyers, and emerging collectors and commentators, give their best self to stay connected with the international developments, traveling, studying and researching, always learning and being
inventive. It couldn’t be otherwise. As a nation that produces skillfully made adornments for thousands of years, Greece seems a fitting background for the field, offering a rich heritage and a culture that never stops to inspire.
5. So many beautiful pieces of jewelry at this edition. If AJW was a piece of jewelry made by you, how would it be?
AJW resembles a spine, a series of joints and links. Its building volumes are all the creative beings and their works that make its re-enactment possible year after year. The glue between the building volumes, the supporting nervous system, is the organization itself: the organizers, the program, the events, the spaces that become the breeding places which allow for interaction, encouragement, nourishment, promotion, and further development. The spinal cord, the energy that gives life and fuels the growth and the movement of AJW is our shared passion, a common vision and a strong intention to give back to the art jewelry field. So what type of jewel would better describe Athens Jewelry Week? It has to be an “alive necklace”, very similar to the one that was performed by Lodie Kardouss and her team, during this fourth edition of the festival.
Erato & Niki at Athens Jewelry Week 2019
The Anticlastics are a non-profit entity aiming, through collective action, to promote Contemporary Jewelry in Greece and abroad, enhancing awareness and exchange of views. The Anticlastics Team is formed by Erato Kouloubi and Niki Stylianou. Both are active in the Contemporary Jewelry scene and follow parallel paths. Their work covers a wide range of areas in the field of creative expression: from research and design to making and teaching.