“I MAKE JEWELRIES TO BE ABLE TO SPEAK WITHOUT USING WORDS.” Lucia Massei
Few days ago, my vagabond shoes took me on a trip to Florence, a city which I am very attracted to, not only for it’s splendor, but for the indestructible bond I share with it. I came here again and again to follow a dream, to catch the essence of creating jewelry in a contemporary way.
In a short but intense respiro within the Florence’s refined cultural atmosphere, I had the pleasure to be accompanied by Lucia Massei (the director and cofounder of Alchimia Contemporary Jewelry School) to visit Antonella Villanova Gallery of Contemporary Jewelry. Beautifully placed beside Arno, the gallery hosts until the 14th of September 2013 “Interno”, an interesting project which comprises a combined exhibition of paintings signed by Pizzi Cannnela and jewelries created by Lucia Massei.
The empty spaces in the entrance reveals with enhanced clarity the two artistic entities present in the same space. The perception of a private interior of a “chamber de musique” is created by the “trompe l’oeil” effect, with the crystal chandelier painted by Pizzi Cannela and printed on a huge piece of silk, covering three walls in the room. The simplicity of the room increases the visual effect of Lucia Massei’s coral necklace, Mistiko, laying on a music stand like a symphony stave.
In Interno, the basic link between the two creators is related to music, the theme of rhythm being united with the visual beat of a work of art. As Lucia revealed to me, both artists have the same poetic essence, a kind of silent energy that is the result of a common aesthetic sense; a particular love for evocative forms which extends perception of feelings. The unity between those two artists is perceived along the whole artistic itinerary of the exhibition and the virtual music chamber remains close to you all the time, reflected by the paintings or reminded by the displays of the jewels, real music stands that hold to the eye level the necklaces.
Lucia Massei graduated the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence, where she studied painting. Her studies of Jewelry begun in high school, so she feels very close to colors and interested in combining these two worlds. Her jewels capture the transition moment when raw matter or an ancient object turns into new, unique and refined contemporary form. The effect is augmented by the audacious touches of colors, especially red, and the preservation of details from the original objects into the final pieces.
She created the entire collection using as base material, antique objects, mainly epaulets, one or two centuries old, belonging to different military divisions and countries. Some of the original elements are kept untamed in the final jewelry piece, soldered at the back of necklaces. She is fascinated by old things that represent our memory and in the same time hold within “traces” of the future. Those ancient non precious, apparently worthless objects, have to Lucia an extra value which resides in the care and the neatness of their manufacturing and in the stories that they’re able to tell to the listener.
Lucia’s creations aim to capture the contrasting abstractions like strength and fragility, transient and eternal, past and future. The jewels, representing one year’s work, created especially to match this common artistic project, belong to the same “opposites attract” concept, but with a little shade of irony. One of the bracelets title is “what remains of the General” and is made using general’s epaulets. The result was the mixing of two metals and fusion of two concepts, male and female. Melting a military decoration, “par excellence” a very very serious male symbol and transform it into something so very feminine, like a jewel, is a vivid proof of Lucia’s appetite for humor.
Technically speaking, the overlapping and twisting of the materials creates an intriguing harmony, despite the battle of contrasts and the irony of complementaries brought together by Lucia’s passion for treasures belonging to a vanished world. In Lucia’s jewels, the ancient melts to undergo alchemic transformation, to serve other purposes but nevertheless to rebirth into a new, surprising, ironically refined creation. Her art inspires symphonies meant to fire your imagination through the vibration and rythm of red, telling the viewer about life, love, power or bliss. For those who can see it, Lucia’s revealing in Interno some of her inner space, carried on by the lines and the shapes of her art and whispered by the language of colors. Through the extensively usage of red she reveals fragments of her personality, floating into a world of contrasts, her dramatism but also happiness, her strength but also her fragility, her poetry but sharp thinking, her incandescence and her shyness.
The interaction with a renowned artist and with her work was both impressive and energizing and ..red. Therefore I salute Lucia Massei, not in a military way, but with the same respect and a great admiration.