Rita Martinez, alchemy & contemporary jewelry

Rita Martinez, alchemy & contemporary jewelry

Rita Martinez, alchemy & contemporary jewelry 1365 2048 Dautor

We talked to Rita Martinez, awarded by AUTOR for her collection Maledetta Primavera in the Joya Barcelona Fair 2021 event and found out more about alchemy, nature, transformations and other insights about her creative process and the contemporary jewelry art scene. Rita will showcase her collection during AUTOR International Contemporary Jewellery Fair 2022 during 28th – 29th of May at Oscar Maugsh Palace in the heart of Bucharest.

1. Rita, your latest collection Maledetta Primavera speaks about alchemy, are you exploring / have you explored other spiritual themes in your artistic practice?

Alchemy has as its essential reason the transmutability of common metals towards higher planes of these and even life itself (the philosopher’s stone). In the process, they can be brought back, transformed, and endowed with other qualities. Perhaps that is why the alchemical operation appears as an imitation and reproduction of the original creative process that we are about to discover by letting it flow.

When it flows, bodies are freed from their limitations, their weights, their corporality to open the way to the deepest: consciousness, disorder and balance again, a game between the triad of spirituality, magic and astrology that together change the perspectives between heaven and earth, balances and what we might think we know.

This magic of transformation has been associated to something dark and mysterious since Christianity and hence its negative connotation, as well as white magic that, despite its healing properties and knowledge, was also prohibited. Black magic, regardless of the use that you want to make of it, is complementary to white magic since it returns to the cosmic dualism that guarantees the balance of the entire universe. For this reason, although black evokes darkness, in direct antithesis to white, both elements are indispensable to each other to coexist.

Alchemy for me is synonymous with creation, experimentation, magic and transformation. Curandera (2017) was my first approach to the spiritual world as alchemy. It is a work in remembrance of healing practices in Latin America that mix medicine, nature, mysticism and magic.

With my Damn Spring I felt like a little alchemist, locked in her magical world, torn between the perception of nature awakening from winter slumber and the darkness, however present, of the world historical conjuncture. Hence the outburst, rebellion and the elaboration of a series of symbols (a nest, a bird, a flower), generally full of light and life, which are instead painted black. But they assume a decidedly liberating ‘coloration’ of the inner malaise, of the demons that grip you and that, once expressed, allow again harmony and strength to face the future.

Damn Spring is the most recent moment of a journey through the Reverie collection (memory as spirituality), that of Divino-Inferno (the representation of the demonic) to move to Plants for Dreaming (the hallucinogen that goes beyond reality), to Alter Mundi (the mysticism of the shamans) and finally to Ex Votos (prayer and hope in the supernatural).I think that spirituality is a constant presence in my creations, intertwined with the social and emotional moment I am experiencing.

2. Since your last collection speaks a lot about transformations, do you think jewelry has the capacity to transform people?

I don’t know. I think that jewelry does not have this superpower, but I am convinced that the study and the creative process that lead to making jewels make us reflect and ask questions constantly. Defintely these are personal moments.

More than ‘transformation’, I would speak of constant reflection in the search for originality, the desire to experiment with new ways of expressiveness.I am also aware that they may not meet the approval of the public, but they are always important for what they make me feel.

Furthermore, when an object is chosen, a relationship is established between the object itself and those who let it become part of their life in close contact with their body.

3. What is your favorite piece of the Maledetta Primavera collection and why?

I rarely show preferences about my works. They are like children and it would cause discomfort to choose one. Each has its own why, its own story. I try to be loving with everyone and in any case, as with children, not to keep them for me, but to let them go. A symbolic example of this is the plane from the Reverie collection entitled ‘Look Mom, I can fly. A broken promise’.

I can, however, say that I really enjoy working with large pieces, bordering on portability. I think this is a very important element. I do not see the jewel as something to be worn everyday, but something special, for a particular event, a joyful situation, as if it is the protagonist of that moment and makes the person who wears it feel unique.

4. What role does Nature play for your work? Is it a recurring leitmotiv?

In my lifestyle it is essential to think ‘green’, however I do not believe that the presence of nature in my work is due to an environmentalist push, which we often encounter in the world of contemporary jewelry. In my case it reflects my country of origin (Costa Rica) and how much every color and shape of flora and fauna remind me of it.

Obviously, my presence in Italy for years has contributed to making me reinterpret my approach to nature by mixing it with fears, hidden demons and whys about life.
I think it will always be a recurring leitmotiv because it is what we relate to every day in our dreams, breaths, woes and moments of relaxation.

5. How do you perceive the Italian contemporary jewelry scene at this moment? Is there something important we should know about?

Surely contemporary jewelery in Italy is something that I should explore, too. I am aware of the existence of schools of excellence at national and European level, but only few people get access to them.

Having a different school background, I don’t think I am the right person to talk about the subject. However, I hope that the institutionality of contemporary jewelery will be accessible to more people, opening up in a special way to young people especially in this historical juncture.

6. Why do you think it is important to be part of an event like the AUTOR Fair?

In 2018 AUTOR was my first high-level experience in the world of contemporary jewelry: an awfully positive and rewarding moment.

I think that being present at AUTOR, beyond the recognition granted to me, which I feel deeply honored of, is an important and necessary appointment in the world contemporary jewelry scene.
It is a unique opportunity to meet and discuss with creators from all over the world. A one-of-a-kind experience that no one should miss.

You can meet Rita Martinez and admire his works at AUTOR International Contemporary Jewelry Fair 2022, which will take place between 28th – 29th of May at the Oscar Maugsh Palace.