Tag Archives: foreigner

Ame gallery

I told you in my post “reflective thinking” that I will write something about Ame Gallery, Hong Kong.  Open in September 2011, the gallery is curated, and own by Anna Cheng.  Ame Gallery is a high trend of luxurious contemporary jewellery. Materials use there are mostly precious metal: gold, platinum; diamonds and gemstones!

Graduated in interior design in Australia, Anna Cheng spent many years working with luxury brands in the interior design field. Coming from a family working into jewellery business, she got already the knowledge to make contacts between customers and designers! The Ame Gallery is the right middle between her family heritage into jewellery business, and the creation of a space dedicated to it!

Anna Cheng also got the idea to put pieces in auction on the gallery’s website to raise money for charity! Call “Jewels 4 Good“, the charity project has been launch in january 2012. Each designer choose to support a charity, then a minimum of 50% of the final price goes to the organisation. Last time, a necklace created by Tobias Birgersson was in auction and 100% of te money raised was given to charity. Every month, new jewellery from the gallery collection are placed into auctions. I found the idea pretty good! A good way to spend money for customers, encouraging jewellery designers, and, at the same time, they participate to charity!

The designers showcase at Ame Gallery are all from different countries arround the globe! They all got a different style but sharing the same idea: create finest luxurious contemporary jewellery! The fact that the gallery is featuring people outside China is a good way to show to customers other styles and other way to design jewellery. All the jewellers from and working in China who I have discovered during my research, are all very influenced by their culture and by their traditional skills and beliefs. Chinese people really appreciate western luxury brands, and are attracted by finest goods from Europe (especially in fashion). Anna Cheng found the great idea to interest local people in Hong Kong by working with foreigners who’s got a different artistic approach!

The last exhibition organised by the Gallery featured a group of Scandinavian contemporary jewellers and silversmith. That remember me the Ubi Gallery, own by a Swedish jeweller. I don’t know if that is related, but artists from the North of Europe seem to be quite liked over China. I would say, as a jeweller, the style from the countries such Norway, Deutschland and mostly Sweden is very particular and easy to recognise (and I love it)! But that is not the point. Anyway, I am very pleased as usual to see cultures melting and to see people sharing about a same passion! Globalisation has also good sides! And sharing faster and quicker love for a same thing is one of them!

” ‘AME’ came from the Latin word which means love and soul.”

The website: Ame Gallery

The auction space: Jewels 4 Good

Antonio bernardo_ Brazil Emanuela Duca_usa Moya-Netherlands Karolina Bik- Poland Gemma Lopez_ Spain Cardillac_ Netherlands Ali Limb- Australia Salima Thakker- Belgium

Soonhyangkang - Japan

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

reflective thinking

At the beginning, when I’ve picked up the topic of “How is to be a contemporary jeweller in/from China” for my final year research I thought that I’ll have an overdose of contemporary jewellery. I thought that galleries, schools, and artists were probably a lot hidden in the middle empire! I thought that a huge country like China would obviously got a lot of people working into the field of “contemporary jewellery”. Well, actually not really!

China is the most populated country in the world, but quite far behind western countries (however much smaller) when is time to talk about contemporary art in a wide way. When I say contemporary art, I’m talking about reflective thinking, philosophic and artistic approach. There is a difference between mastering skills and making things by questioning the world arround us and ourself in order to create something with a meaning, a message behind.

During a conversation with my friend Patricia, from Hong Kong, she told me that: “Chinese people are reserved. It’s difficult for them to think in a conceptual way and to have a critical thinking. Contemporary art is not something really appreciate, you have to follow many rules and to stay in a right way. (eg: Ai Weiwei) . Nowadays, philosophy thinking is not something usual in art, Chinese likes pretty things with values, financial and social values!  Chinese are hard workers, they appreciate skills based work but most of them don’t understand what an artistic and philosophic approach is. Now things are changing a bit, people want to open their mind”.

So,  I’m not saying there is nothing, but in proportion of the population and the size of the country, contemporary art is something not widespread. During my research, I found out that new jewellers from China spent few years abroad to learn not at the first place skills, but learn to think! Creative and reflective thinking. Contemporary jewellery department in Chinese art schools are new ; and because being chinese involved that you’ve got a really strong history and cultural identity (even if teachers nowadays are trying to push new students to think by their own), it’s still difficult to going away from all the traditions. Also because some schools abroad China are well knowing internationally, Chinese jeweller students want to move away from the past to face new cultures and new ideas! Which I think, is good, even if students are not many staying in Chinese art schools (probably one of the reason why contemporary jewellery is starting slowly). Most of the time, once the students are abroad, they stay in the new country. That is because during your studies you start making contacts, connections, links with the people arround you. Your new country is now your working and social network! (And this is for all the foreign students, not only Chinese). So, it’s mush easier to start your own business in the country where you’ve been developing “a name”, knows as a contemporary jeweller. I think the number of jewellers working in China will not only pair with the number of schools and their reputation but also the international reputation of foreign schools (such as Birmingham). Also because Chinese have been stuck with the same art traditions since centuries and centuries, new artists want to go ahead in order to  create new things. I think mixing culture, traveling, is always a good way to bring new ideas into your mind.

About galleries; well, the few I found (hardly found with a lot of help I should say) are not properly in China! The first in China (not Hong Kong or Taiwan) has open 4 month ago and runs by a Swedish woman! To be honest, I was surprised, a bit disappointed and glad by that. I thought galleries will be many and that will be helpful for me to find new artists on their website. And I also thought it will be an interesting way for myself to make contact and connection for my future. This is for the disappointing point. At the opposite, I was glad to see a western person running a gallery specialised in contemporary jewellery in China. Which means there is a big potential for European people to share and build something over there! This fact show us actually, how contemporary jewellery is new! Except Ubi Gallery in Beijing and Twocities in Shanghai, the two others, Hammer gallery,  and Ame gallery (I’ll post an article later about Ame Gallery) are in Hong Kong!

I’ve also been confronted with the difference between China, Republic of China and People’s Republic of China. I’ve been asking arround me a simple basic explanation, and , it seems to be hard to obtain. Chinese from China told me that Taiwan is Chinese. Taiwanese told me they are not Chinese, and Hong Konger told me that it’s an intricate topic, not easy to understand especially for a foreigner who have no clue about asian politics like me! So, to be sure I’m not offending anybody, I’m talking about People’s Republic of China, not only China. Which means I’m including Hong Kong and Taiwan. Both of the two islands are nowadays connected strongly with China (without talking about politics), but many differences remain between them.

One difference is the internet. Nowadays in China you still can’t access to social networks. And nowadays, facebook and twitter are really useful to share instantly everything. Many jewellers and galleries create a facebook and a twitter account to stay connected with their “fans”, followers, customers, and people from the same field as well. The lack of such sharing platforms are also responsible of the slowness of the contemporary jewellery development. In a wide country like China, social networks would be a good way to share faster and to promote new designers! It’s a reason why Hong Kong and Taiwan are different from China. Internet in the two islands is not  censored. Western people can access to website over there and Hong Konger and Taiwanese can also see through internet what happening on the other side of the globe. I think, today, being on the web is one of the key to stay in people’s mind and also to stay aware of everything. Especially in the art/fashion field.

Another difference: Honk Kong used to be English during a  long time. And Taiwan used to be Japanese. The fact that they were owned by different countries give to the citizen a different way to think. Mainly for Hong Kong. Often described as the “East meets West”, Hong Kong has been  influenced a lot by the british culture, and Hong Konger are now very tempted by Western luxury goods. Many luxury brands such Cartier, Vuitton, Dior, etc, found a way to attract new customers in Asia! Because Hong Kong used to belong to the United Kingdom and got that “double culture”, it’s easier now to make relations and contacts over there, than anywhere else in China!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ubi Gallery

Lets talk about the other link sent by Anja Eichler the other day: Ubi gallery.

The place is located in the oldest part of Beijing, in south of Tiananmen: Dashilar. Dashilar is an attractive area for people who are interested in antics items and old chinese fashion brands. It’s also a place well frequented by the tourists, almost all the building are preserved from their origine. Charged of history, Dashilar has been during the last 600 years the most famous commercial street in Beijing.  The Ubi gallery is now situated in a  19th century Hutong, that place hasn’t been used during several years. After renovation, the old building welcoming since september the first gallery in China (if I’m not including Hong Kong) specialised in contemporary jewellery!

Yes, “the first gallery for contemporary jewellery in China”! Even my friend Patricia (from Hong Kong) was surprised when I told her! She knew that contemporary jewellery wasn’t famous as it is in Europe, but not that “new”! No needs to wonder why with all the time spent on internet, I didn’t found any other galleries (except in Hong Kong, and Taiwan)! Well, that is not the only surprise have got. The place is not run by a Chinese or an Asian, Machtelt Schelling is from the Netherlands! Here we are: a European person bringing her art and contemporary jewellery culture and knowledges in China. What a great idea! I love when people share and mixe cultures and experiences! Contemporary jewellery in China has just been introduced in art schools few years ago, it’s something new, the basis of this field in China are building right now, by artists/jewellers! It’s the right time to come with fresh ideas and new concepts in one of the most ancient culture in the world! Machtelt found here a great way to be part of the contemporary art in China! She has also her own contemporary jewellery brand: Finch Jewellery. She works mainly with precious metals and gems in order to create creative fine jewellery.
The first phrase of the description of the gallery reflects exactly what people  do when they are traveling, when they are sharing, the name “Ubi” is based on it:

Ubi means ‘where’, it refers to moving and arriving. It is about asking questions. The gallery offers a platform to those great designers and artists who through their work keep us curious.”

I see a platform as something which always moves, things are here only for a moment, then new things arrive… A platform is a place for discoveries, meetings, sharing…  Ubi gallery does not features only Chinese or Europeans artists, but international (I’m quite pleased to see two French girls featured in the gallery!)! A way to promote new Chinese jewellers, and also to show what happen on the other side of the globe! All the artists of Ubi gallery have in their background studied and exhibited in many different countries! China, Taiwan, USA, Italy, Australia, France, UK, Japan… It shows how today contemporary jewellery is: multicultural! A word came to my mind to describe it: Melting pot! I think art nowadays has to travel! Artists have to travel! Art today is made through the world discoveries, a mix of languages, cultures, religions, landscapes, human behaviours…. During centuries, each society and civilisations has built its history! Now we have to experience it and to share and spread!

The Ubi collection is wide! Unique art objects, jewels/sculptures, contemporary fine jewellery, but also a small collection of ceramics! The techniques and the materials used by the jewellers are various: rubber, gold, silver, gems, ceramic, paper, fabrics, concrete, steel, everyday life objects… Really different works are exhibited into the renovated Hutong.

Here articles about the Dashilar quarter: Dashila(b), Dashilar street

(all the photos are from the Ubi gallery website)

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

everything could be a piece of art

I’m not going to talk about another Chinese artist. Not today.

Anja Eichler is German. She has always been interested by art (painting, collage, sculpture) but it’s only in 2008 she choose to start jewellery. She has moved in Italy to join the Alchimia school where she has been taught by artists/jewellers like Ruudt Peters, Lucia Masei, Peter Bauhuis… Since 2011, Anja is an artist jeweller based in Shanghai.

She’s finding in our dailylife objects new sources of inspiration. She doesn’t really transform them, but Anja want us to see common goods with a new eye. She calls it the “loving eye”! Art can be everywhere, we are surrounded by art, but we don’t giving any attention to it. Why a glove couldn’t be a piece of jewellery? Well, that’s what she’s doing, she’s using gloves. One type of glove grey rubber on the outside and white wooly on the inside. Then she uses different techniques to colour them! At first it was for giving to the object a different life. It’s not a latex covered work glove anymore! It’s an abstract jewel, which people can have a different interpretation of it. Now she’s using her life experience in Shanghai to create pieces based on her emotions, feelings, and her surrounding environment.

I also found two really well documented articles about Anja here: “Fresh Talent: Anja Eichler” and “Anja Eichler: Urbanauts”

For her website, it’s here: Anja Eichler

Tagged , , , , , ,

Silk, Paper, Bamboo….

Even if the Japanese are famous for their origami, Chinese are also well known for their paperfolding. Walter Cheng is one of those artists who works with the notion of delicacy. The materials used in his creations are symbols of lightness: the bamboo, the paper, the silk cocoon. They are also a symbol of the Chinese culture and history. Paper has been invented in China 105 AD (apparently more earlier since few archaeological discoveries). China is also the country where has been invented the silk fabric by using silk worms. About bamboo, it’s used in many different fields such as medicine, food, creation of tableware, paper making as well, etc.

After his studies in Tawain at the National Tawain University of Arts, Walter moved to Escola Massana (Barcelona, Spain). He’s now based in Barcelona and he’s giving paperfolding class at the  Arsenal Escola Municipal d’Art. His work shows a real sensibility and sagacity, probably influenced and learnt through his culture, he’s not only using the material as a random one, Walter manifies the paper, the bamboo, the silk cocoon. He gives them another function, another story between ancestral culture and modernity, between traditional and contemporary skills.

To see other pieces follow his blog: Walter Cheng

If you want to buy his creations: Walter Cheng Etsy

Tagged , , , , , , , ,