TALLINN - After a successful tour through the United States, where it premiered at the Museum of Art and Design in New York and is now presented at the Estonian Museum of Applied Art and Design, “Think Twice: New Latin American Jewelry” is the first exhibition of contemporary Latin American jewelry ever presented in Europe.
Until April 28 the exhibition will feature more than 80 works from 23 Latin American countries, altogether over fifty Latin American jewelry pieces.
Organized by the Otro Diseno Foundation for Cultural Cooperation and Development and curated by Valeria Vallarta Siemelink, “Think Twice” presents a fresh view of contemporary Latin American jewelry exploring the mastery, creativity and resourcefulness of today’s Latin American jewelry design.
Objects of adornment have been a significant part of Latin American history. From the strong ritual, mystic and symbolic function of jewelry in the pre-Columbian era to the shiny opulence that distinguishes the members of the Mexican drug cartels nowadays, Latin Americans have always had a profound and intricate relationship with jewelry. A new generation of Latin American jewelry makers is interested in exploring that relationship, observing jewelry outside its conventional frame.
As an art form, jewelry in Latin America has developed at its own pace, going through several paradigm shifts, each further expanding its expressive vocabulary and potential. Today, a new generation of artists from the continent is interested in exploring that relationship and observing jewelry outside its conventional frame. During the last ten years, thanks to the Internet and to foreign publications, Latin American jewelry makers have been able to learn about the work of their European colleagues, yet only a few of them have had significant exposure beyond their own countries.
“The new Latin American jewelry must be understood for what it is, instead for what it is not,” says curator Valeria Vallarta Siemelink. “Far from being an imported concept from Western countries, jewelry as art in Latin America is the sensible and varied product of a unique historical process and of an incredibly diverse and modern society that must be seen free of prejudice and of the stereotypes that typify the Latin American culture.”
Think Twice has been organized in three groups: History, Memory and Tradition; A Great Sense of Inventiveness¸ Latin America as a Source of Inspiration. Rather than imposing a rigorous system of classification, they attempt to give sense to a broad and diverse selection. Many of the works that integrate the collection could easily fit into more that one of these groups.
The collection as a whole reflects the continent’s historical development, dynamic mix of cultures and its socio-political realities, all of which show Latin American jewelry nowadays intersects conventionally distinct categories of craft, visual art and design. It fuses seemingly diverse references, concepts and materials, resulting in an impressive array of ornaments full of meaning and vitality.
The artists in this exhibition illustrate that Latin American jewelry today is tremendously varied in its scope: figurative or abstract, conceptual or symbolic, traditional or experimental.
After its stay in Estonia, Think Twice will be presented at the Franz Mayer Museum of Applied Art and Design in Mexico City and the Centro de las Artes de Monterrey, Mexico.
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