The Atomization of a Ring
by Ana Elena Mallet
June 15, 2018
Collar de mármol 001

In her Ph.D. thesis, Chiara Pignotti defines contemporary jewelry as:

 

"... an artistic phenomenon that was born in Europe, after the Second World War,

from the field of traditional jewelry, thanks to the willingness of some goldsmiths to renew

the jewelry language towards the free expression of the artist. As we will see, the communicative

potentials of the materials and the jewel were experienced as a significant object,

seeking new formal and sensory relationships with the body ".

 

Although we have a contemporary or author jewelry history in Mexico, anchored in the 1970’s with artists such as Víctor Fosado and Ana Pellicer, the fact is that little has been discussed on the subject in recent decades, and barely a group of artists and designers are approaching the phenomenon from their trenches. Such is the case of Poleta Rodete, who four years ago founded her own brand Rodete, which in addition to opening up to the commercial and design scene, has also established a research and experimentation platform from where she has managed to access other markets and conceptual investigations.

 

The Atomization of a Ring is the most visible and significant project of this research that Rodete started a long time ago and that places her in the field of contemporary jewelry. Which assumes the author’s position; unique pieces, portable but with stories and concepts behind.

 

The project consisted of a long process of conceptualization, planning, and execution that was born thanks to Young Creators FONCA Scholarship that Rodete won in 2016. This exhibition is finally the summary of almost two years of work and denotes the scope of the contemporary jewelry and the tenacity of the artist.

 

This text seeks to talk about the planning and process of the central piece, and I can do it with real knowledge. Besides having been Rodete’s tutor during her Young Creators development, I was present the day –mythical and unforgettable– of the atomization of the ring... The exhibition, however, is a separate project... It is the result of all those months of work, is the already digested material, thought and processed for an observing audience, eager to understand the different processes of the author's jewelry.

 

Divided into four themes –Matter, Mountain, Atomization, Social Body and Body and Jewelry–, the exhibition narrates the artist's process to generate a project, a discourse and a series of pieces that oscillate between sculpture and author's jewelry and that anchor their essence among the art and design worlds.

 

From the beginning, Rodete opted to work with hard but porous stones, with history and memory and able to submit to the most incredible transformations without losing their materiality. This project is not the exception. She chose a massive piece of marble that turned into a large format ring able to roll, break, manipulate and transform.

 

As well as when making designer jewelry it should be thought the portability and the size of the body, in this project the human scale and the consideration of the body were necessary. Matter and emptiness (in the center of the ring) were required, as they complemented and dialogued with each other.

 

Tracing the route for its destruction was another process. Finding the land, measuring geography, calculating variables according to the slope and speed were also tasks to consider and in which Rodete sought the advice of specialists. Finally, the day arrived. About two dozens of people joined the artist in the hard day. Transporting the ring to the distant location, arriving, placing it, pushing it and hoping for the best. It did not take much, just a few meters in fall and Pum!, the ring exploded into pieces. Then came the forensic and almost archaeological work. Finding the pieces, pointing them out, numbering them, and cataloging them in the artist's studio to define their future. Some would be transformed into jewels, others into sculptures, others would remain immutable as remnants of the action, records of the moment, inert, impassive, eternal.

 

And this is when a second moment begins. The piece is activated and resignified when the community intervenes. That one that had remained static and observer now had to walk downhill and look for the remains, locate them and identify them. An action that by integrating the collectiveness becomes a social sculpture. The ring, instead of being used by a body, becomes part of the collective, of the action.

Later, the remains return to the artist to be transformed –with all that symbolic and emotional charge– into sculptures and jewels that contain stories and meanings that with the contact with the public and/or the user will mutate again.

 

Rodete continually transgresses borders; understands, exploits and manipulates those gray areas between disciplines: the expanded field of art design and sculpture itself. This exhibition is the recount of an action but also the beginning of a new moment of resignification, when those pieces leave the gallery to be worn in a body or occupy a space in a remote place and only then, be witnesses first and protagonists afterwards, of new anecdotes and narratives.