By ZLR Betriebsimperium*
The following text has been published in the November 2017 issue of Findings – the UK Association for Contemporary Jewellery magazine.
Photo: Three women, 2017. Loukia Richards for ZLR Bteriebsimperium. Jewellery inspired by Gestapo prisoners’ graffitis at the Greek Resistance Memorial in Athens.
Contemporary art has the mission to interfere actively in the political, social and environmental discourse and outline alternative practices. Both of us are visual artists living and working in Germany, Netherlands and Greece.
Greek myths are very popular in these countries; on the contrary, when we launched the „Myths“ jewellery art exhibition series in 2013 in Berlin, modern Greece was treated with contempt in the public opinion makers‘ fora. We wanted to talk about what is happening in Greece now through a medium that could send our message very far: namely jewellery.
Jewellery‘s archaic heritage, mobility, alliance to status quo fascinated us. We updated mythology to reflect the agonies and hopes of people in Greece, as well as answer every non Greek‘s legitimate question: „Why bother?“
Greek myths talk about conditions every human being will sooner or later encounter: love and sacrifice, conquest and loss, greed and compassion, consciousness and ignorance, piety and arrogance, rise and fall; the solutions they suggest to complex situations always echo the concept of universal harmony.
„Test Drive“ is our favorite „Myths“ project. It took place inside a trailer during Munich Jewellery Week 2016. Our goal was to talk about nature in danger and the urge to change consumption patterns. We ambitioned to reach „many people out there“ not necessarily interested in jewellery, but receptive to our cause.
The hybris of king Erisychthon inspired our show. When a human being forgets his/her relative position in the universal order, he/she commits hybris; nemesis follows. Erisychthon destroys Demeter’s holy forest to build a hall for his banquets. The goddess curses him with insatiable hunger. He ends up eating his own flesh.
„Test Drive” visitors borrowed the jewellery and wore it through MJW. Works were made with organic or recyclable material or through energy/capital saving techniques such as 3D Printing. The show echoed well known practices of the Swarm/Sharing/Swaping movements and reached a audience much bigger than the visitors of a gallery show.
This year we started a new series inspired by the bliss and joy initiates felt at the end of the Eleusinian Mysteries after the veil darkening truth was lifted. „Initiation“ is a curated Artist Residency in Athens followed by a show in a major international jewellery event, such as MJW or Sieraad. While we initiate partipants into an holistic, not fragmented approach to art, politics, life, they initiate us to the creative and emotional source that feeds their passion for jewellery.
Ancient Greeks thought jewellery as part of “cosmos” (which means jewellery in Greek). Thus by wearing a piece of jewellery you are connected to the universe! This is a beautiful metaphor to reflect on the very essence of all things surrounding us.
„Initiation 2018//Kallichoron“ opens on 8 March 2018 in Munich.
We are having a lottery with 100 lots a 10 euro each to fund our show. Ten prizes include: 3 AIRs in Greece and exclusive jewellery by ZLR Betriebsimperium. To purchase a lot, go to:
*ZLR Betriebsimperium is Christoph Ziegler/Loukia Richards