Is politics the “new black”?

British Vogue (August issue) features an article on the sad changes in the (former) vibrant art scene of Istanbul one year after the failed coup d’etat, a piece on hackers and security threads in the internet (including Isis terror) and a reporting on how dressing for business dictates the trend for the next winter season.

These are topics you may also read in the Weekend Art & Design Section of the Financial Times. However, the readers of the FT earn their bread and butter in the capital markets and turn to art and design for prestige, entertainment and investment of their spare capital.

For readers like myself following the British Vogue for more than three decades the issue reflects a major change. We have witnessed something similar last year, when US Vogue endorsed a POTUS candidate, namely Hillary Clinton. Fashion, design and applied arts mixing up with politics is indeed not new, however it is a trend to welcome.

The British Vogue is a society scanner. Its editors predict what is going to be common place in art, design and fashion the coming years.

Art, design and fashion – needless to say – are not disconnected to society, politics, world of ideas, dominant social discourses.


Is being “political” the new trend in fashion, art and design?

Is it the “new black”?

Jewellery due to its mobile quality is an ideal medium to “agitprop” in public space.

Will we be soon inflated by political jewellery makers as the Current Obsession March 2017/Munich Jewellery Week issue insinuated to be a growing segment in our field?

Is being, for example, “anti-neoliberal” or “anti-globalisation” or “anti-capitalism” the right attitude that will get us in the club?

Will the jewellery summer seminar listings change from “discover your inner self” to “be a good activist in three steps?”.

And if we do get to be more political, will we make more meaningful jewellery?

I am afraid things are more complicated than that.

Politics is a word coming from the Greek: Polis/City translated in having to do with the affairs of the city or in free translation: it is about how equal rights citizens co-decide and manage the affairs of their common ground in the best way possible for every one of them involved and for the city as a whole. Thus, the concept of politics includes debate, compromise and action.


Last December Christoph and I decided to give ourselves a few months break from foggy Hamburg and come to sunny Greece. It is a country with acute social, political and financial problems accumulated over the years.

We discovered a rich down to earth – I dare say – “spiritual” tradition which I dare to call “political”, a tradition based not on individual and instant salvation but on collective experiencing and sharing; a tradition of vivid exchange of ideas and thoughts; you witness it at the bakery, in the bus stop, among strangers, at the cafe between political opponents.

We discovered a fascinating, earth bound, highly inspiring “Here and Now” connecting the ones who experience it to milennia long rituals and traditions still alive.

Life in Greece ignited our desire to learn, understand, act and share.

We try to condense and transfer this experience in the show series we call “Initiation”.

Initiation I” was shown at Florian Trampler Gallery during Munich Jewellery Week 2017 and is followed by “Initiation II” at Sieraad International Jewellery Art Fair (November 2017) featuring eight artists from seven countries.

“Initiation III/Kalli’horon” is the Athens AIR-Munich Jewellery Week 2018 program starting in a few months from now. “Initiation III/Kalli’horon” ambitions to establish synergies between jewellery, movement and politics.

Chiara Cavallo: Make a wish, make a knot!

Chiara Cavallo is a member of the Initiation 2017/Sieraad International Art Jewellery Fair Amsterdam. Initiation 2017 is curated by Loukia Richards and Christoph Ziegler aka ZLR Betriebimperium. Chiara came to Athens for the preparation of her Sieraad project and went back to Italy with a solo show in Athens – held under the auspices of the Instituto Italiano di Cutura – which worked as a “rehearsal” to the November show, new friends – such as silversmith and artist Ludwig Menzel of Berlin (member of Initiation 2017/Munich Jewellery Week) and lots of notes! The interview is her feedback on how she perceived life in the city of owls!

Photo: Leggerezza/Lightness. Chiara Cavallo.

Leggerezza_Chiara cavallo.jpgWhat did you like in the exhibition concept of Initiation 2017 at Sieraad Amsterdam (9-12 November 2017); first step: #1 come to Athens/ #2 discover a rich and oecumenical culture #3 get inspired by it #4 go home and prepare your work #5 participate in Sieraad?
I like this concept very much, because it is a combination of both traditional and contemporary approaches. I like to travel and get inspiration from different enviroments and people; that’s why I liked my stay in Athens: I got the opportunity to know different people and the habits of Athenians, I visited urban sites and saw art venues guided by contemporary artists with a broader view on various topics.
What was the most unexpected experience you made in Athens?
I have met many people from abroad and this was unexpected, such as finding new friends! I think Athens has a strong hidden energy that came out during Documenta 14. I think it was a courageous initiative to open new art venues into the city and even if I’ve got the feeling that more people didn’t agree to it, this event have put Athens under another perspective: wider and deeper.
What you did not like?
Nothing at all.
What can Athens give to a young jewellery designer?
The city of Athens has a lot to give to jewelry artists, younger and older. I think the huge culture itself is a rich opportunity for visitors and students. Even if the reality that Athenians are living now regarding politics and administration is not easy for them, I think that living in a nice ‘soap bubble’ instead doesn’t raise any question nor give any impetus to discover new approaches.
What was your favorite object of art/design/architecture you saw in Athens?
This was the little statue of a woman hugging her child in the collection of the National Archaeological Museum. I really liked to visit the studios of students at work at the Athens School of Fine Arts. I found this encounter very strong, interesting and full of energy. They were working on Sunday.
I also liked the controversial modern buildings and the neighborhoods surrounding the city. Athens urban network is full of stratifications, different approaches to the concept of living and  is rich in cultural customs and habits that mirror the poly-hedrical features of the city.
Give us a word/idea/sentence that you take with you from Athens.
Make a wish, make a knot!
Will you come back?
Yes, for sure!!


Tarot Moebling: A different approach to jewellery via group bonding.

Yesterday’s Tarot Moebling at #Initiation2017 – Florian Trampler Gallery – Munich Jewellery Week.
We interpreted the following cards: The Wheel of Fortune – The High Priestess -The Hierophant – The Star.
Photo credit: Christoph Ziegler

Christoph Ziegler: “Today’s trash is tomorrow’s gold.”

Photo: Square Brooch. 2017.

Square_01.JPGChristoph Ziegler’s „Broom Brooches“ are wearable collages made of plastic pieces and household objects the artist collects at the beach or purchases at gipsy „trash“ markets in Greece. Ziegler’s colorful concentric objects make allusions to the shine and glamour of precious jewellery and make fun of the various genres of popular culture such as Punk, Pop, Comic and Sci-Fi.