Noah's Ark By Robert Wilson With Van Cleef & Arpels Brooches

Noah's Ark By Robert Wilson With Van Cleef & Arpels Brooches
Noah's Ark By Robert Wilson With Van Cleef & Arpels Brooches

Video: Noah's Ark By Robert Wilson With Van Cleef & Arpels Brooches

Video: Robert Wilson's Installation for Van Cleef and Arpels: Part 1 2022, December
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All L'Arche de Noé racontée par Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry ("Noah's Ark retold by Van Cleef & Arpels") are brooches, and they have been an important part of the collection almost from the moment the house was founded. Already in the 1910s, brooches in the form of feathers and birds appeared, which were pinned to the lapel of a jacket or hat. Van Cleef & Arpels ' most famous brooches are the dancer brooches, whose history dates back to the early 1940s. In many ways, it was they who helped the house to preserve brooches in its modern history, because in our time they are not worn and purchased so often. The ballerinas of Van Cleef & Arpels are a lucky exception to this rule, there are even collectors who collect only these dancers.

Since the middle of the last century, Van Cleef & Arpels animals have been another subject of hunting for collectors. This hunt began in 1954, when a collection of more affordable day jewelry was introduced, called La Boutique. The fauna was present in the work of the house before, but the winking cat Chat Malicieux, the cheerful lion cub Lion Ebouriffé and the company became the first “cute animals” in her - funny, ironic, with character.

In L'Arche de Noé racontée par Van Cleef & Arpels, animal brooches are the same with character. In total - 60 pairs of animals and - an unexpected part of the interpretation of Noah's ark - three mythical creatures without pairs: pegasus, unicorn and phoenix. Some are created in several versions (different poses and materials), so the total number of decorations is more than a hundred.

Photo: Van Cleef & Arpels Press Service
Photo: Van Cleef & Arpels Press Service

© Press Service Van Cleef & Arpels

The pairs themselves are either part of the composition in one brooch, or represent now the already forgotten genre of paired brooches. Among the latter are jewelry in the form of elephants made of malachite and lapis lazuli, diamond "koalas" or "monkeys" holding fruits from spessartines, purple and yellow sapphires in their paws. Perhaps the funniest of these pairs is brooches in the shape of geese, this is already a real scene from the life of a poultry yard: one goose proudly carries an orange berry in its beak, while the other hides several berries in the grass at this time.

There is a lot of complex work in the collection (there is a proprietary "invisible setting", and skillful pavé, and carving on ornamental stones) and beautiful stones, but the main thing that the designers managed to do was convey the character of animals. Among them are deer full of nobility and grace, cunning, almost cartoonish, African foxes, a little frightened nimble squirrels, touching penguins guarding the egg. All the images are drawn deliberately brightly, which makes this menagerie related to the Wilson theater. It is not surprising that it was he who was invited to "stage" Noah's Ark in Paris. Although the very idea of ​​cooperation with a theater director to create an exhibition in the jewelry world from new and unusual.

Photo: Van Cleef & Arpels Press Service
Photo: Van Cleef & Arpels Press Service

© Press Service Van Cleef & Arpels

“I, like many in the world, are a big fan of Robert Wilson's work,” said Nicolas Bose, President of Van Cleef & Arpels, to on the opening day of the exhibition. - I watched his first performance 30 years ago. I have always been amazed at the drama, expression and balance in his productions. The animals in his performances are very expressive and lively. We couldn't find a more suitable artist for the new collection."

For Wilson, the exhibition was his first experience with jewelry. In its creation, he transferred the principles of his theatrical performances. As the director explained at a press conference, his work always starts with light. “Light is the measure of all things, it creates space,” Wilson added. - I started this exhibition with the concept of light and shadow, into which everything else was then inscribed. Darkness helps to see light. Couples in Noah's Ark are not one plus one, equal to two. They are one whole. Like the left and right hemispheres of the brain, the left and right hand. They will not be without each other, as there is no darkness without light, and light without darkness."

Numerous screens mounted into the wall of a showcase with decorations are responsible for the light in the exhibition. The lighting inside the windows themselves is reminiscent of theatrical spotlights. The exhibition features 40 pieces of jewelry from the collection: the decision on which of 120 to exhibit was made at Van Cleef & Arpels, and their location - in the hall and in the windows - was chosen by Wilson. Outside the latter, he placed only one item - the frame of the ark suspended from the ceiling.

Nicolas Bose, President of Van Cleef & Arpels
Nicolas Bose, President of Van Cleef & Arpels

Nicolas Bose, President of Van Cleef & Arpels © Michael Loccisano / Getty Images for Norman Mailer Center and Writers Colony

But it is not enough to see an exhibition, it must be heard, because its second element is sound and silence. “At the exhibition, I worked not only with music, - said Robert Wilson. - I worked with music and silence. They are like light and shadow. You need to be able to listen to silence. Music doesn't start out of nowhere, silence turns into music. " Moreover, Wilson calculated the duration of these transitions to fractions of a second. Everything is like in his theater: objects should be located not a millimeter to the left or to the right, music should enter not a second later or earlier.

The exhibition-performance is allowed in small groups at fifteen-minute intervals. When you enter, you see the idyllically calm sea on the screens and you hear the soothing music. At first, you even think whether it was necessary to invite Wilson for such an unpretentious production ?! And when you are already relaxing at the windows and perceive Noah's Ark as a classic jewelry exhibition, the hall plunges into darkness, “lightning” flashes, thunder roars with incredible force. Believe me, the power of this effect is incredible - you get scared, as if a global flood really begins.

The move, it would seem, is simple, but effective. Moreover, Wilson deliberately did not want to complicate the story. As he himself said, it is possible and necessary to come to this exhibition with children. This can be done any day before September 26, then she must go to several other cities, the list of which is now being approved.

Photo: Van Cleef & Arpels Press Service
Photo: Van Cleef & Arpels Press Service

1 of 5 © Bertrand Rindoff Petroff / Getty Images © Press Office Van Cleef & Arpels © Press Office Van Cleef & Arpels © Press Office Van Cleef & Arpels © Press Office Van Cleef & Arpels

“We decided to make an exhibition open to everyone and free of charge, because we want to show our decorative art works to the public,” summed up Nicolas Bose. - And this is not the first example of an exposition addressed to a wide audience: we have already arranged this in museums. In Paris, for example, there was a major exhibition - it was held at the Museum of Decorative and Applied Arts. Picasso's paintings are shown not only for those who can buy them. So it is with jewelry. Few people can buy them, but we would like many to see them."

The exhibition L'Arche de Noé racontée par Van Cleef & Arpels at the Hotel d'Evreux (Place Vendôme, 19, Paris) is open from 3 to 26 September.>

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