VENICE | Jewellery by Sculptors and Painters, 15-21 April 2024 | Press Release

“One should either be a Work of Art or Wear a Work of Art”
Oscar Wilde

Elisabetta Cipriani Wearable Art is honoured to announce the opening of her new exhibition Elisabetta Cipriani. Jewellery by Sculptors and Painters at the Hotel Monaco & Grand Canal in Venice from 15 to 21 April 2024.

The exhibition will run in conjunction with the opening of the 2024 Venice Biennale and showcase over 40 jewellery pieces by world-renown contemporary artists and jewellery designers, including recent and historical jewels by Giampaolo Babetto and Sophia Vari, pieces by Enrico Castellani, Jannis Kounellis, Giulio Paolini, and Giuseppe Penone, and new commissions by Ute Decker, Gigi Mariani, and Giorgio Vigna, which will be revealed there for the first time.

The pieces are breathtaking and unique, challenging the boundaries between art and wearability. Made of precious and unconventional materials – from gold, silver, and pearls to glass, resin, ebony, and amaranth wood– each piece is a sculpture that becomes a wearable poetic statement.

A unique event in the history of Venice, Elisabetta Cipriani. Jewellery by Sculptors and Painters will be the first art jewellery exhibition since Diane Venet presented her historical collection in 2015. Moreover, it will be the first art jewellery selling exhibition to be launched simultaneously with the Venice Biennale.

Alongside the exhibition, visitors will have the opportunity to meet the artists. Ileana Boubouli (Sophia Vari’s daughter), Ute Decker, and Gigi Mariani will discuss the story behind their exceptional pieces and will be around to answer questions and talk about their practice with collectors and visitors.

The wide selection of Italian artists is no coincidence, but a purposeful choice to celebrate Italia’s rich cultural heritage.

About the artists

Giampaolo Babetto (b. 1947, Italy)

Babetto has been one of the most influential exponents of the Avant-Garde goldsmiths’ scene since the mid-1960s. A veteran of the Padua School, he redefined the concept of art jewellery in Italy and around the world. His works are characterised by pure and essential geometrical shapes made in gold and unconventional materials such as glass, niello, resin, and velvet-like pigments.

Enrico Castellani (1930 – 2017, Italy)

Enrico Castellani’s works are characterised by monochrome surfaces, animated by rigorous rhythm and geometric patterns that play with lights and shadows. Castellani’s pieces reveal his patient and energetic handwork and trace back to his most famous series of minimalist works, Superficie [Surface], from the late 1950s.

Ute Decker (b. 1969, Germany)

Awarded the ‘Oscars’ of Jewellery by The Goldsmiths’ Craft & Design Council, Ute Decker’s works are three-dimensional pieces of geometric poetry. Her unique designs have been collected by prestigious art institutions worldwide, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the Crafts Council Collection, London; the Musé e Barbier-Mueller, Geneve; and the Swiss National Museum, Zurich.

Jannis Kounellis (1936 – 2017, Greece)

Jannis Kounellis was a pioneer of Arte Povera and a leading contemporary artist, with a career spanning over forty years. When Elisabetta Cipriani proposed a collaboration, he had the brilliant idea of recreating his 1972 gold sculpture – a cast of his lips – that was stolen from his Rome studio in the 1980s. This time, however, the sculpture was wearable. Labbra [Lips] is a ring inspired by Ancient Greek funeral masks that embodies the artist’s engagement with the past as a source of inspiration for the present.

Gigi Mariani (b. 1957, Italy)

Gigi Mariani’s pieces are the outcome of spontaneous creativity and slow artisanal procedures, such as the use of Niello, that trace back to the Middle Ages. With a career spanning over 30 years, his works have been acquired by illustrious international collections worldwide, including The Helen Williams Drutt Collection of International Studio Jewelry; the Silver Museum or Museo degli Argenti, Florence; and the Olnick Spanu Collection, New York City.

Giulio Paolini (b. 1940, Italy)

Giulio Paolini is a leading figure in postwar Italian art. Paolini’s pieces of jewellery are a manifesto of his idea of love as subtle intimacy, which the artists express by reworking the Classical tradition as an essential and timeless artistic language. Paolini’s pieces truly come to life when they are worn. Through a subtle play of mirror reflections and Classical references, the pieces unveil hidden secrets, becoming one with the individual who wears them.

Giuseppe Penone (b. 1947, Italy)

“… a material, a thing, an object, a colour has the strength to provide us with an apparent comprehension or suggestion of the complexity of life”. Known for his skilful sculptural practice exploring the relationship between man and nature, Giuseppe Penone’s work reveals the interconnected nature of everything that exists.

Sophia Vari (b. 1940, Greece)

An internationally renowned painter, sculptor, and jewellery creator, Sophia Vari was married to the well-known Columbian painter Fernando Botero. Her wearable art is the epitome of the contemporary woman – bold, sophisticated, practical, and unique. Vari’s wearable art is made of the most precious materials – gold, silver, leather, ebony, amaranth wood, root emerald, rock crystal, sapphire, and resin. Each piece is either unique or part of a limited edition, signed and numbered, like her sculptural works.

Giorgio Vigna (b. 1955, Italy)

The evocative art of Giorgio Vigna investigates natural metamorphic phenomena. He fluidly interchanges artistic media, spanning sculpture, works on paper, and jewellery. His work invites us to understand our relationship with the cosmos and sparks our imagination through textures, sounds, and movements that evoke the mystery of our attraction to the natural world.

About Elisabetta Cipriani

Elisabetta Cipriani is a London-based gallery collaborating with world-famous international sculptors and painters to create exclusive wearable sculptures. Since 2009, the gallery has fostered partnerships with fifty-six contemporary artists, featuring names like Ai Weiwei, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Chiharu Shiota, Enrico Castellani, Giulio Paolini, Giuseppe Penone, Ilya & Emilia Kabakov, Jannis Kounellis, Rebecca Horn, and Tatsuo Miyajima, among others. Elisabetta Cipriani’s pieces are collected worldwide and have been acquired by prestigious international institutions, including the Musé e des Arts Décoratifs, Paris; the Museum of Art and Design, New York; the World Jewellery Museum, Seoul; and the Stedelijk Museum’s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands.

For media enquiries:

Marta Colombo – +44 (0) 207 287 5675

Honest PR

Katie Manderson – +44 (0) 7917 030 387

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