SOFA Chicago, which closed yesterday, featured a special focus on contemporary jewelry, specifically the work of Reka Lorincz. Presented at Navy Pier from October 31-November 3, Lorincz’s pieces mixed precious metals and materials with a bit of a wink, street style, and expression of our inner feelings.
Whitewall checked in with the artist about her unique approach to conceptual jewelry.
WHITEWALL: Can you tell us about your work that will be presented at SOFA Chicago?
REKA LORINCZ: I tried for a long time to think in series, however, I realized that this sets limits to my possibilities. So, I changed my attitude as I wanted to be able to communicate a sort of freedom through my work and also to gain some sort of liberty. I let my imagination loosen up and gave free rein to my thoughts. It may almost feel impossible to see the exact connection between each work, however, deep down they are all held together by an innermost desire to bring some sort of lightness to counterbalance everyday hardships.
WW: You create work that mixes everyday objects with jewelry and precious material. Can you tell us about the process behind these pairings?
RL: Oftentimes, I realize that things that were considered to be universal truths to be false. By false beliefs I mean, for instance, what regarded possible and what is not in art. I would like to debunk such false ideas and to show that much more possibilities exist that our own imagination may be unable to comprehend. We generally consider objects to be used strictly for the purpose they were made for. I think the fact that Eastern European people were forced may times to think in makeshift solutions helped broaden the meaning of functionality.
Technically, these objects started to evolve very similarly to how I learned to read. I was dyslexic at school and did not see words in their entirety but single letters that I needed to decipher one by one. I grew impatient very fast and chose the faster way by looking at the first two letters and creating the rest. A great deal of my work is created through the same mental process: I look at a conventional object and my eyes continue interpreting it and forming its purpose.
WW: Jewelry can be so personal, it’s worn on the body, often gifted to mark a special event. What does jewelry represent to you?
RL: I very much like the term “special event” and I also see it that way, for wearing a contemporary piece of jewelry can often feel like openly showing something of ourselves. It can also work as a statement and is definitely a form of communication. Furthermore, the information it carries could be discussed for minutes, hours or even days, especially as it is set in a live context. It is also very important what it means to its wearer. This latter is particularly exciting to me as the combination of a few things put together shows the great variety of possible meanings they can create. Contemporary jewelry means the triangle of body, mind, and soul to me. It is about communication, expressing our inner feelings outside our body.
WW: How does street style influence your work?
RL: The infinite possibility of the rich context of street style inspires me. How the combination of different, ordinary things can show new possibilities. It is like going to our workplace every day and thinking or carrying out our daily tasks there while sitting on a chair or standing. We would probably come up with completely new ideas if we for instance laid down on the floor and thought of what we did yesterday. Or if we put our chairs on top of the table or kept thinking while sitting in the wardrobe. The ingredients are given, we only changed the context.
WW: Can you tell us about the inspiration behind one of your most recent pieces?
RL: It contains the continuous change of values, the fact that we also discard things we bought, acquired and kept once for some reason, things to which we used to attribute some value, and we also buy new ones. It can also occur sometimes that we come to understand the importance of something once it is gone, or ceased to exist. It may also happen that the disappearance of the object makes us feel better. It is not the evaluation of the process that is important to me but the perception as to how we personally experience it. How hard or easy it feels to receive and to let go. From what does it depend how we experience it? It is basically a completely monotonous process. Every piece of pearl is glued individually. In today’s hectic world this teaches me humility and shows the diversity that lies in monotony. Even though I look like doing the same thing for weeks, while gluing them together, almost every single pearl brings me to new thoughts and feelings.