JEWELRY DESIGN IS ONE OF THE ARTISTIC manifestations that has developed the most in Cuba in recent years. All over the country, diverses artists, some art school graduates and others self-taught, have enriched the country’s artistic heritage with excel- lent work that can compete with the best on the continent.
Cuban jewelry is made out of all types of materials: metals are combined with precious and semiprecious stones, mother-of- pearl, wood, coral, bone, quartz crystals, and more. The most beautiful work is made out of silver, although out- standing pieces can be found in gold, platinum, nickel silver, titanium, and different alloys and combinations. Cuba has ex- cellent jewelry-makers, true masters whose work can be seen in galleries and other exhibition and marketing spaces.
All of the pieces created with these metals are very beautiful and enduring. Unique in their design and elaboration, they spark praise from critics and are also very popular. This has made it possible for them to enjoy a good deal of demand among the public, both domestic and foreign. Visitors can take home a lovely piece or two reflecting an intertwining of contempo- rary tendencies with the most authentic traditions of Cuban jewelry-making.
SCALE, TITANIUM AND THE JEWELS OF A SCULPTOR
Infused with the dynamic quality of modern life, the sculptures and jewelry made by Cuban artist Jorge Gil have the same persistent and whimsical qualities as their creator. Titanium is a metal that has almost no history, and Jorge is helping us to write that history with his original pieces.
When we look at his work, all kinds of questions come to mind about the genesis of his project “The jewels of a sculptor”: what exists according to scale? What is the difference between a small corporal sculpture and the same piece, oversized? In the process of being made, Gil’s unique and exotic works withstand heavy blows, because he avoids soldering and finds solutions within the qualities of this metal, which when bent can be colored and transformed into a series of jewelry pieces that escape conventional canons and terms.
Simplicity, audacity and innovation are then translated into small sculptures that can exist on human skin.
BETWEEN EXPERIMENTATION AND MOVEMENT
When referring to experimental and innovative jewelry design in Cuba, Osvaldo Castilla is an essential name. In his transgressive and irreverent pieces, design is more important than materials, and the preciousness of the elements used is subordinated to concept and esthetics.
Following his first exhibition in 1979, he revolutionized the way that jewelry is made and conceived of in this country. Many of his exhibitions become true visual arts actions, in which he fuses his conception of pieces and performance art.
Models and dancers wear his creations, and his kinetic sculptures provide a more complex vision of how this creator views jewelry design: what’s essential in his art is movement.
(+537) 2094934/[email protected]
SKILL AND POST-MEDIEVAL INSPIRATION
As the educator of several generations of artists, creator Miguel Ángel Pulgarón moves skillfully between sculpture and jewelry-making. He bears the name of a renaissance maestro, and his imagination—perhaps reincarnated—has produced medieval-inspired pieces that very well may have existed before, and that are now presented to the viewer after having mutated into art.
As with other artistic expressions, when we observe this artist’s work, we realize that he has appropriated Cuban and foreign influences from all sorts of eras to consolidate a style and materialize his own code into unique pieces, unprecedented in our context, and with great mastery, he invents abstract forms that challenge the imagination of those who see them to interpret them through their own subjectivity.
METAL BRAIDS WITH THEIR OWN LIGHT
Despite his youthfulness, Yaniel Rodríguez has been able to achieve his own identity within contemporary Cuban jewelry design. The composition of his pieces reflect his marked interest in highlighting formal elements by emphasizing the volume, texture, and geometry of his jewelry.
His esthetic search, expressed through his mastery of jewelry-making technique, always involves playing with forms imbued with sculptural minimalism, leading to elaborately-designed, superbly-made pieces.
Fabric, relief, braids, and embossed metals characterize his work. Silver is the material he prefers for his work, using it in harmony with his skillfullness to invite us mortals to give thanks for the fire.
Contactos: (+537) 8813938/[email protected]
ROX JEWELRY, FEMININITY HALFWAY BETWEEN GEOMETRY AND DESIRE
Like designer Rosana Vargas, Orfebrería ROX (ROX Jewelry) was inspired by minimalism, sculpture and engineering, using refined lines and a mirror-like shine on flat surfaces to present authentic examples of Cuba’s best contemporary jewelry design.
The pureness of the lines, delicacy of the metal features, freedom of movement, sophistication, femininity, modern quality and original elegance are all elements that characterize her innovative way of working in a difficult trade, one that male-dominated for many years. Her impeccably made pieces can sway the opinions of those who still hesitate to call jewelry-making art.
ROX confirms that a good piece of jewelry is forever, and while perfection does not exist, you can try to come close.
(+537) 2091479, (+535) 2817118, (+535) 3814030/ [email protected]
Among the disparate conceptual lines of contemporary Cuban jewelry- making, the work of young artist Jorge Oliva stands on its own. His pieces, in silver and copper, reminds us of the work of a spider: he weaves with delicate metallic threads to achieve a diversity of forms that can be applied to all types of jewelry.
His manual dexterity in handling small pieces has allowed him to move more confidently into large-format work; his sculptures are also praised for their originality.
His esthetic concepts are imbued with the study of forms and filigree, and in some of his figures, volume and depth dominate any interpretation of the piece.
(+535) 3467495/[email protected]/ www.filigranasoliva.atodoclick.com
Photos: Darío Leyva