Manon van Kouswijk


Manon van Kouswijk


WINNER: Excellence Award $5,000

Out of the Office
plastic, nylon thread, paper, photographic print
600 x 42 x .2cm

I like to think that it is possible to reinvent jewellery, despite the fact that it’s archetypal forms and motifs haven’t fundamentally changed throughout it’s long history. I view these archetypes as templates that I use for my translations of the jewellery types I work from (for example the beaded necklace).  Through the materiality and making processes that different materials offer I generate new interpretations of generic forms. They reveil some of the value and meaning that belies the appearance of ordinary jewellery pieces. I am interested in the roles that pieces of jewellery and other objects play in our lives, in exchanges between people, as a gift, a souvenir or an heirloom.  The work I am submitting for the Victorian Craft Award is Out of the Office; a sequence of 100 necklaces that forms one work. The necklaces are all identical in form and size, but in their detail, colour and pattern they are each unique. One piece follows on the next in a systematic visual rhythm, no.100 reconnects with no.1. The individual jewellery pieces are made out of the plastic sheathing that I have removed from a huge amount of medium sized paperclips, the plastic is cut up, arranged according to the planned sequence and then strung on a nylon thread. In this repetitive and time-consuming process a mass produced object is transformed into a unique handmade piece.  When exhibited the work adjusts itself to the architecture of the space where it is shown, and the nature of this space lends the work it’s subtitle; sofar it has been shown as  Out of the Office; 100 Necklaces Worn By a Foyer, By a Gallery and  By Art Fair Booth.  When necklaces from the sequence are sold they are replaced with an image of the piece, and the name of the buyer / wearer, these cards are inserted into the exhibited sequence of 100 pieces. Over time the work slowly shifts from 3 dimensional to 2 dimensional, thus archiving its own dispersion. To this date 43 of the 100 necklaces have been sold and replaced with an image of the piece and the name of the owner as part of the work when re-exhibited.

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