‘Jewellery By Sculptors And Painters’ Comes To The Venice Biennale

‘Jewellery By Sculptors And Painters’ Comes To The Venice Biennale

Arts & Celebrities


Wearable art by artists and designers including Sophia Vari, Ute Decker and Giuseppe Penone, will go on show in Venice next week, in a canalside venue behind St Mark’s Square. The pieces will be a part of the Jewellery by Sculptors and Painters exhibition, presented by Elisabetta Cipriani Gallery.

From Gigi Mariani’s painterly earrings and the Labbra ring by Jannis Kounellis, to Ute Decker’s poetic gold ribbon jewelry and Sophia Vari’s miniature sculptures, Cipriani has curated over 40 jewels that blur the lines between art and adornment. “Most visual artists I approach have never ventured into jewelry-making before,” explains Cipriani. “So adapting their art practice to the body presents interesting challenges. Each one-of-a-kind creation celebrates the unconventional, embracing the distinctiveness of the artist’s perspective and the collector’s individuality.”

London-based Cipriani has been working with visual artists since 2009, to commission and create exclusive wearable art, demonstrating that body adornment deserves its place in the world’s galleries and museums. Over the past 15 years, she has worked with 56 contemporary artists, including Ai Wei Wei, Ilya & Emilia Kabakov and Tatsuo Miyajima, and several of her commissions have been acquired by art museums including the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, the Museum of Art and Deign in New York, and the World Jewelry Museum in Soeul. Yet despite such achievements, Cipriani’s approach is deceptively simple: “I am an editor of artist’s jewelry. The core of my business is passion, determination and knowledge. Throughout my journey, I have been driven by a deep desire to offer unicity, beauty and a unique emotional experience to both the artist and collector.”

Just like the contemporary art market itself, the art jewelry market is becoming stronger, with increasing numbers of collectors who want to wear pieces designed or made by artists. “They see art not only as something to observe, touch, listen to and walk through, but as something to wear on the body as a second skin,” she explains. Through its personal nature, jewelry becomes another way to express their identity and explore artistic tastes, and despite the obvious investment value of a limited edition or one-of-a-kind piece of wearable art, Cipriani encourages clients to buy pieces because they “love it and want to wear it!”.

One artist represented in the show who is increasingly collectible, is Sophia Vari, the Greece-born artist and jewelry creator who mixed precious metals and stones with more unusual materials to create exquisite “portable sculptures”. Her Pentozani ring, made in 2022 not long before she died, will be on show in Venice, its bulges and curls of white resin edged with yellow gold in an elegant and feminine hand adornment that represents a traditional Cretan dance.

Another highlight is Gigi Mariani, whose “spontaneous creativity” is translated into jewelry using traditional techniques from the Middle Ages to create succinct explorations of form. “I will also be showcasing a selection of the most stunning and desired work by Giorgio Vigna,” she says of the Italian artist, who uses a wide range of media to explore the mystery of our fascination with the natural world. Vigna will also be showing at Elisabetta Cipriani Gallery in London in May.

An “enthusiastic visitor of the Art Biennale for the past 22 years” Cipriani has long dreamt of showing an art jewelry exhibition at the event. “Art jewelry should only be exhibited in an art context and the Biennale is the perfect one. I aim to invite art collectors to experience art in a different way; as something to wear. If one collects art, they should also collect wearable art.” Alongside the show, she’s looking forward to strolling in the campi of the city’s quieter areas, and having dinner at Da Ivo. But the best way to celebrate the Venice Biennale? “By wearing a work of art!”.

Jewellery by Sculptors and Painters will be open at the hotel Monaco & Grand Canal in Venice, from April 15 to 21, 2024.



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