Piotr Szwiec | Trapped Jewelry | Sofia, Bulgaria
ALMA MATER Gallery of the Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”
15 Tsar Osvoboditel Blvd., Sofia, Bulgaria
A series of designs and realizations of unique jewelry. Jewelry can be valuable in a simple way – by the value of its metal. If this were the only criterion, bars on chains would be the most valuable. For jewelry, artistic value and quality of craftsmanship have always been important, and in times of mass production they have become even more important. Precious means valuable: handmade, unique, one of a kind. This was the slogan of the first jewelry made of flints hand-carved to resemble Paleolithic stones – tools that were as valuable as jewelry today. They required manual work and great technological skill of the creator. In the prototypes made, flint – today a worthless stone, was once again raised to the rank of valuable. Its value is emphasized by a soft silver braid surrounding hard, angular flint elements. In September 2015, at the individual exhibition from the series: ART IS KNOCKING – PIOTR SZWIEC in the Nowotomyska Gallery, in the Nowotomyski Cultural Center, I presented a significant set of unique jewelry from the Paleolithic series. The next series – ecological jewelry made of recovered, found, biological elements, was presented on ceramic busts raised on columns in the installation: Temple… in the Bolestraszyce Arboretum. It was subject to the destructive effects of the environment throughout the year. One of these elements was used again, this time as an individual, valuable, single work of art – honorably displayed in a glass case – in November 2017, during the group exhibition: Praktiker at the Duża Scena UAP Gallery. This implementation, in its entirety, was a voice in the discussion about the value and unique beauty of accepted old age. Since waste was highlighted, it was also a gesture resulting from reflections on the Zero Waste problem. As Maciej Kurak wrote in a fragment of the curatorial text: Piotr Szwiec, on the other hand, uses damaged objects, preserving their naturally changed charm. Jewelry is made of materials that are susceptible to environmental changes. Through the passage of time, natural materials acquire new aesthetic values, which the artist brings out, thereby emphasizing their importance. Objects considered useless, covered with the patina of time, are brought back to life in a new, attractive, effective form. Experience with natural material obtained during the implementation of artistic works and during participation in scientific research resulted in the creation of a series of jewelry designs made of fossil black oak wood and combinations of black oak with contrasting wood in color and structure, combined with silver. In 2016, designs and realizations of unique jewelry from the series made of fossil black oak wood with silver were created: Amulets, Prince’s cloaks, Witches; from a series made of fossil black oak wood and combinations of black oak with wood contrasting in color and structure, combined with silver: Slavic treasures, Penitential crosses. This year, the designs created so far were presented at the following exhibitions: Interpretations of Space 2016, at the Arboretum in Bolestraszyce and in April at the exhibition: Piotr Szwiec; Silver – flint – wood, in the Arboretum Gallery in Bolestraszyce. In January of the following year, they were presented at the exhibition: Jewelry at the Look Gallery at the Academy of Fine Arts. Władysław Strzemiński in Łódź. In 2017, further exhibitions took place: Polish art – artists in the Arboretum in Bolestraszyce, in the Gallery in the palace in Snin, Slovakia; Interpretations of space 2017 at the Arboretum in Bolestraszyce; Black and white – jewelry by Piotr Szwiec in the Historical Museum of the city of Tarnobrzeg (in the Tarnowski Castle in Dzików). From 2017 until now, numerous patterns have been created, some of them I gave names derived from the inspirations that preceded their creation, series: Orders and Grottoes, Silver Spirals, Labyrinths, Temple Gates, Black Towers, Free Witches (continuation of The Witches from 2016) , Black Cubes, Reliquaries or Framed and Pontos amissos and the First Republic. The latter two are made of ancient Greek and pre-partition coins captured undamaged in silver frames. A feature of many people is collecting and accumulating, hiding and collecting valuable items, which are often hidden, imprisoned – available only to the owner, strictly private – in his box. The basis for creating the series: Pontos amissos and the First Polish Republic was my belief that antique, valuable coins can be carried with you. In an appropriate setting, like a gemstone, they can be an amulet or a pendant worn on the chest. They can be displayed in micro frames, in a small private, personal exhibition. It was also important to refer to once important and popular personal reliquaries, now forgotten items. A series of collectible jewelry – personally valuable – was created. The latest projects under the collective title: Jewelry – new designs – were shown at the exhibition: Interpretations of space 2023 at the Arboretum in Bolestraszyce. All prototypes completed so far were made according to my designs, drawings and sketches, using personally prepared framing elements: stones and wood – master engineer Wojciech Cimoszko. This is an example of very good cooperation and mutual complementation between the artist-designer and the technologist-craftsman.