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Ornamentum: Artist’s Jewellery, Collection Diane Venet

Dec 4, 2022

Ornamentum: Artist’s Jewellery, Collection Diane Venet is on view at in the Project Space of Villa Empain in Brussels through May 14, 2023.

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“An artist’s jewel, like a painting or a sculpture, is a work of art. Born from the same creative approach, it has the same strength, the same poetry and capacity to evoke, and sometimes the same humour. Only their purpose differentiates them from each other.”

On view at Villa Empain’s project space is Ornamentum, an exhibition featuring 200 pieces of artist jewellery selected by Diane Venet and artist Sheila Concari. A passionate collector of art and jewellery since the late 1960s, Venet has also been curating exhibitions about the subject for over 20-years. Ornamentum includes pieces from her collection that reflect her eclectic, playful and demanding passion for creation. As she said about her obsession in an interview with TLmag in 2021, “I discovered a world, [in which] there were so many intimate stories. So many love stories captivated me and urged me to learn more.”

Jewels by artists from around the globe, young and old showcase the diversity of this medium and how in the hands of artists a jewel transforms from functional, wearable art, into something new. Artists such Yayoi Kusama, Carlos Cruz Diez and Lynda Benglis to Pol Bury, Alexander Calder and Niki de Saint Phalle all experiment in different ways. The pieces selected reflect a diverse range of styles including examples of Surrealism, Abstraction, Pop, Conceptual, Minimal and Kinetic Art. The results are not about how much bling or how many carats, but “testifies to a renewal of the artist’s approach to art – a renewal that is perhaps more fun, but just as rigorous.”

Ornamentum is accompanied by an original sound piece conceived by the Italian artist Sheila Concari, which mixes electronic sounds and quotations from Diane Venet.

Past exhibitions curated by Venet include Bijoux Sculptures at Musée La Piscine de Roubaix in 2008. The exhibition included 170 pieces by 75 artists, culled by 35 private collections, and accompanied by a book released by Gallimard. From this exhibition she curated From Picasso to Koons: The Artist as Jeweler presented at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, the Benaki Museum in Athens, the Miami’s Bass Museum, the Palazzo Nani Mocenigo in Venice, among other institutions.

Ornamentum: Artist’s Jewellery, Collection Diane Venet is on view at in the Project Space of Villa Empain through May 14, 2023.



Meret Oppenheim, Tête de Poète, 1967, Gold and enamel necklace
Lowell Nesbitt, Lily, 1972, Gold and enamel necklace
Frank Stella, Untitled, 2010, Gold ring
Pol Bury, 1968
Joana Vasconcelos, Extravaganza (rose), 2022, Silver necklace, pink ceramic lacquer and rubber
Bernar Venet, Indeterminate Line, 1985, Silver ring

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