2016 Essay | Art and Wine: The Analogy of Gioielli in Fermento

2016 Essay | Art and Wine: The Analogy of Gioielli in Fermento

Art and Wine: The Analogy of Gioielli in Fermento

By Eliana Negroni

Torre Fornello vineyards, Emilian Hills, Italy

Every year  Gioielli in Fermento (jewellery in ferment) aims to gather contemporary jewellery artists and designers in relation to popular themes, wine and territories, looking at this terroir as an ensemble of deep-rooted cultural values and elements as a means to express an inspired and intimate tale. The project consists of a competition to create and exhibit a unique piece of jewellery inspired by a specific theme which is changed every year, though it is always in some way related to the world of wine.

Through six editions, more than four hundreds established and emerging artists have been involved, originating from several European countries and Argentina, Brasil, Colombia, Venezuela, United States, Canada, Israel, Iran, Japan, Korea, Taiwan. It looks like all these artists become part of a global community of contemporary jewelers, dealing with typical elements related to our territories, without forgetting their own identity and education, but rather setting a dialogue with the Mediterranean culture.

Gigi Mariani, Rust II Ring, 2011, silver, patina, oxidization

The idea, laying since the first edition behind Gioielli in Fermento, is to emphasize this parallel path that ideally combines the two spheres of activities which are involved: the contemporary world of ornament, the contemporary world of wine. Inspiration, dedication, experience, research, innovation, observation, choice, challenge ... these are all elements of the creative approach that we can use to focus both on the activities of a jewellery artist or on those of a wine maker. They constitute a similar reading of their works: both a piece of jewellery or a sip of wine are evocative of the individual interpretation of the raw material chosen by their maker. In both cases the aim is turning the natural into something precious and unique.

The themes presented by Gioielli in Fermento Award competition offer an opportunity to showcase contemporary ornaments that interpret this principle, every year focusing on an aspect that can create a possible harmony: 

Sunyoung Kim
Theme and variation, brooch, 2016 
sterling silver, blackened silver

2011 Gioielli in Fermento at the Vineyard of Arts (Gioielli in Fermento alla Vigna delle Arti) A piece of jewellery may come from an inspiration through the earth, the nature, the landscape, like wine does. This was the very beginning, gathering together a group of artists who already had experience in working together on occasion of themed exhibitions and sharing common projects. That first edition let emerge the work of Gigi Mariani with his emphatic deep traces of time on the surfaces, the effect of nature on materials, a sense of becoming which lays on the life stream as a result of natural and human actions.

2012 A wine tale (Il racconto del vino) A piece of jewellery may tell about a relation, a story, a land, like wine does. A year later all artists were involved in telling their story inspired to the peculiar environment where their work was supposed to be presented. So they studied tales about the region and its historical origin of a land of wines. It was a means to get closer to the tradition and culture of a territory and discover how people of this land got their precious production, and a means to reflect to artist's own relation with her/his work and materials.  

2013 The sense of taste (Il senso del gusto) A piece of jewellery may challenge the five senses, the sense of taste, real and figurative, like wine does. This edition has been a further step for artists offering them a new source of inspiration related to senses and especially playing with the double meaning of the word taste, both intended as one of the five senses and the aesthetical subject, or a new grammar of beauty as critics stated to call it. By the way, tasting is a basic practise for people interested in experiencing wine and one of the main tools for the wine makers to evaluate their own work. It was a success and an explosion of lively pieces, stimulating the observer in colours, shapes, aromas and an effective combination with wine and food memories, as fundamental experiences of our daily lives.  The pieces by Clara Del Papa (Convivium ring) and Nicoletta Frigerio (Compendium brooch) represent two different ways of involving the wearer.  A mix of tactile and olfactory experiences in a ring shaped as a multiple cup made to 'contain and taste' like in a passionate convivium (Del Papa); a challenge between appearance and memory made by a bronze sanded mirror, a warm nuance  reminder of a tasting of a sweet malvasia, a local aromatic wine speaking of the long history of local lands and vineyards (Frigerio).

Corrado De Meo
The Colours of the Night, brooch, 2015, private collection
polystyrene, acrylic paint, two-component resin, silver (ph F Cavicchioli)

2014 Wearing intensities (vestire le intensity) A piece of jewellery is full of intensity, color, attraction, like wine is. The following year was like a consequence to let the artists work on one of the main attractive aspect of art jewelry, the colour, the same significant factor that identifies quality and specific characters in each single wine. Color is actually an instrument in art jewelry to represent a defined concept by its author. And the edition came out with great impact as well, gathering work from a number of artists coming from a wider range of countries.

2015 Unconventional jewellery (ornamenti non convenzionali) A piece of jewellery may represent contrasts being substantial, spiritual, precious, affordable, like wine does. Coming to the most recent editions, the expressions by the artists evolved following the themes of inspiration offered year after year and many artists who presented their work and were selected, show traces of this evolution in combining their work with the atmospheres of Gioielli in Fermento . Thus the best results emerged without forcing concepts but producing a real synthesis between inspiration and individual expression, resulting as an evolution of the original character of each artist with his/her work. 

2016 Freedom and constraint (libertà e vincolo) A  piece of jewellery is an amazing combination of freedom and constraint, like wine is. In the year 2016 the investigation went on reading the creative processes that can be comparable in spite of specificity of the two fields: contemporary jewelers, as well as wine-makers, within their authenticity, are torn forever between freedom and constraint. Earth, nature, technologies, spaces, give us the freedom to choose, to act, to express ourselves, and yet objective or subjective limits, misconceptions or conventions, affect our work, the creative attitude, and even expectations or requirements of our counterparts. Thus always for the sake of that analogy - turning the natural into something precious and unique - the jewel of today as well as the favourite wine, is an amazing combination of freedom and constraint expressed by its maker. 

Akis Goumas
On the Old Soil, 2015 
necklace, silver, pvc, steel, threads, pigmants

Gioielli in Fermento, with the jury that selected the 2016 collection, aimed to emphasize how amazing the presence of a different and authentic balance can be within each ornament, as in a wine, both made as single artworks.

The theme revealed to be open to a consistent interpretation of the language used by each jewelry artist, though it does coexist with the chance of getting in conversation with inspiring elements taken from the world of wine, the Mediterranean culture, the environmental context which characterize the Gioielli in Fermento project.

The selection of the collection and the final nominations for the Torre Fornello Award highlighted once more the authenticity and originality of the works, placing great attention to composition, structure, narrative character, looking for the highest quality, for a very individual, emotional and harmonic outcome.


Eliana Negroni is a designer and independent curator. Published in conjunction with the Special Exhibit Gioielli in Fermento.


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