Magnifying by Sylvie Fleury
Bringing new life to the conservative format of jewelry display and presentation, Suzanne Syz, founder of Syz Art Jewels, invites contemporary artists to re-envision the jewelry box as sculpture.
In her third project in this ongoing series, Magnifying, with the Swiss artist Sylvie Fleury (who is receiving the Meret Oppenheim Art Award this year) , the artist designed a jewelry box in a shape familiar in her body of work and also created an environment interacting with the boxes to incorporate the visitor and the work and literally bringing the project to a new dimension. Visitors become jewels themselves when interacting with Fleury’s installation, whether sitting on a blow-up brooch display or looking at themselves in the mirror of a giant watch holder, while nearby an over-sized earring stand serves as a sculpture. “It is possible that at times we’ve all dreamt about diving into a shop window”, says Fleury. “These objects take on the size of our imagination and Suzanne Syz magnifies that with her jewels.”
Interview with Sylvie Fleury by Nicolas Trembley
NT: How did you respond to the request to produce a jewellery box for Suzanne Syz?
SF: I actually did things a little bit back to front. I had several ideas for a box that I submitted to Suzanne. But when I was leaving her showroom in Geneva I saw, sitting on a table, the kind of small jewellery display products you usually see in jewellers’ windows.
NT: Is that what inspired you?
SF: It made me think of a micro-exhibition of minimal sculptures. These mini-objects were perfectly made from suede in subtle colours. There was a ring and watch display with a mirror to show the back of the object, a sort of mini palm tree that was an earring stand and little cushions used to display brooches.
Reflecting on it that afternoon, I thought to myself that it would be really interesting to change the scale of these objects, to enlarge them to human size to reveal their sculptural aspect and to install them on the stand which would become the giant showcase in which the public would, so to speak, represent the jewels.
It’s become the essence of the project, working with tools that are synonymous with jewellery. My work is often linked to the appropriation of objects or situations that already exist, so it seemed to make sense while being consistent with the project. Suzanne agreed right away!
NT: Yes, but you’re talking about a display, an element that has always run through your work, but it is not a jewellery box!
SF: Exactly, that’s why I said that I had done things backwards, I started by imagining the setting for the box before the box itself.
Finally, I imagined ceramic sculptures that reference some pieces with amorphous contours that I had already worked with. They remind me of some of César’s expansions. I call them ‘Wow’ and they are golden and each one is different. You can lift them up and there is a base on which you can place a jewel.
NT: How do the ‘Wow’ and the sculptures interact?
SF: I put small ring cones against the walls, and they become the support to put the cases on. I turned the brooch cushions into chairs and clients use the watch support with the mirror to look at themselves. In fact, everything has a function but it’s no longer the original one.
NT: You told me that you had seen one of Suzanne’s display cases in a hotel and you said to yourself that it was exactly your project!
SF: Absolutely, Suzanne’s universe fits perfectly with mine. Everything was done in a mauve Alcantara that reminds me of the décor of her showroom.
I also had a wallpaper made that represents ‘Flying Eyeballs’. It symbolises the world of cars, of customising, which is important to me, and I thought it could work for a sector that puts design first.
NT: What is your relationship with jewellery?
SF: I have noticed that very often the pieces that I wear are figurative objects whose size has been transformed, like for example a spider or a safety pin. So, in some way this project is an extension of my relationship with jewellery.
NT: Would you like to make jewellery?
SF: Yes, I’ve often wanted to but it never came about. What I like about Suzanne, and what I share with her, is this desire to make things that are fun but in a very professional way, I immediately felt at ease with this collaboration.