Legnica shone with silver 



On 17th and 18th of May we celebrated the finale of the Legnica SILVER Festival, the most important weekend of the one of the largest contemporary art jewellery overviews in Europe.  Seventeen exhibitions were inaugurated on those two days, as well as the film screenings, happenings, a seminar, a concert and the meetings with artists in an intimate atmosfere of the recurring Silver party. The Contestation – Revolt – Change conference benefited from a full audience, with a number of lectures by the academics and artists and the screenings of the films on the subject of revolt as a part of the Silver screen cycle.





Over 200 jewellery design devotees from the countries of Europe and three other continents  (i.a. USA, Venezuela, Australia, Lebanon) came to Legnica to take part in the festival's finale, as did the representatives of the most prominents Polish goldsmithing centres - Tricity, Warsaw, Łódź and Cracow.




Walking through the "Legnica silverland", or in other words, the official 2013 Legnica Silver Festival's finale,  began on Friday afternoon (May 17th)  with the private view of Holownia - showcasing the entries received but not qualified for the main exhibition. This time it was a turn of Jacek Byczewski and Harold O'Connor (USA) to give a symbolic start to the celebrations by crowning the event's patron - a gnome once made in Legnica by the  prominent Dutch designer Gijs Bakker - with a silver laurel wreath.




In the Silver Gallery "Under the Quail’s Basket" Dorota Gulbierz presented herself as a "retromaniac" by nature, fashion choice and her body of works, confirming the true unity of the creator and the creation. At the next stop, in the Satyrykon Gallery, Tabea Reulecke and Maarija Niinemägi, co-authors (together with the Australian Teresa Lane) of the „Prince Charming & Palace of Happiness” exhibition, were greeted by a living and breathing "prince charming", to their great surprise. His presence was yet another proof that in Legnica all the artist's dreams come true, which can be also witnessed by the young goldsmiths of AU+ group (Marcin Bogusław, Bartosz Chmielewski, Filip Jackowski, Michał Wysocki), who exhibited their joint project in Niello Gallery, for the third time at the SILVER Festival.




Next on the silver route was the unexpectedly transformed baroque hall of the Legnica Culture Centre, which this year housed no less than six exhibitions. The annual Silver Schools presentation showcased works of the risk-takers and experimenters from Florence - Alchimia School of Contemporary Jewellery with its Hazardous Experimental project. Their accessible, tactile exhibition proved to be hugely popular thanks to the radical cut-down in the distance between an object and a viewer. Equally interesting, remarkably diverse and witty was also the presentation of the academy from Pilsen (Univeristy of West Bohemia). Tutors Doris Maninger and Lucia Massei (from Florence) and Prof. Vratislav Karel Novák and Dr. Kateřina Nováková (from the Czech Republic) spoke of the teaching meathods used in he future artists' education.




Works of six different artists were shown as a part of the recurring Artist Profiles. These included two design duos:  Agnieszka Bruzda and Jan Suchodolski with their joint exhibition B2 , and Aneta Lis-Marcinkiewicz i Adriana Lisowska as  Group Lis2.



In the same space one could also visit the Hardened Tears exhibition of the amber works by several well-known European artists, opened by its curators Wim Vandekerchove and Sławomir Fijałkowski. This extremely rich and varied overview of different artistic proposals was completed by two exhibitions offering very different views on the same subject: National Art Jewellery Competition PRESENTATIONS 2012 ( The Ring) and Amberif Design Award 2013 (Simply a ring).




The first day trailed off with never-ending discussions.  Silver Screen screenings of the films on the subject of revolt (previously shown at the In Out International Festival organised by the Contemporary Arts Centre  CSW "Łaźnia" in Gdańsk) and a jazz concert of Tomasz Pruchnicki Quartet at Cafe Modjeska ended that day's silver walk.




The many participants and guests started the finale's second day (Saturday, May 18th) reflecting on  contemporary art and goldsmithing at the Contestation – Revolt – Change seminar. The list of speakers included: Prof.Leszek Koczanowicz, Marcin Czerwiński, Philip Sajet, Ulrich Reithofer, Giedymin Jabłoński and the team behind the Alchimia Hazardous Experiments project. The last lecture by Mieczysław Gryza concluded - as anticipated - in a surprising performance.




Subsequently, the tension rose even higher, as after the exhibition of the debutant Monika Miodek, who successfully convinced everyone that small objects can decorate not only us but also our interiors, there came the confrontation with the "cult" SCHMUCK. This prestigious review of contemporary jewellery, most important in Germany and oldest in Europe, is organised every year by the Chamber of Commerse of Munich and the Upper Bavaria and sponsored by the Danner Foundation. This year the exhibits were selected by Bernhard Schobinger and arranged by Alexandra Bahlmann.  One of the showcased artists, Nanna Melland (Norway), came to the opening in Legnica and talked movingly and with equal warmth about her painstaking work on the "Swarm" installation and Legnica's hospitality.




The festival's stars, Philip Sajet and Ulrich Reithofer, showed off a very English sense of humour, conquering the audience completely not only with their interesting personalities, but first of all with their impressing artistic output and universal creativity. They talked briefly about their inspiration and thanked for the opportunity to present their works in a place so unique and special for the goldsmiths as Legnica.



The culmination took place in the Gallery of Art in Legnica, which hosted an exhibition of the young and promising designers from all over the world, chosen by Dr. Maria Cristina Bergesio for the Preziosa Young international competition organised by Le Arti Orafe, Florence, and finally the very centre of the event - private view of the International Jewellery Competition  REVOLT.


As always, the emotions ran high at the inauguration of the competition show.  The names of the winners and the runners-up (kept secret until then) were finally revealed. The total value of the cash and prize awards came to c. 40,000 zł.  The first prize (10,000 zł) was again funded by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage, the runners-up prizes by the Marshall of the Lower Silesia Province (5,000 zł), the Mayor of Legnica (3,000 zł) and the Gallery of Art in Legnica. Equally valuable were the other rewards, especially granulated silver, after which the Festival was named. This was funded by the KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. The granulate was presented packed in a "Molotov coctail" - "the essential equipment of every rebel", to the joy of the winners and the public.  The prizes were handed over by Robert Kropiwnicki MP on behalf of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage,  Edwin Petrykat on behalf of the Marshall of Lower Silesia, Dorota Purgal, the Vice-President of Legnica,  Ewa Cecylia Stankiewicz, CEO, on behalf of the Polska Miedź Foundation, Krzysztof Kułacz, Head of Department, on behalf of the board of KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. and the representatives of the remaining prize founders: Inhorgenta Fair, Jubinale Fair, Polish Jewellery, Polish Goldsmithing Artists' Association, Grupa Sześć (Group Six) and WFP Herfa.



The choice of the artworks as usual provoked many heated discussions, which stopped only  when the jury's verdict was being announced. The generally pleasant and peaceful atmosphere was suddenly and dramatically interrupted by the shots fired by Mieczysław Gryza as a part of his art performance included in the main gala. His  act was a reflection on a problem of a personal, social and political indeifference to the everyday's deaths of thousands of people. The tension was realesed by the REVOLT's winner, Janjaapa Luijt, asking with a smile "What am I doing here?" when standing on the podium.




The Festival's finale is now history, but majority of this edition's exhibitions will be open until the beginning of the summer holidays. The seventeen events, housed in eight different exhibiting spaces of the Legnica Old Town, showcased over 1500 objects of contemporary jewellery and design by a few hundred artists.  The pieces were displayed in unique arrangements and settings and all the exhibitions were accompanied by the catalogues documenting the artworks presented. The festival's exibitions can be viewed till 30 June 2013.






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Legnica Jewellery Festival SILVER 2020