Interview to Elisabetta Duprè
NO-GRAM: At what point in your working life did you decide to dedicate yourself to contemporary jewellery?
Duprè: I did not consciously “choose” to express myself through contemporary jewellery. Rather, I would say that from the beginning the way I work followed a formal and aesthetic research and my work has found its own space within the world of contemporary jewellery.
NO-GRAM: What inspires your work?
Duprè: Observing detail in nature, a casual occurrence, the works of artists.. I studied music and contemporary dance for many years, so I am used to fragmenting movements, sounds, details, following rhythmic connotations and variations thereof, working in relation to the space around me. These aptitudes are transferred into the materials I use.
NO-GRAM: is there a connection or a theme linking your works?
Duprè: An architect friend once defined my works “method pieces”. I find this a good definition. Once I have identified a pattern, I transfer it with "method" in infinite aggregative possibilities. My “themes” get intertwined with the passing of years; I never really finish to work on an idea. It cohabits with other ideas and is transformed with time.
NO-GRAM: Do you have a preference for a particular type of jewellery (ring, brooch, etc.)? Why?
Duprè: I have been making pendants for many years (pictures for the neck), but in recent times I have explored three-dimensionality in brooches or rings.
NO-GRAM: Which techniques do you prefer?
Duprè: I am an unrepentant and uncompromising lover of goldsmith work at the bench. The basic techniques used are not that many but I always find new inspiration in those few skills. Sometimes I feel like an artisan from ancient times: a hammer, flame, saw and files are sufficient for me to create something.
NO-GRAM: Which materials do you use and why?
Duprè: Silver and gold. There’s no rational explanation to this, but every time I try to experiment with other materials, I feel something is missing. Being able to use the same material over and over again fascinates me. On one hand they are materials that withstand the test of time (especially gold) but they are also materials that can be reused after thousands of years since they do not lose their properties. There is the idea that these materials hold unchanging and re-mouldable characteristics.
NO-GRAM: How important is wearability to you?
Duprè: I often realize that my jewellery only really creates a relationship with the body when it is worn. The very soul of the pieces, and the ultimate goal, is that of being worn. I am fascinated to see how jewellery is transformed when worn continuously, like a dress that adapts to a body, undergoes wear and tear, softens, changes colour and enters into dialogue with the person who owns it.
NO-GRAM: Is there an artist, an art movement or a specific phenomenon that inspires or influences you?
Duprè: From the art world, I take inspiration from Minimalism and Bauhaus. From Bauhaus I find the overall learning of the creative process important, the essential union between craftsmanship and artistic work. What draws me to Minimalism is the bare formal lexicon, made up of few essential elements, the rigorous execution, limited colour and plastic sensibility that is achievable.
NO-GRAM: Do you find what you do nearer to an approach that is artistic, craft or design based? Why?
Duprè: I believe that my work is a mixture of all three, proportionally variable according to what I am doing. I cannot separate craftsmanship from creative thinking and design.
NO-GRAM: We live in an era in which time has become valuable. Do you think this may have had an impact on your work and how?
Duprè: When someone commissions a piece, one of the questions I ask is what type of “value” it should have. The answer I prefer is: “take your time”. I like to combine value and time. I find it a privilege to be able to immerse myself in long hours over my work, dilating time to go into a world of detail. It is the decision to consider the making time of a piece an added value. Real luxury is "wasting time" over the creation of a jewel.
NO-GRAM: In what way have the places you have studied in influenced your work?
Duprè: My Italian and Central European family background and studying in Italy and Germany, are an essential part of my creative vision, of my minute and detailed way of working. I took a course in jewellery with Edoardo Ermini, a Roman craftsman who in the 60s worked in close contact with world of art jewellery. I then took an apprenticeship with Conrad Klein in Munich, dealing with the work on a day-to-day basis and learning the craft. Later on I followed the course of the Sommer Akademie in Salzburg with Peter Skubic, which for the first time put me in touch with the world of contemporary jewellery.