Only for people who are extremely nosy and have time (maybe some rainy Sunday afternoons?)
and have read already all the other stuff on the other pages …
The Making Of …
The mostly requested theme to have it written down, suggested by the large amount of people I met or spoke, was about the Odyssey of experiences during the making of this Compendium, impossible for many to imagine; So many different personalities were involved; so many funny but also sad stories to cope with in such a short time, actually enough to fill a separate book.It certainly was an experience not to be missed. Although this tragi-comedy is more than only funny, I decided to make it public, not just for indiscretion, but because I think the themes are worth to be taken notice of and to be thought and discussed about. To grant a minimum of discretion, names are not revealed, as quite often the stories are not very flattering for the persons concerned, but as examples for human behaving, they are unsurpassable, because what happened is real and authentic, although sometimes hard to believe. Especially in this community of Jewellery and Art, where a balance between the Ego, the Passion and the collective Inner Need for creating the jewellery as we saw abundantly in this publication, is of vital importance.My e-mail replies are left in the original languages, as the whole Compendium-communication took place in only 3 languages: English, German and Dutch. As the vast majority of the European Jewellers are German and Dutch, and so many Germans studied and stayed in Holland, they also speak excellent Dutch, so I do think that by printing emails in German, English and Dutch is anonymous enough. For those who prefer not to satisfy the human curiosity, this human little foible for gossip and nosiness, because they are blessed with an enviable nobility of mind, please skip this chapter, let the little box of Pandora closed. And don´t complain about this chapter, after still reading despite the warning.For all the others, who surrender themselves to the little weaknesses, which most of us all have …
The Beginning of Everything
In March 2008, at the last Jewellers get-together-Meeting in the Augustiner Bräuhaus in Munich, where hundreds of Goldsmiths from all over the world were gathered in the Weißer Saal (White hall), as every year, I carried the 1st prototype of the Compendium, a small block of around 5 kg, ca. 18 x 18 x 18, and ca.1000 pages in 2 Volumes, to the 1st floor. The first informal brainstorming started there. I wanted to find out if there was any interest and possibilities to make this project happen. The number of jewellers was still to be determined. As Leo Caballero from Klimt02 was just passing by, I asked him how many jewellers were represented on his huge list of his website – one of the most complete lists as I understood from many je-wellers -. Almost 300 was the answer. Then I thought 500 jewellers should be in the (then still no-name) book – so about 200 more new names on top of the most common and known names.
More individuality, more exclusivity, more anarchy and more fun? Just by being absence?
Many jewellers, invited for participation, seem to think that by NOT-participating, they would be more individual and more exclusive, because they would be in an extremely small and exclusive group of refusers. That with the small group is true, although it is a group with people, who actually are not very respectful and friendly towards each other either! (Neither in mutual respect concerning work, neither as a colleague). I cannot imagine that this is a group having more fun together than the 1044-member group. One would be surprised how many jewellers decided for the strategical refusal to be seen different as the others.
First withdrawal. First inspirations.
The first jeweller, after confirming his participation at the first evening in the Augustiner Bräuhaus, also cancelled as the very first. As I returned 2 days later to Cologne from Munich, I found the cancellation email, indeed very polite and friendly formulated, in which Mr. X made comparisons regarding the intended Jeweller-Dictionary in a negative way with books with titles like 1000 rings or 1000 chairs, and valuated such books as those in which one never looks twice in it. This was inspiring in 2 ways. Firstly, although I didn´t own jewellery books at that time myself, except for the 2, now already considered legendary monographs I made myself for Karl Fritsch and Lisa Walker, I do have a book with 1000 chairs in my book case! And I really love that book (Taschen Verlag; 1000 Chairs). I really loved that book so much that it is almost falling apart because I looked so many times in it (more than twice), and also of course because it wasn´t stitch-bound in the fantastic Darling Publications quality. Secondly, the number of 1000 had a certain charm in my ears, so during reading the very first rejecting-participation-email (many others still to come) I decided to raise the number of 500 intended jewellers up to 1000. The other issue disturbing our respected jeweller Mr. X, the first cancelling person, was that the thought of the ability of artists, and especially from goldsmiths, designing 2 pages themselves will cause him sickness. And such a book could turn out to become a nightmare. To be honest, partially he is right, there are some ugly, tough, offensive, strange, unelegant, dilettantly designed pages. But there are far more great, beautiful, touching, energetic, sensitive, crazy, informative, but above all original and personal pages, just representing the people in the way they are. The organizing and handling of the 24,000 emails was partially the nightmare, but certainly not the result. As a matter of fact, during the printing of the jeweller-designed pages, several advertising agencies and professional graphic designers kept coming back to the printing company with no actual reason, but somehow always managed to stick around for ages, gaping and staring at the already printed pages, astonished about this project, already suggesting that this concept would also be very tempting for other fields. So, a certain fascination of the page designs cannot be denied.
The eternal Pro and Contra
Suggestions from several artists about having one single graphic designer design every page for the entire Compendium was never an option. I think that it would be possibly more perfect, but it would be a lot more boring, as I never met anybody who could design individually enough to show the personalities or more than 1000 individuals. Besides this, there will be hundreds against this option, as every single idea had hundreds of supporters and hundreds of opponents in this project. I think that this situation cannot be described better than with the joke which I told many artists in the last 9 months. So I will repeat it another time for the interested reader: A Joke: In the convent of a fraternity with the vow of silence, where all monks promised never ever to speak again, the abbot installed a new rule. Once a year one monk of the entire fraternity is allowed to say one sentence. The abbot will decide at New Year’s Eve which of the monks was the most well-behaved of the whole previous year, who will be awarded with the generous right to speak one sentence, then starts again another year of serene quietness. So at the next New Year’s Eve, all monks were gathered in the parlatorium of the convent and several monks were jumping up and down, putting their finger up in the air to get attention from the abbot, grimacing with their faces, desperately wanting to say something. After long and sincere thinking, the abbot pointed benevolently at his chosen favorite, who bursted out the sentence: I wanted to say that the mashed potatoes in the cantine is too salty! Some monks were nodding their heads in agreement and applauded. Other monks were shaking franticly their heads, showing absolutely deep disagreement. Another year passed. That year another monk got the opportunity to speak: I wanted to say that the mashed potatoes in the cantine is just perfect and tastes fabulous! Same reaction as last year of approval and disapproval. Another year passed by. A monk sitting at the window put up his finger and had such stringent view in his eyes that the abbot got curious what he would say and allowed this monk to speak. The chosen one stood up and said: I want to announce my resigning from this fraternity, because I think that people are talking too much nonsense here!
In the past 2 years, when I got to know more about jewellers and their world, I was getting many invitations for exhibitions and symposia. Very soon I noticed actually that a core of ca. 50 makers were exhibiting in whole Europe in different galleries. In group shows the same names were seen, only the order of the names changed. Strange that everybody thought it was so amazing that in such a short time I seem to know „everybody“. Although blessed with a good memory (but selective, I can forget names extremely fast too), I felt that there were many more different positions or personalities to be discovered. But if everybody invites the same jeweller-colleague-friends for group shows, and is re-invited again by the same jeweller colleague-friend, one cannot be surprised if always same pieces and faces show up everytime. So I came up with a slightly modified nominating system (see page 2306), that gave the chance for all respected colleagues to be nominated, but the number was limited to 3, 2 or 1 per invitor. As the pool of the 300 well res- and ex-pected jewellers was reached already in this project, the exciting part, because the obvious ones were in the project already, started. People took noticeably longer to think of people they can nominate. Interesting forgotten positions were suddenly remembered, co-exhibitors from past group shows were remembered, admired colleagues who one has never met in person were contacted. The ball was rolling! And rolling worldwide, as the nominated jewellers invited others in total different regions and jewellers’ groups who was not in their own clique. Every new name was shown on the website in the daily growing „list of participants“. Some jewellers looked every single day on the list to discover new names, and googling their names out of curiosity, not waiting for the printed book. The website reached in 3 months 200.000 clicks from 7000 different IP addresses!
A Vanity publication …?!
As the project nominations reached the USA, I heard about negative reactions. The Compendium was often misjudged as a so-called „vanity publication“, a gender of publications unknown to me. An US jeweller explained me what that was. For me, it reflects more the american publication structure, if this is so often the first thought popping up, without even trying to understand the concept, assuming every publication has to be a vanity publication.
Andy, Here‘s the message I received from Citizen X, along with my response. Y.
Dear Y., I know about the book – it is, however, uneven – if you pay, you are in. No critical selection. Love, X
P.S. Andy, however, is a good private publisher.
The defending-me reply from Y. to Citizen X:
Hi X, I think you misunderstand the selection process for the Jewelry Compendium. I know I did, for I thought it was a vanity publication when I first heard about it. It‘s true there‘s no overarching curatorial viewpoint – by design. Lim wanted to make the selection process more open & democratic than the usual methods used for an omnibus volume like this. That‘s why he put the power into the hands of the jewelers themselves. Why shouldn‘t jewelers be qualified to select other jewelers? They are no less expert than curators or writers. In effect, the book will show what jewelers think, collectively, about their own field. I think of the selection process as similar to a work of conceptual art. Lim set up a structure, and then let it operate like clockwork. No doubt there will be dogs, but there will also be surprises. Think of it as an exhibition with 500 curators. As for „if you pay, you are in,“ that‘s not quite accurate. You have to be selected first. Lim makes no exceptions to this rule; he has been quite firm about it. Nobody can offer to write a check and thus be accepted. Certain notable jewelers have demanded exceptions to the rules, and Lim refused. Those notables – and there are two that he told me about – then refused to participate. Lim did not relent. I admire the integrity with which he has protected the selection process. To be credible, the structure has to be incorruptible. There‘s also an element of chaos that Lim designed into the book. Every jeweler is in charge of designing their own pages, and every invited jeweler gets two pages. What‘s fascinating is that everybody gets two sides of a single page – no facing pages. That means every jeweler is thrown cheek-by-jowl against two others, in alphabetical order. A clockwork system that produces chance encounters… and nobody can exercise control! I don‘t know about you, but I think that‘s pretty great. Very subversive of the jewelerly demand for control. Very Duchampian.
Under the circumstances, I can do without critical selection.Y.
Help, NOT a spread (NOT 2 pages next to each other)!
My idea to present each maker on a front and back page, had two reasons:
1. My intention was to present always 2 different artistic positions at one view, both in works and in page design.
2. Every maker becomes physically one page. If you rip out the page of the person you don´t like, the Compendium (alphabethically set) continues without missing anybody, physically gone without disturbing the flow – a dispendability of everybody is sometimes healthy to realize, I think.
The fact that each maker has always 2 different other makers facing the own pages before and after oneself (alphabetically) shocked, and even enraged some of the jewellers. For some it was the reason to withdraw their participation after discovering the recto / verso presentation, months after their enthusiastic confirmation of participation, and although it was clearly written in the concept. Some could not imagine anything but a double page next to each other, and demanded so. I just wonder if these makers were never presented in the past on only one page? Do they always insist on an empty page opposite? Or otherwise: withdrawal? Surprisingly enough I did find, from those who were so opponent, numerous one-page presentations next to other makers in books presenting multiple makers. Seems that people make an exception if there are 2 pages available.
One page available: Thank you so much for the opportunity!
Two pages, but not a spread: Unbearable! Terrible! Impossible to present my own work if there are neighbours!
Very, very funny, isn´t it?
One wrote in his not-a-spread-then-rejection-email to me mainly complaining that a visual separation of his 2 pages and in mixture with pages from others („partner by coincidence“) is absolutely unacceptable and imbecile, as it is a book and not a collection of postcards or invitation cards.
Ich akzeptiere deine Einwände, andere hatten auch diese Einwände. aber leider möchte ich trotzdem mein Konzept nicht ändern. Hoffe dass eines Tages jemand mit einem Konzept kommt, für eine Publikation, die „so großartig Deine Idee mit dem Buch auch ist“ – dafür bestehend aus Doppelseiten.
His e-mail continued threatening to withdraw his participation if I don´t change my concept and accept his objections.
Lieber X, Ich weiß gar nicht wie solch eine Publikation ohne Dich überhaupt denkbar ist oder ernst genommen werden kann, falls Du fehlst. Ich werde das mal ausprobieren und demnächst erfahren. freue mich auf das nächste Treffen, wo wir über das dann sehr wahrscheinlich bereits gedruckte „Objekt des Streits“ bei einem Getränk deiner Wahl weiter streiten können. Wie du merkst, sind wir beide nicht harmoniesüchtig und konfrontationsscheu. Das finde ich aber auch löblich und lustig an dir. (und mir). Gruß ist trotzdem ein Muss, Andy. My reply to his next e-mail explaining my stand-point: hallo X, Die seltenen Momente mit dir zu telefonieren oder zu mailen machen mir zu viel Spass! Trotz zugegeben momentan gestiegenem Stressfaktor sollte man sich Zeit nehmen für gehaltvolle Kommunikation, wenn möglich. Bitte registriere, dass du gerade für das Kompendium eine Ausnahme machst – bis jetzt hast du nämlich wohl Kollegen (wenn auch eine deiner Studentinnen) auf der gegenüberliegende Seite ge-/ erduldet. Ich hoffe, dass sowohl dein undiskutabel wichtiges oeuvre als auch meine paar, zugegeben einigermaßen sehr gelungenen Publikationen lange halten. Unwichtig ist wirklich wie lang. Dass du in diesem bescheidenen Büchlein jetzt fehlen möchtest, wird dir bestimmt nicht zum Nachteil, wenn auch nicht zum Vorteil.
Another JoJo effect case:
After personally explaining to X the project, a confirming email came, but insisting only the acceptance of the nomination from a well known jeweller Y, although others asked her before. After X had 2 months of postponing payment, postponing sending in pages, because only her husband can do the design, but doesn´t want or cannot do it, after several calls, despite email reminders, her still not able to say even if she still wants or not want to participate, I called her the last time to tell her that she is jeopardizing the participation of the person Z whom she nominated several weeks ago. As she didn´t care less and didn´t make any effort to do so-mething except to repeat: she is so busy and cannot decide yet, „Stress, Stress, Stress!“ I decided to kick her out of the project. I asked Y if he would also take over nominating X´s nominee as this nominee needs to be re-nominated if X is not participating. He agreed. Her nominee Z, a bit embarrassed in this situation, asked me to let him, a long, long year colleague, talk once more with her. I warned him. Same result. As expected. Z gave up. Waiting for the transport to the bookbinder. My email: hallo X, dein Stress ist beendet. Y hat jetzt Z gerne nominiert, und bereits auch die Begründung geschrieben. Jetzt brauchst du deinem Mann nicht mehr auf die nerven zu gehen mit Gestaltung etc. deiner 2 Seiten, etwas wofür eigentlich 2 Monate genug gewesen wären. Bin vor allem auch froh dass zu diesem Thema deiner Teilnahme auch mein Stress beendet ist, Da die Organisation einer Publikation mit über 1000 Schmuckleuten gleichzeitig, wie du dir vorstellen kannst, oder vielleicht auch nicht, sogar wahrscheinlich die Organisation deines Symposiums übertrifft. Gruss, Andy.
This story wouldn´t be in the Jo-Jo chapter if it would be finished. Goldsmith ++ from the same town heard about this story, and as a long year colleague also, persuaded me to give her another chance. Very unwillingly I gave in after a very long evening accompanied by 2 bottles of red wine for two of us. The shock for Mr. ++ came when the generous Mr. ++ reported me that X would now really and definitely want to participate …, but not wanting to be nominated by Mr. ++, but still only if she can be nominated by the same prominent Mr. Y ! Gratitude isn´t exactly the word for such behaviour, isn’t it? She even called Y again to persuade him to „do“ something.
So my final email:
hallo X, von ++ hörte ich dass du jetzt doch wieder mitmachen willst. wie du weißt hat Z deinen Platz eingenommen samt Nominierung von Y, NACHDEM Suzy, ich und Z mit dir telefoniert haben. Trotz Telefonat mit Suzy mit der Bitte um Entscheidung, mit Zusage zum Rückruf von dir oder deinem Mann – nicht statt gefunden. Trotz Telefonat mit mir mit der Bitte um Entscheidung, mit Zusage zum Rückruf von dir oder deinem Mann – nicht stattgefunden. Trotz Telefonat mit Z mit der Bitte um Entscheidung- nicht stattgefunden. Solange wir hier mit, jetzigen Stand, 12000 emails, täglich steigend in der Anzahl, am kämpfen sind, verstehst du hoffentlich dass dein Email- und Symposium-Stress nicht richtig als Ausrede akzeptiert wird, vor allem weil du davor 2 Monate Zeit hattest. Mit der bereits angenommene Nominierung von Y in der Tasche, trotzdem keine Zusage oder Interesse an Teilnahme am Compendium nur bestätigen zu wollen, obwohl dadurch ausdrücklichst von mir daraufhingewiesen wurde dass dadurch die Teilnahme von Z und seine Nominierten gefährdet waren, zeigte mir deutlich dass sowohl die eigene Teilnahme als auch die Teilnahme von interessierten Kollegen dir ziemlich egal war. Dass jetzt die Teilnahme wieder doch interessant ist, freut mich, hoffe dass nicht wieder „das unbedingt nur von Y nominiert sein zu müssen“ wie beim ersten Mal ein Thema ist. Wenn du allerdings nur von Y, und von sonst niemanden, nominiert mitmachen willst und dazu absolut nicht von ++, wie beim ersten mal von „F“ auch, zeigt dass du mein Konzept vom Streben nach gegenseitigem Schätzen durch Kollegen und Hierarchielosigkeit nicht möchtest oder verstehst. In diesem fall sind wir wieder auf dem Stand meiner vorigen „Stress beendet-Email“. Y hat mir erzählt dass du bei ihm nachgefragt hattest, vielleicht war es nicht ganz deutlich dass er nicht der Verleger oder der Herausgeber ist? Wenn dein Interesse am Compendium projekt weiter besteht, kannst du bis zum 6 oktober die 2 seiten mailen. Aber dann bitte ich höflichst vorher die Compendium-Teilnahmesumme wie auf der website beschrieben zu überweisen. (wie über 1000 Kollegen, inklusive alle aus … es bereits getan haben.). Nach Zahlungseingang erfolgt die Eintragung online. Wenn nach dieser Mail doch wieder als JoJo-Effekt eher das Desinteresse herrscht, dann überweise nichts, das ist deutlich genug. Hoffe dass dieses Email auch deutlich genug ist. Nichts ist beleidigend gemeint, aber nur sehr deutlich. herzlichen gruss, Andy
In and Out
One complete nomination-tree-line of makers from all 4 groups, who have initially confirmed their participation withdrew later at almost the same time, as the first group 1 artist changed her mind. Really funny to see the successful out-viting (opposite of in-viting), – encouraging others to pull out after first encouraging and confirming to get in?! It shows a certain group or mass dynamic, but little personal ability for making own steadfast decisions. This happened also in other parts of nomination-tree-lines.
Lonely in China
Surprisingly, and absolutely hilarious, a Chinese jewellery maker, invited by a European colleague Y, seems to have problems with too many people! The very last reason I would expect from a Chinese from Beijing (who has obviously also not only problems with too many people, but also with too many words, not accustomed to read either, at least not the 5 pages of the Compendium-concept, too many words to read…). So the chance of having mainland-Chinese positions was aborted at the very beginning. I am sure Chinese Jewellers will be really grateful to their compatriot. Here his mail from China: Dear Y, Thank you for your nomination. But I am sorry I am not interesting in that Jewellery Compondium. Because I think too many people on that book. To tell you the truth, I haven‘t finished reading all the information about the Compondium. It‘s too much to finish. Anyway thank you very much. Best wishes. X
Some artists got asked up to 8 times, rejected 8 times, then changed their mind. After discovering their names on the list of participants, some of the former inviting colleagues got insulted. I got telephone calls of why they are participating now, but not when they asked. This is a question I impossibly could answer, as I don´t even know one single person of this little „ménage à trois“, The Caller (the insulted), The Nominator (the winner) nor The Nominee (the proselyte). This happened more than once.
The European Hobby-Buddhist or To Buy or Not to Buy
Invitation email from Y to X: lieber X., ich wollte dich fragen ob du Lust hättest an einem Buch Projekt mitzumachen? Der Website wo alle Infos drauf sind: www.darlingpublications.com. Der Verleger Andy Lim hat mein Buch U. gemacht (hast du das Buch hoffentlich von F. schon bekommen?), und auch Karl Fritsch´s 3 Bücher. Es ist ein riesige, ubertriebene, tolle, spektakuläre Projekt und es wurde mich sehr freuen wenn du mitmachen wurdest. schöne Grüsse.Y.
X wrote back saying that he noticed that „she means it well with him“ and that he had already rejected one other invitation by „somebody from Germany“. He continued in his e-mail, proposing that „if“ Mr. LIM (right, that´s me!) would „buy“ a PROMINENT piece from him (sic!), THEN it could be published in the Compendium with his permission!! Further, the question was asked if Y knew the gentleman (me!) and could pass this message on! Lastly, he advices, NOT to forget that „Advantage is disadvantage and disadvantage is advantage“!
As I read this quote, I bursted out with laughter as I quoted in my reply to Y (as it is in German below), that Mr. X must have understood something wrong quoting „disadvantage is advantage! Such Fortune-Cookie-statements are made only by european hobby-buddhists. As I am chinese, I encounter often semi-asian quotes (like europeanised chinese restaurants and their New Year roll-calendar presents). Really embarrasing! In China, one says, advantage is advantage, disadvantage is disadvantage! And the Moon is not the Sun! I really don´t know why some Europeans attribute foggy thoughts to Far East oriental philosophy. Email from Y to me: hi andy, I don´t quite know what he means by „prominentes Objekt von mir kaufen…“?? that you should buy a piece from him? a bit odd. I´ll email him. Y.
My reply to Y: Wer war „jemand aus Deutschland“?? War er nicht PROMINENT genug? Wahrscheinlich ein mittelmäßiger Z– Student – bei einem Guten hätte er vielleicht zugesagt, obwohl, anscheinend bist du auch nicht PROMINENT genug. Dafür hat er immerhin einen Text geschrieben in deinem Buch. Hat ihm bestimmt viel Überwindung gekostet, oder hast du ein prominentes Objekt kaufen dürfen. Anderseits hat auch keinen der Prominenten die bereits mitmachen Ihn für PROMINENT genug gehalten und gefragt. Ich weiß nicht ob Herrn X.´s Objekte PROMINENT genug sind für mich. Wie du weißt kenne ich mich schon etwas in der Zeitgenössischen Kunst aus, aber im Schmuckwelt eher nicht, hatte vorher auch noch nie von ihm gehört, andere Schmuckleute wurden eher genannt. Habe ein bisschen gegooglet, kenne nur +. +. die hat mit Bathasar Burkhard oft ausgestellt. Bei Galerie Rodolphe Janssen in Brüssel. Wieso macht sie Schmuckfotos, die ist doch Fotokünstlerin? sind die etwa verwandt oder liiert? Übrigens, welche Arbeiten meint er mit prominent? Bestimmt irgendwelche die noch nicht abgebildet sind. Die Abbildungen im Internet und seinem Pdf-Katalog sahen nämlich nicht so besonders prominent aus. An den Fotos kann es nicht liegen, die sind schön. Etwas hat Herr X. falsch verstanden, vor allem wenn er zitiert: Nachteil ist Vorteil! Solche Fortune Cookie Sprüche machen übrigens immer europäische Hobby-Buddhisten- Ich als Chinese begegne so oft semi-asiatischen Weisheiten (wie europäisierte Chinarestaurants). Peinlich-Peinlich! In China sagt man: Vorteil ist Vorteil, Nachteil ist Nachteil. Der Mond ist nicht die Sonne. Kennst du den Herrn? Könntest du ihm das weitersagen? Andy.
How to be a funny anarchist? Very easy: Just by NOT being in this book!
Another rejection-email from the previous same invited- maker, (reply-email to another jeweller Z. who also invited him), this time with some negative remarks. Besides the idea to invite „Ives“ Saint Laurent, if he would participate, (over-average intellectually-esteemed makers -although only by jewellers-tend to have the affinity for inviting dead non-jeweller artists, as some other jeweller also thinks it is so highly witty and individual to nominate dead non-jeweller artists), X became also now more ecological, politically liberal and socially caring. (now he dislikes waste of paper, totalitarian claims, although talking about his own work as prominent, and pity already poor Compendium-carrying-librarians, (but only female ones!)). But this time at least without the greedy proposal that Mr. Lim should buy a prominent piece. As X stated that he would invite „Ives Saint Laurent“, I never found out if he meant Charles Ives -as Ives has also already passed away- and that he forgot the „and“ between Ives and Saint Laurent, or if he really thinks Yves is written with an „I“ (cannot imagine a typing mistake, as the „I“ and „Y“-keys are not next to each other on computer keyboards!). Then he continues to write that it is „more anarchistic and more fun NOT to be in the book, and besides that, his analysis of the Compendium concept was: the principle is banal; pyramid scheme or chain letters, used since ages for dubious deals! I wonder if he calls the Compendium now:14 kilos of dubious deals?! Lastly, he wrote that he noticed, (again as always, that others mean well with him) in this case warm hearted, that „Z means it well with him“.
Withdrawal after too fast acceptance.
Another withdrawal e-mail came, after X has regretted a too fast enthusiastic acceptance to participate, with the reason that X doubts that a fruitful symbiosis can happen, that she doesn´t expect any intervention of quality in the Jewellery world from this project, and that therefore she just doesn´t see any necessity for any contribution. My reply: hallo X, Kein Problem mit deinem Ausstieg, auch wenn ich es persönlich schade finde. Dampferfahrten finde ich selber grausam, als kleiner & großer Egomane große Gruppierungen sowieso. Foto war auch als abschreckendes Amuse-Geule gemeint, hat anscheinend auch funktioniert! Die interessante Möglichkeit neuen Positionen zu begegnen kommt nur, nach meiner Meinung, wenn die Grenze der vorzustellenden Zahl und zu erwartenden „guten“ und „schlechten“ Kollegen erreicht ist. Daher diese bescheuerte Zahl von 1000. Die Unbekannten sind die Objekte der Begierde und Neugierde. Die Frage nach Qualität (oder eher die Abwesenheit davon) von diesem Konzept kann ich nur damit begegnen dass außer den ca. 50-60 Künstlern (von mir ohne Qualitätsanspruch nominiert) alle meiner Meinung nach mit dem Anspruch nach Qualität nominiert werden. Bei 3, 2 oder1 Nominierung nehmen alle es unglaublich ernst wen sie fragen. Das habe ich mit Freude in den letzten Wochen gemerkt. Fachliche, aber auch freundschaftliche oder soziale Motivationen spielten immer eine Rolle. Schade dass manche mit allzu schneller Kritik wegen mangelnder Qualität, Exclusivität etc. (nicht von dir) diese Gespräche, Gedanken oder Emails nicht mitkriegen. Das bis jetzt Erreichte, mit dem tiefen Wunsch nach Anerkennung, nach der Aufhebung der Eingrenzung „angewandter“ Kunst, das Inzestuöse der Schmuckbetrieb wurde mir in diesen 2 Jahren ziemlich direkt angetragen. Trotzdem zeigt sich, glaube ich, keine Ankündigung von „fruchtbaren Symbiosen“ an dem Horizont. Ob eine qualitative Intervention stattfindet weiß ich auch nicht, ob überhaupt dieses Buch stattfindet weiß ich auch nicht. Dafür habe ich bereits ein Endzitat (ungeachtet des Ausgangs) bereit: Die (Schmuck)Welt kriegt was sie verdient, (positiv und negativ gemeint). Das Zustandekommen benötigt die Durchbrechung einer Barriere im Kopf/Benehmen/Wille etc. der Schmuckleute, das ist die einzige qualitative Bedeutung meiner Meinung nach, die eine Intervention bedeutet. Da die vielen eher müde erwarten dass es nichts bringt, dazu sich gleichzeitig abfragen ob es überhaupt nötig ist und das es nicht klappen wird etc. wird es die totale Intervention wenn so etwas klappt, da unerwartet, zwar nicht nur durch mich, aber auch durch die Schmuckwelt selber! Ich glaube dass niemanden es wundert wenn es nicht klappt, aber jeder dafür sich die Augen reiben wird wenn man vor dem riesigen quadratischen dinosaurier Ei von 9 kilo steht. (note of Editor: damals wusste noch niemand vom Endgewicht von ca. 14 Kilo!). Dabei muss man es nicht mal öffnen, es geht dabei nicht um den Inhalt, um irgendwelche Beiträge, sondern nur um das geistig Erreichtete, um das Zustande bringen. Vor allem du, der den Pfad des normalen Schmuckmachens verlassen hast, müsste als erster doch das rein Konzeptuelle dieses Projektes erkennen! Die (geistige) Kraft aufbringen zu wollen, um eine bahnbrechende Menge von Energie zu Kanalisieren um ein blödes Riesenbuch von 9 kilo zu ermöglichen ist viel, aber viel einfacher als ernst genommene eigenständige Haltung in der Kunstwelt akzeptiert zu werden. Und zwar für die (Schmuck)-Welt, und nicht für die Einzelkünstler selber. Ein paar Ausflüge von einzelnen Schmuckleuten in die „echte“ Kunstwelt sind einfach. Aber als Gesamtposition ernst genommen zu werden nicht, das schaffen keine Einzelpersonen. Eine Notwendigkeit für dieses Projekt sehe ich selber nicht, allerdings eine Überflüssigkeit sehe ich noch viel weniger. Übrigens sehe ich mit diesem Projekt die evtl. Vorbereitung für eventuelle Symbiosen. Ohne die massive Einigung werden die kreativen Höchstleistungen einzelner Schmuckleute nicht als Position einer eigenen Haltung wahrgenommen. Dass ich die Egonummer für den Einzelkünstler verstehe/beherrsche und sogar lustig finde, sieht man spätestens durch Karls und Lisas Bücher. Du bist nicht der erste „Aussteiger“, und sicher werden weitere dazukommen. lassen wir uns überraschen ob dieses Projekt überlebt, das habe ich mit Absicht der Schmuckwelt selber überlassen, bin auch total neugierig darauf!! Wenn ich die volle Kontrolle übernehmen würde, wird es garantiert kommen, aber wenn mit diesem freien Konzept es nicht klappt, finde ich es total OK das es nicht kommt! Aber wenn es nicht stattfindet reflektiert es auch den momentanen Stand (dass nur gejammert wird, aber nichts getan und eigentlich auch nicht verdient dass sich etwas ändert), dies wird vielen ungeachtet des Ausgangs wahrscheinlich bewusster. also viele grüsse, in wachsender Neugier meinerseits wie es weiter geht! Lassen wir uns alle überraschen! Andy
„Just a world record in printing?“
One well-respected maker tried to be some sort of creative and original, so he wanted to nominate dead non-jeweller artists. As he would have been in group 1, and his 3 nominees should continue the nominating lines, I had to turn down this admittingly new and witty idea, explaining that it was not a big help to get 1000 people together, as dead artists tend to have difficulties to nominate others, even if they were really famous like the ones he suggested. So he understood it and promised to help me as much as he can in this project. This was in the end March. I called him 2 months later because nothing happened. He promised to start, just was busy etc. In July 2009 there was still no one single nomination, but also no withdrawal email, so I mailed to ask if he has started because it was 3 weeks till the deadline. As he was in group 1, there was a long way to go till group 4 (total 15 new people). And it would show a minimum of social behaviour to give the colleagues also time to nominate others. This time a very fast reply announcing his withdrawal came the next day. In the email with his withdrawal (in Dutch) was the surprising statement, that my reminder-email was causing him some mental pressure (after 4 months!): „It almost feels like an obligation!!“ (in the most civilized cultures I know, for average well-mannered men, an agreement does mean some sort of minimum commitment or obligation). He had also the feeling that I was only interested in reaching, although for him understandable, a world record in bookprinting, but which was „not the extension of his interest.“ (actually it wasn´t mine neither, although a 2400 page book probably might even be a worldrecord!). Strangely enough, when later other people asked the reason of his withdrawal, he gave as an explanation; being not allowed to nominate dead artists (remember his intellectual concept?!). But this issue was already settled before he assured his utmost support in this project already in March! My reply to X in Dutch, (as the email came in Dutch):
1. Het is niet bedoeld je een ongewenste verplichtend gevoel te geven, Eind maart had je medewerking aan deze publicatie toegezegd, en daartoe nog gezegd dat je daarbij je best zal doen mij daarbij te helpen. Daarom had ik verwacht dat je eventueel zou hebben nagedacht aan mensen die zou kunnen vragen. Ik zou het collegiaal vinden genomineerden ook tijd te geven anderen te vragen. Tot nu toe had jij 3 maanden tijd, nu zijn er 3 weken over. Een herinnering hieraan was voor mij eerder een toegegeven onaangename verplichting.
2. Het ligt mij aan het hart, jouw inschatten van „mijn belangrijkste resultaat“ te corrigeren. Een wereldrecord in boekdrukken is in mijn grote Ego-begrip veel, veel groter in dimensies, en eigenlijk al lang gepland in een ander project met de drukker en boekbinder. Vergeleken daarmee is het compendium een pocketboek. Als Chinees denk ik waarschijnlijk toch wel in grotere dimensies wat getallen betreft. een wereldrecord betreffend getallen in de sieradenwereld is voor mij absoluut geen uitdaging, en ook niet in het verlengde van mijn eigene interesse. Maar wel is een geestelijke grensbereik-grens-overtreding project. En daartoe het manifesteren van een positie. Waar, hoe belangrijk en hoe gesloten die wordt zal de toekomst ons leren. Maar waarschijnlijk niet jij of ik. In dit compendium-project zijn voor sommigen hun grenzen in de gedachten eraan al daarmee bereikt, voor anderen opent het reeds bereikte grenzen. Iedere dag heb ik nu kontakt met sieradenmakers over de hele wereld. Het toont mij van dag tot dag meer de juistheid en nodigheid van dit o zo stom en spontaan begonnene „schnappsidee“. Natuurlijk is niet iedereen net zo enthousiast zoals ik, sommigen zeggen meteen af, anderen middenin, ik verwacht zowieso nog „afspringen op de laatste dag“. Beste X, het spijt mij dat je afzegt, maar nog belangrijker voor mij dat je hopelijk op een dag merkt dat dit compendium niet zo´n onbenullig en primitief simpel initiatief is als je het nu inschat, en daartoe te denken dat ik dat niet doorheb. Groeten uit Keulen, Andy. p.s. hoe gaat het met jullie verbouwing? Al klaar?
Too old? Too much „fun“?
A prominent teacher rejected to participate at the invitation with the following reasons: She is too old for these fun projects, the project sounds too much like fun, not serious enough. And besides she forbids also anything to be published about her in the compendium. A woman to feel sorry for, she seems not to like fun in life! But thank god it can also be different: I would like to congratulate one participant of the Compendium, Mr. Henryk Kaston from New York, the jeweller who designed and made the jewellery for Salvador Dali (like the Ruby Lips), to his 99th Birthday in January 2009. I wish him lots of fun, a mind young and wise enough to appreciate, recognize, accept and enjoy the fun.
A prominent teacher rejected to participate at the invitation with the following reasons: that she is only 75% convinced, because not enough known jewellers to her taste were participating – she would like to wait and see if more prominent people are going to join in. As she was not Godot, I didn´t wait. By the way, she never got to 100%.
„You are not allowed to use the name Compendium!“
(Unfortunately, the reader cannot experience the slightly aggressive atmosphere, in which this conversation took place, although still amusing for me): A very funny experience was, that somebody I have never met, insisted (the 1st time on the telephone) that I may absolutely not name this book Compendium, as it was not complete enough to carry this name, and again: some prominent names were missing! Apparently because of having had Latin at school and the fact that she has a background of writing, that´s why she knows that so exactly. I could only humbly encounter this mutual childish little game of competing in general knowledge achievement by discretely mentioning my own education in Latin and on top of that, also ancient Greek. I didn´t forget either to mention by the way, that beside the speaking, though not always perfectly, of the standard european languages English, French and German, that also Dutch, (as I grew up in the Netherlands) and the choice of 2 Chinese languages (Mandarin and Cantonese, which is my mother tongue) was also an option. As the Compendium is presented as Part One, a chance to be fulfilling everybody’s deep inner wish for total completeness is not yet totally abandoned by the impatient waiting-on-Part Two. As we met later at an exhibition, the naming issue started again. I replied: If this book would have been aimed to be complete, I would have named it Complet-tium ! Wikipedia: A compendium is a concise, yet comprehensive compilation of a body of knowledge. A compendium may summarize a larger work. In most cases the body of knowledge will concern some delimited field of human interest or endeavour.The word compendium comes from the Latin word compendere, meaning „to weigh together“
At a weight of almost 14 kilos and 1044 to-gathered jewellers, I do think the name Compendium is quite suitable.
I only have contacts with artists and not jewellers!
Surprisingly often, jewellers wanted to state clearly that they actually dont communicate with jewellers, but only with artists! Jewellers seems to be artists-second class for them, which in my opinion doesn´t help to make jewellery a respected position in the art world.
Nomination Tree? Yes or No? For some people, the idea to publish the nomination tree was not well received. Many preferred anonymity, in my opinion unnecessary, as I think one should independant from whatever relationship with the nominee, be happy and convinced of the own choice, and not trying to hide the link. One jeweller insisted instead of preferred and called it „embarrassingly voyeuristic and obscene.“ On top of this, if my concept will not be changed, his already accepted participation will be cancelled. My reply: Einen Stammbaum von Künstlern sowohl in der Position von Nominierer und Nominierten, vor allem aus welchem Grund, sei es persönlich, beruflich, politisch, familiär oder nach Sympathie gesteuert, zeigt die globalen Verbindungen. Meiner Meinung nach sollte man offen und begründet zu seinen Nominierungen stehen. Bis jetzt bist du der einzige der das peinlich voyeuristisch und obszön findet, ich hatte dich nicht so schüchtern und verklemmt eingeschätzt. Ich wurde mehrfach gefragt von Teilnehmern welcher “Idiot“ einen anderen „Idioten“ nominiert hat, auch aus deinem engeren Freundeskreis. Ein Informationsbedürfnis scheint da vorhanden zu sein. oder findest diese Neugier „peinlich voyeuristisch und obszön“? Another jeweller Y wrote me, friendly, that he thought that writing statements on „why I chose this or that artist“ creates a hierarchy that Y thought from the beginning I wanted out. Y thinks that it is contrary to the philosophy of the book in the first place. This is Y´s opinion but Y is sure that I will do as I deem best. My reply to Y: Hi Y, the statement shows a reason or non-reason. in my opinion not the hierarchy. It shows the complete free (should be) choice and shows the own motivation of why nominating. Some nominate out of friendship, some out of admirance, some as respect, some out of gratitude, some as encouragement for colleagues in a more low situation, etc. etc. So there was no second I thought of showing valuations, as every nomination shows anyway already the appreciation. Many negative comments about this nomination procedure is that there is less quality because of the amount of people, I want to show that the nomination amount is actually not 1000 persons, but only 3,2 or 1, as every individual is in the role of being nominated by one or several of the above mentioned reasons. Beside that it shows a more detailed and refined relation between nominator and nominee. Like you and Y know each other obviously well enough to emphasize the …. Others never met or spoke with each other, only the oneway appreciation was the reason. So actually the nomination statements were from the very beginning concept. Z asked as the one of only 2 from now almost 760 artists if the family tree couldn´t be anonymous, because of her teaching position. None of the others in similar positions were complaining about this issue. But Z didn´t mind at all about the statements (if anonymous). So almost every single point of the compendium concept has its pro and contra people. Hope that I could explain it a bit more of my intentions. Andy.
„We should not appear into public without any regula-tion anymore“
The jeweller Z mailed to me a rejection email from somebody he invited to this project. I felt the need to comment on some, in my opinion, wrong statements. An interpretation of the concept of this book as: not in-novative with the comment: „because this is not a new and helpful one. I see unfortunately the same old story repeated like all other storys we did have already in the past. Friends invite Friends,“ but therefore simple and missing respon-sibility: „I believe this is too simple these days and I think its also irresponsible.“ My reply to Z.: Is it so hard to understand that in order to leave the Friends invite Friends-concept one has to find what comes after the end of the Friends-group? in the beginning of the compendium i was thinking about the NUMBER of artists that it should contain. Exactly like X, many (almost everybody in the jewellery scene) thinks it is too small, too much incest. As practically at every symposium, at every major group show, one sees the same works in the vitrines, same faces looking at them, same people writing about them. I asked how many respected AND expected people could maximum fit inside. The number was about 300. So the way to crack the tight wall around the jewellery scene is to go beyond the limits of this number. Only across the limit, new things, new ideas, new people can be discoverd. Staying at low numbers of Friend invites Friends is boring, not recognizing that going beyond the existing number of friends cause trouble but means renovation, is stupid and limited in thinking. Exactly 100% as I predicted, friends asked friends; the limit is reached so fast, that jewellers are reporting: everybody I asked are already participating OR refusing to take part. (as you are having the experience yourself now). This reflects the chosen and selfbuilt wall of limits. It seems that no more artists are „socalled good enough“ or „personal close enough“ to get in contact with. Exact this simpleness, as described by many, is kept alive by those critisizing it. The real responbility the artists have, if they are really disturbed by the limitations of the already existing world of jewellery, is to be curious about what is beyond the wall. The remark „ I did also ask myself if I would like to look at the work of more then 600 Artists. I guess, rather not.“ shows that there is absolute NO curiosity anymore, and NO hope to discover anything new. This view is announcing for me already a mental retirement, and will show very soon an artistical decline, in best case keeping up the already reached standard, But great new ideas are mostly not to be expected anymore with such a mind, don´t you agree? Every single artist pretend and present to be wanting deeds, but many don´t put action where their mouth is. If X would try to nominate some people himself he will, at this stadium, minus all his own friends already participating (like Y who asked him before you did) and those refusing, he will experience the wall I mentioned before. He probably does not realize he will look at this wall from the INSIDE, and not from the OUTSIDE, as most people think they are not locked up themselves, only the others are. A judgement, in my opinion somehow misunderstood, of my failing responsibilities was mentioned by X, although I really don´t have a clou how this intellectually came up in his mind?? After these and some other, in my opinion, quite confused statements, a obvious lack of interest from the publisher (me!) in content was attested. In addition, being unsuitable as a partner for the jewellers was also diagnosed. „Its the responsibility of a curator or a publisher to have an idea about what to show specificly in his project. A publisher who obviously show no interest in content is not a partner for us, I believe.
My reply to Z.: I want to show mainly the Minds, the Differentiation, The Vastness of styles, The limits of the Jewellery-Artist-View (already now clearer as ever!), the Egos (all sizes, mostly have lots of Ego, little Generousity). These issues are BEHIND the pieces of Works. So I do not agree that only the works should be shown, that would be insane to show only works of ca. 1000 people. But the personality behind the works, the motivation, the resignation, the drama, the process and visions. The most remarkable idea X had, as he insisted to jeweller Z, was that he had the opinion that the jewellers „should not appear into public without any regulation anymore, cause it is not a way to create any substantial public platform. This isn‘t only necessary in order to reach an appropriate qualitystandard, there is also a need to separate the different various syles in order to create an understandable image. (I mean the difference between a design orientated and a conceptual orientated piece for instance).“
My reply to Z.: This is absolutely hilarious!!!! I am now 46 years old, know many musicians, and artists, but this is the FIRST time that I encounter this remark in my life!. Even people working in a tiny post office would not think of such creativy-castrating ideas!! Is X from the DDR, from the socialistic time of East Germany? Rare to encounter a wish for regulation by others than oneself, especially for artists, who are supposed to be free thinkers. As you know or also not know I am also making a book about the greatest Living Contemporary Bow Makers. There are only about only 35 people in the whole world! A highly selective book and regulated as I am choosing every single one of them, and there are probably only 250 people people really interested in this theme at this level I am planning to do the publication. I am still doing this because I am interested in the contents of bowmaking and the personality behind it. X told jeweller Z also that he was looking for a concept with a strict, understandable statement. „Only that is helping us.“ My reply to Z.: I think he needs a different kind of help. Really! X also wrote to jeweller Z about seeing the urgent need of a new publicity and asked himself „why have we lost it. We should not repeat the same mistake. We should look up to find ways of real progress.“
My reply to Z.: I don´t see what has been lost. It was never there before. What is the repeating part of it? The first part of „friends inviting friends“ is already now almost finished. The stagnating shows that there aren´t actually that many friends. People who doen´t want to help to go beyound the friends-wall reveals themselves in my opinion as only familiar to the „friends inviting friends“ – formula. Only talking to be against it and demanding for the Great Controller and Decider isn´t very artisticlly or helpful either. Z commented about this to X stating that the jewellery world need a new public appearance. X answers that he is right to say that we need a new public appearance. It is more then necessary. X agrees and that is why X refuse this offer, cause this is not a new and helpful one.
My reply to Z.: The new public appearance for single jewellers I did already for Karl Fritsch and Lisa Walker, which are quite spread around in the art scene already, at least more than most of the other jewellery publications. Any 14 kilo book, collecting more the personalities than just only some works, (like the not very respected books like 500 brooches, 1000 rings etc.) in a physical appearance to be important and respected (in German: Wichtig=important comes from Gewicht=weight) will be taken notice of. It is just about the establishing of the position of Contemporary Jewellery. The complete jewellery artist scene has to be taken notice of as a position. But for X these visions are probably too complex to be recognized, he came already to this own imagination limits, so just leave him in his tiny world and think his own microscopic visions. If you look through the microscope, tiny stuff seems huge and important.
Some images made during the conception and preparation: