fbpx The Fuzzy, the Fake, the Double – Trouble in Ornament — PCA

The Fuzzy, the Fake, the Double - Trouble in Ornament

Image credit: (gauche / left) Suska Mackert, Juwelenboek Madame Tussaud (Jewelrybook Madame Tussaud), détail, 1998 ; (droite / right) Elton John on his way into Mr Chows in Beverly Hills, February 21, 2013, photo: David Tonnessen / PacificCoastNews.com

In collaboration with La garantie, association pour le bijou, PCA is organizing a one-day seminar on October 13 which will focus on the perception of jewelry and intends to question how ornaments are all the more interesting when they are “seen badly”.

Project coordinator: Benjamin Lignel
Programming: Brune Boyer, Benjamin Lignel, and Caroline Volcovici

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The event, held in both French and English, is planned in conjunction with the symposium organized the day before at the Museum of Modern Art of the City of Paris (October 12, Matisse room, 10 am – 5:30 pm) and receives the support of the association D’un bijou à l’Autre. This event is part of the Parcours Bijoux 2017.

In the occasion of the Parcours du Bijou 2017, La garantie proposes to follow up on the three seminars it has previously organized around jewelry, to focus this time on the way we perceive the adorned body.

This symposium is part of a contemporary reflection on “the thickness of the superficial”. The speakers’ working hypothesis is that ornamentation participates not only in artistic games, but also in multiple ideological and identity issues. Therefore, they wish to question the axiom that states that the ornament is necessarily ostentatious, that it always makes a show of itself in order to focus and educate the onlooker’s gaze.

They will start from the assumption that jewelry accompanies strategies of occultation: it blinds, muddies its own tracks, feigns, and can be the mark of marginal or marginalized communities. These dodging strategies strangely echo some censorship techniques; together they delimit a singular rhetorical space of self-disclosure / refutation.

Fourteen speakers from different nationalities will discuss these imperfect visions, and the objects and accoutrements that generate them. They seek out ornamentation where it intersects with questions of the fuzzy, the fake, the “unseen”, and the not visible. Some of these themes are under discussion in visual studies, the history of law, philosophy and anthropology: this encounter reasserts la garantie’s resolutely interdisciplinary outlook. The seminar will conclude with a critical discussion of the thematic and scenographic choices governing the exhibition Medusa, Bijoux et Tabous (Museum of Modern Art), with the three people who designed it.

About La garantie, association pour le bijou

Founded in 2007, the purpose of this association is to promote jewelry outside its primary audience of specialists. They aim to increase its visibility and encourage confrontations with amateurs and specialists alike, to reflect on and compare the different ‘types’ of jewelry; from the traditional to the post-disciplinary, through various approaches: historical contextualisation, the confrontation of current practices, the promotion and critical analysis of contemporary trends. The diverse backgrounds of the association’s founding members – two makers, two PhDs, one curator – reflects their continued ambition to establish a self-sufficient cultural ‘task force’ able to collaborate with both institutional and private partners. Learn more

Selected Projects

  • Les Verticales (2015, 2016): a cycle of conferences and discussions in partnership with Résidences gallery and Paris College of Art
  • Bijou(x), Les pratiques contemporaines à l’épreuve de leur discours (2014): a one-day international seminar in partnership with Paris College of Art
  • Zimmerhof, The public and private lives of jewelry (2012): A four-day international seminar on contemporary jewelry also known as jewellery (2009-11). A traveling exhibition of French contemporary jewelers shown in London (UK), Rome (IT), San Francisco (USA), Munich (DE), Idar-Oberstein (DE), Falkenberg (SW), and Paris (FR).
  • Journée d’étude (2008): A seminar on jewelry held by PhD students from the École normale supérieur, with support from l’École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), the Centre Maurice Halbwachs (CMH) and Centre de Recherches sur les Arts et le Langage (CRAL).


09:30 – 10:00 am
Welcome and introduction
10:00 – 11:30 am
Panel discussion "Arresting the gaze: sartorial stories of dissidence and marginality" (In French and English) with:
  • Laure Carbonnel (anthropologist)
  • Massimiliano Mocchia di Coggiola (art and fashion historian)
  • Philippe Liotard (Sociologist)
11:45 am – 12:45 pm
"Material strategies for passing; subversive, conformist and strategic approaches" with Paul Brocart and Ariane Temkine (Queer and feminist theorists) (In French)
12:45 – 1:30 pm
Lunch Break
1:45 – 2:30 pm
“That Dangerous Luxury” with Alena Alexandrova (philosopher and culture theorist) (In English )
2:45 – 3:30 pm
"Jewelry, visibility and censorship. On jewelry as normative device" with Frédéric F. Martin (In French)
3:45 – 4:30 pm
"On Brice Dellsperger’s Body Double" with Marie Canet (art historian) (In French)
4:30 – 5:00 pm
5:00 - 6:30 pm
Panel discussion "Looking back at the exhibition Medusa, Jewelry and Taboos" (In French and English) with:
  • Anne Dressen (curator)
  • Michèle Heuzé (jewellery historian)
  • Benjamin Lignel (artist)

They will be taking questions from:
  • Aurélie Chatenet-Calyste (historienne)
  • Frédéric F. Martin (historian of law)
  • Namita Wiggers (curator)