— June 23, 2012 —
Unique documentation of men's and women's fashion collections
Jewellery by Delfina Delettrez The exclusive world of high jewellery is one that often operates behind closed doors, or at least rather heavy glass windows. It's a universe where designers and artisans play with dreams – sculpting the precious stones and metals of the earth into visual delicacies restricted only by their own imaginations. When one thinks jewels, one thinks exotic birds and flowers dripping with diamond dew – feminine, delicate creations destined to grace the throats, wrists and fingers of the world's elite. Baubles for billionaires. Delfina Delettrez, for one, is out to change all that. Bones, bugs and all.
The young Italian jewellery designer revealed her first monographic exhibition entitled Delfinarium in Florence this week, offering a comprehensive showcase of her Anatomik, My World, Roll-In-Stones, Love is in The Hair and Metalphysic collections from 2009-12. Delettrez truly represents her own brand of jewellery magic, with a vision embedded in the notions of surrealism and anatomy, closely entwined with an appreciation of Italy's artistic and cultural mythologies. The creations that stem from such an ideology are truly marvellous, in every aspect from their precise artistry to the fusion of rare and commonplace materials to their awe-inspiring colors, weight and size.
"Delettrez truly represents her own brand of jewellery magic, with a vision embedded in the notions of surrealism and anatomy, closely entwined with an appreciation of Italy's artistic and cultural mythologies"
Situated through the four rooms of the Galleria Antonella Villanova, the exhibition opens with an intangible introduction to the designer's work – a short film called Delfinasia by the arthouse director Asia Argento. The following chambers are a veritable cave of wonders, starting with a still-life scene of the designer's harlequin puppet mannequins and column plinths holding skeletal slave bracelets encrusted with yellow diamonds and chunky collars heavy with ironic/iconic Italian Renaissance charms. Another installation is preluded by the slow whirring of a motor – it's source a slowly-revolving factory conveyor belt laden with gilded face masks and Delettrez's Tourbillon bracelets and rings – reminiscent of Galileo's solar systems. Further on, Love is in the Hair materialises as three faceless wigged heads – curled and coiffed to rival Marie Antoinette, with eerie hands of hair protruding from the masses of black plaits and golden curls. Each is adorned with a studded choker dangling a resin heart, referencing memento mori – one even holds a lock of her daughter's ginger hair. Another is pierced by a border of golden arrows.
Elsewhere abstract catchphrases are stenciled onto the gallery walls and accompanied by hanging works (a sculpted silver slug with ruby eyes trails across the words "SLOW EMOTION"). The gallery's courtyard holds a living, breathing installation – exotic frogs and swarming bees co-existing inside glass orbs with the enamel brooches and honeycomb necklaces that they inspire.
Delfinarium runs until September 2012 at Galleria Antonella Villanova, Palazzo Ricasoli, Piazza Carlo Goldoni 2, Florence.
Text by Dan Thawley