Among the spaces that offer events and exhibitions as part of the Rome Jewelry Week, an event that promotes and enhances contemporary, artist and author jewelery, is Alternatives Gallery, co-directed by Rita Marcangelo, designer and goldsmith but also curator of various exhibitions in the sector, co-founder of the AGC Associazione Gioiello Contemporaneo (of which she was president from 2004 to 2010) and who since 2012 has curated the works of the Cominelli Foundation Permanent Collection.
Her jewels have been exhibited in Italy, France, Germany, Norway, Spain, Denmark, Slovenia, Austria, UK, USA, Japan and China and are in private and public international collections such as Alice & Louis Koch Collections of Rings (CH) , the Bollmann collection (A), the Olnick-Spanu Collection (USA) and the Cominelli Foundation Permanent Collection (I).
Born in London in 1965, moved to Rome after graduation, Rita Marcangelo is an experimenter of forms, techniques and materials and, among these, there is the fabric that she uses in an original way to create jewelery-sculptures to wear.
“Nuvola” Ring Burnished silver, burnt silk, acrylics
How did you get the idea of experimenting with textiles to make contemporary jewelry?
I really like experimenting and wandering with materials considered unusual for jewelery. The discovery of the fabric dates back to a period around 2003, when I was looking for an element to be included in my creations, an ingredient that could give a materiality to my works. In reality, I came across fabric almost by chance, as I was testing a series of materials in search of the one that could give me the greatest degree of texture, of drama.The fabric gives ample possibilities for metamorphosis and this was certainly an interesting aspect of my research. Having the possibility through combustion to transform this material proved to be ideal for my purpose.
“Movimento” ring, burnished silver, burnt silk, acrylics
What was the first creation?
One of the first jewels with the fabric was a ring entitled “Cloud”, in burnished silver and burnt fabric to which I applied acrylic colors. It was a first experimentation with this material, in which I started from a piece of white silk, as if it were a canvas for a painter, going to paint it with burns and colors that overlapped, maintaining a delicate transparency, which gave lightness to suggest a cloud.
I must say that a first impulse and a great source of inspiration was the art of Alberto Burri with his works. I find myself very in tune with his work, even if I try to lighten its drama, thanks to the silk that allows me to maintain a delicate transparency.
Ring, burnished silver, burnt silk, acrylics
Is there a jewel among these that most represents you?
I would say that all my works with the use of fabric represent me a lot, in that with this material I was able to find the key to fully express what I wanted. It is a material that gives me ample opportunity for experimentation and therefore never tires me, even if after the fabric, in the meantime, I have switched to other materials such as plastic and papier-mâché.
I am currently experimenting with a melange of various components where I can also incorporate the fabric, so as to “invent” new materials capable of evolving my language.
“Party” ring, burnished silver, burnt silk, acrylics,
Permanent Collection Cominelli Foundation
How do you choose the materials?
I am mainly interested in those materials that can undergo such a transformation as to make them almost unrecognizable and some fabrics are more suitable for this purpose than others. They are the ones that with the heat can wrinkle, stiffen, agglomerate or wrinkle that more than others fascinate me
“Magma” ring, burnished silver, burnt silk, acrylics
What are the technical difficulties you faced in using textiles and what advantages over other materials?
Sometimes the fabric, the way I use it, can be unpredictable and this means that an initial idea can take a different path from the one I initially envisaged, reserving surprises for me. This can create a problem where there is the need to replicate a work, but it can instead represent a clear point of strength as each work is a world in itself, unique and unrepeatable.
This difficult control of the material makes my work always unexpected, unforeseen, full of surprises that continually opens up new ways to experiment