L'invité

12 January 2017

Puyuan Yang, Chinese designer

Don’t consider going out on the town wearing Puyuan Yang’s jewelry, as her pieces have more to do with works of art than jewels.

 

My appointment with this 25-year-old from Hong Kong and graduate of Saint Martins School, takes place in the studio of one of her friends, just west of Hong Kong. To reach the 15th floor of a block of buildings housing a labyrinth of warehouses, one must first confront the deafening clatter of metal trolleys and clanging lifts. In the concourse, the color flats and neon-lit Chinese ideograms would bring tears to Martin Parr’s eyes.

 

The idea

Puyuan Yang’s brass creations are not just jewelry; they are more akin to conceptual art pieces that one would expect to find in the most hip of galleries. These metal structures constraint the body and force it to take on postures of such mythical figures as the Discobolus, Botticelli’s Three Graces, Michelangelo’s David or his God the Creator in the Sistine Chapel. The resulting effects are classical gestures and baroque contortions.

 

Production

To reproduce these poses, she’s developed a system of arcuate rods to slip under the clothes and to which are fixed hooks, the same ones that hold up works of art in museums. The head turns to the side and in an unfolding movement the arm is stretched out and the index finger projected towards the other arm taking on a similar pose. By looking at them, one can guess which works they refer to.

 

A neo-rupture

“My jewelry pieces are not ornaments. They are made to transform the body into a museum or contemporary art gallery object,” says Puyuan Yang. Born of a desire for experimentation, curiosity and even game-playing, their role is to question the notion of ideal beauty and the function of jewel. Unwearable, they are the heirs of pieces from 1960s by artists like Gijs Bakker. They also treat the overkill produce by those too-often seen pieces like ear cuffs, phalanx rings, double rings or hand bracelets set with diamonds, which brands infinity duplicate by the hundreds.

Most popular articles

With Elizabeth de Chambrun at Dublin's Chester Beatty Library

Designer Elizabeth de Chambrun asked me to go with her to the Chester Beatty Library to explore one of her sources of inspiration: Mughal miniatures.  

Henri Vever, the Art nouveau jeweler

Though the name of Henri Vever was eclipsed by René Lalique’s, this Paris jeweler played a key role in Art nouveau.

Olivier Segura, Director of the French Gemmology Laboratory

An expert view on what makes a diamant valuable and the current state of the market.

Esther de Beaucé’s miniMASTERPIECE gallery

In 2012, Esther de Beaucé opened a gallery exclusively devoted to the publishing of contemporary artists’ jewelry. The next exhibition of the Musée des...

Vhernier: Carlo Traglio and his aesthete’s jewelry

Carlo Traglio, owner of the Italian house, creates unique and powerful pieces that bear the imprint of his culture as a collector.

Delphine Nardin, impressions and sea glass

A trained archaeologist, the designer creates jewelry from elements bearing the imprint of time.