My agenda

19 December 2018

“Un miroir d’obsidienne” at the Pierre-Alain Challier gallery

Gallery owner Pierre-Alain Challier asked 13 artists to create mirrors and jewelry using a little-known black stone: Armenian obsidian.

 

 

“Obsidian elevated man to the state of human: when we speak of the Stone Age in the East, we are talking about obsidian, not flint,” explains Pierre-Alain Challier. The ultra-black stone was used to make the pupils of the funeral mask of Tutankhamun‘s eyes or the mirrors with which the dead were buried. Then it disappeared…” The Soviet bloc prevented imports from Armenia,” continues Michel der Agobian, a specialist in the obsidian extracted from Mount Ararat. “It was used to make souvenirs for tourists.”

 

Variations on black

Jean-Luc Parant and Jean-Michel Othoniel created a raw block of obsidian with polished edges. Parant shaped it into figures evoking archaeology and then mounted it on a string. Othoniel then suspended it on a necklace made of glass beads, his favourite material, helping us to see the similarity of the shards. Mattia Bonetti cut perfectly round pearls from a block and then set them in transparent resin. Anne and Patrick Poirier imagined geometric architectural shapes assembled as in a construction set, in a huge necklace.

 

Arik Levy, crazy about obsidian

Arik Levy is the inspired artist who created the largest number of pieces. The black cubes encrusted with rings and the obsidian rock equipped with a chain and handcuffs are conceptual. He questions the desire to possess ever bigger stones, to the point that they become unwearable and turn us into slaves. Arik Levy finally explores the specificity  of Armenian obsidian: a transparent material with black veins reminiscent of wood, positioning them both horizontally and vertically, across each other.

 

Drawing on the work of goldsmiths, sculptors, designers, architects and plastic artists, Michel der Agobian and Pierre Alain-Challier have propelled obsidian into modernity.

 

“Miroirs d’obsidienne, Miroirs et bijoux d’artistes” until 12 January 2019

 

Banner image: Arik Levy – Sculpture-jewel “Hold me tight” (detail)

Most popular articles

The "Birds in Paradise": an enchanting digression

In “Birds in Paradise”, the École des Arts Joailliers is presenting 97 brooches featuring feathered creatures, including two remarkable groups by Gustave...

Tempting jewelry at the Christie’s Paris sale

269 lots are for sale at Christie’s Paris on June 13. René Boivin, Jean Després, Cartier, Mauboussin: here are some of the most tempting treasures.

6 reasons to go to GemGenève

In a single event, GemGenève established itself as a key date for those in the jewelry trade and the public alike.

The Jewels of Tutankhamun

The exhibition “Tutankhamun – The Pharaoh’s Treasure” presents 150 pieces, including 20 necklaces, bracelets, rings and earrings, discovered on the mummy. A...

My visit to Shalom Bronstein

In New York, I visited Shalom Bronstein, a dealer in precious stones and antique jewelry, who will be exhibiting from May 9 to 12 at GemGenève.

Helena Rubinstein: jewelry as beauty treatment

Helena Rubinstein loved jewels from her childhood. Flamboyant and exuberant, they were the signature pieces of this stout little woman of 1.47 meters tall....