‘Yin+-Yin’ – Suzy Solidor

Last year, when I was on vacation in Yang Shuo, China with my partner Barry, I was asked if I was interested in taking part in the ‘Mirror Mirror‘ exhibition in Cagnes-sur-Mer, France. I was thrilled to read about the exhibition outlines, which turned around the life of Suzy Solidor, a French, homosexual nightclub-owner and singer, who got famous in Paris in the 1930’s. It was a great holiday surprise!

I had six months time to come up with a concept and making the piece. I was very thankful about the freedom in taking time, since it allowed me to conduct a lot of research and to play with multiple ideas, although I have to admit that I reach my true potential, when I am working under time-pressure. I am a true last-minute worker!

Researching Suzy was very exciting and sometimes full of surprises. I cought myself thinking that this woman really lived her life in full and that she did not leave any opportunity unanswered or open. I could feel a little jealousy creeping up from now and then, questioning the corners in which I could push myself further and explore. But then, I always consider the price and consequences my environment and I would have to pay and my desires readjust. I got the impression that consideration and respect was not necessarily always Suzy’s strength. In my opinion, she was a split character, living the highs but at the same time fighting with her own devils.

Here is my artist statement about ‘Yin+-Yin’:

Suzy & Suzy (‘Yin+-Yin’)

 

Suzy Solidor created a lot of myths, some during her lifetime, some after her passing.

 

‘Yin+-Yin’ is about the Suzy Solidor of my imagination.

A woman who seemed to know exactly what she wanted.

A sparkling and sexy super- woman on one side, self-centered, self-serving and spot-light addicted on the other.

 

The word ‘Yin+-Yin’ derives from the Chinese Yin and Yang, female and male. To every part belongs a counterpart. In Suzy’s case, being a celebrated lesbian, her counterpart must therefore also be female.

This results in two Yins: One positive Yin and one negative Yin.

 

‘Yin+-Yin’ is made from several elements. Suzy’s portrait, Suzy’s legendary heart brooch (pierced from two sides), the double-sexed zucchini flower, the crab and the uterus as the bearing spine of the piece, carrying a light in each ovary. The lights can be switched on, one at a time, putting the focus on either the Yin+ or -Yin side of Suzy. Each element stands for one of Suzy’s characteristics, where seeing them as a whole creates the completed image of Suzy.

 

‘Yin+-Yin’ is, just like its person of inspiration, a very versatile piece. It is meant to be worn on the belly, the center of femininity, but it can also be worn as a brooch or neckpiece.

Here is the piece, worn as a belt. I wanted to find a display for the piece that underlines femininity in every aspect and I decided to have it worn on the belly, around the area of the uterus.

This is the jewel worn as a neckpiece. The chain can be taken off entirely and the piece can also be worn as a brooch.

The ‘Mirror Mirror‘ Exhibition will be on display until September 23rd at Espace Solidor in Cagnes-sur-Mer and will then travel to Velvet Da Vinci Gallery in San Francisco in October.

Here is the list of the participating artists and some pictures of the show at Espace Solidor.
Unfortunately, in most cases, I don’t know which artist made which piece. So, if you happen to know who made which object, please let me know and I will tag it!

Emmanuel Lacoste – ‘La Vie Parisienne’

Maisie Broadhead – ‘Ssssssssuzy’

I hope you like ‘Yin+-Yin’ and that you can make it to the exhibition in either France or the USA. If you do, please write me a line and send me a pic! I would very much appreciate it!
See you there!

PS: Yang Shuo in the rain.

Thank you for reading.
Please have a look at my websites www.lisa-juen.com and www.proonk.com.
Feel free to follow me on Twitter @LisaJuenProonK and like the FB ProonK page.

‘Dating Medal’ for ‘Con Decorados’

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to make a piece for an exhibition in Valencia, Spain called ‘Con-Decorados’. The exhibition will be part of a row of shows accompanying the second opening of the ‘Schmuck‘ show from Munich in Valencia. It will be held at the ‘Museo Nacional de Ceramica y de las Artes Suntuarias Gonzalez Marti‘, as part of the celebrations of the 10th anniversary of the Jewellery Department at the ‘Escola d’Art i Superior de Disseny de València’ EASD. To mark this anniversary, the school has organised a programme of activities, exhibitions and talks on contemporary jewellery and called the event  ‘MELTING POINT 2012’. ‘Con-Decorados’ will open on the 5th of May at 6pm. To visit the blog accompanying the activities, click here.

The topic of ‘Con-Decorados’ turns around the subject of medals. 23 artists were asked to work with and around the idea of interpreting and creating a medal.

The artists who will participate in this exhibition are:

Peter Bauhuis
Mirei Takeuchi
Sung-Ho Cho
Volker Atrops
Jorge Manilla
Christine Graf
Lisa Juen
Alexander Friedrich
Tabea Reulecke
Rodrigo Acosta
Marie Pendaries
Carlos Pastor
Kepa Karmona
Sarah O´Hana
Kerstin Östberg
Elvira H.Mateu
Edu Tarín
Ramón Puig
Silvia Walz
Grego Garcia
Mauricio Lavayén
Gemma Draper
Mariona Piris
My idea for my medal came from personal experience. I wanted to create a medal that is a witness of our time, a medal that can be worn and used for a purpose of today.
Until I met my partner, I was a single woman in Shanghai for a very long time and I had to learn the hard way that dating can be really hard work that should be awarded a medal! So… here it is, the ‘Dating Medal’.
…and a short explanation:

Modern society does not make it easy to meet one’s ‘better half’. The Internet, Hollywood and the fast pace of a steadily growing throw-away-culture heightens the bars of expectation when it comes to choosing the right partner.

How can one meet this person without having to bend over backwards?

Dating in the mentioned conditions can be really hard work, especially for girls. The ‘Dating Medal’ is to be a helping device for women dating but is also act as a dating award.

The brooch holds two LED screens: one in green and one in red.

The screens are connected to an ON/ON switch, which enables the wearer to decide which of the two screens is going to light up.

In the case of the lady meeting an individual of interest, the green screen can be lit reading:

 ‘Did the sun come out or did you just smile at me?’ 

The sentence can act as an ‘ice-breaker’ leading into a conversation. In the case of the initial chat being a success, the gentleman can take the lady’s contact details written on small paper-strips hanging from the series of brooch-hooks. If he would like to leave his details, he can choose to take one of the plain paper-strips and write down his contact information with the attached pencil. By hanging the written strip back on the hook ‘rewards’ the girl with the possibility of a future date.

In the case of the lady not feeling attracted to an approaching individual, the red screen can be lit reading:

 ‘Save your breath.’

In this case, a lot of drama and heartbreak can be prevented right from the start.

Not just my dating experience was a little rocky but the way of making the brooch was pretty painful too. Just when I was about to finish the brooch, a piece of the bearing broke off. Since the metal part is entirely cut and bent from one piece of stainless steel sheet, I had to remake the entire brooch.

Here are some pictures I took along the way that show the process of making.

Polishing. Even after almost 10 years of making professional jewellery, the contrast of dirty hands and shiny metal still amazes me! It feels great looking like a pig but holding this precious little something in one’s hands!

Before bending.

Wiring.

I hope you like the ‘Dating Medal’ and the journey of its making. If you should be in Valencia around the 5th of May, please feel free to join the exhibition opening. The show will be on until the end of June.

If you can find a chance to go, please take a picture of the piece and send it to me! I would love to see it on display! Enjoy the show!