Hedi Slimane has unveiled the second piece in the Celine artist jewel project, a reinterpretation of the work of American sculptor Louise Nevelson (1899 – 1988). The project, launched last year with the ‘César Compression’ Celine jewellery piece, based on the work of César Baldaccini, again takes sculpture as its starting point in a modern rethinking of wearable art forms.

Nevelson, who is celebrated for her wall pieces that unite separate elements in a fluid wave of wood, also created around 200 jewellery pieces, which now reside in private and public collections, including one at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Now, Celine has brought back to life one of these miniature wearable sculptures in a signed and numbered limited edition of 50.

Celine jewellery honours ‘one audacious artist’

Gold rippled necklace, Celine jewellery inspired by Louise Nevelson

The artist’s granddaughter Maria Nevelson finds it a powerful experience to see pieces that Louise originally created for her personal use now being enjoyed by a new generation. ‘It feels really, really, good to know men and women can now wear one of my grandmother’s creations,’ she says. ‘Some of this is about history and her legacy – one audacious artist. I am used to seeing her jewellery in museum cases, so to see a pendant brought to life and out [on someone] walking and breathing is putting Louise Nevelson out and about. Bless the wearer!’

The black wooden piece set in metal nods to the undulating forms of the sculptor’s larger works in an intertwining of her original, diverse inspirations, from Cubism’s strong silhouettes to primitive art’s emphasis on artistic licence, as well as the offbeat forms of the Surrealists.

‘My grandmother saw how she dressed as an extension of her artwork, assemblage,’ Maria adds. ‘Almost every photograph of my grandmother shows her wearing jewellery, a necklace, rings. Her entire life she had fun with jewellery. The open-mindedness of the 1960s was perfect for my grandmother to feel uninhibited and make jewellery that suited her style of dressing. Many of us enjoy wearing a special little something or a lot of somethings, I am thinking of the very cool Iris Apfel here. Some pieces are attached to memories, like birthdays and weddings or historical events in our lives. Some come to us carrying the energy of the former wearer and it makes us feel stronger, connected. Others simply just make us feel good. And as my grandmother would say to me, “Why not?”’

Black and gold necklace, Celine jewellery inspired by Louise Nevelson

The jewellery, seen here on a chunky chain, is a natural progression from the sculptures. ‘It’s all from the same creative energy,’ Maria agrees. ‘Her necklaces, earrings, rings, and bracelets were imbued with her crystalised energy, sort of like a talisman or an amulet. Owning and wearing one brings you into the “Nevelson World of Atmospheric Dressing”.’

For Slimane, it is an opportunity to translate his admiration of 20th-century artists into miniature artworks that become entwined with the identity of the wearer. ‘Hedi Slimane selected a powerful piece and made it just a bit smaller, so the scale is just right for us to wear with most clothes,’ says Maria. ‘I think my grandmother would be energised to see others coming up with their own assemblage of clothes and pulling it all together with her jewellery. And choosing to wear this pendant indicates you are undoubtedly in touch with your intuition. Now, will it be the gold one or the silver?’ §