Chain gang: jeweller Veronika Fabian’s Swatch Artwork Prize links

Chain gang: jeweller Veronika Fabian’s Swatch Artwork Prize links

‘Veronika Fabian brings a sense of narrative to something figurative,’ says Swatch creative director Carlo Giordanetti, of the Central Saint Martin’s BA jewellery student shortlisted for the 2018 Swatch Artwork award. The Hungary-born former banker’s ‘Female Labyrinth’ sculpture – a 3D chainmail tableau representing the stages in a woman’s lifetime – formed part of this week’s ITS 2018. The Trieste-based talent competition for international graduates in fashion, jewellery and accessory design, represents what Giordanetti hails as a ‘a panoramic view of creativity’.

For her final-year graduate project, Fabian worked solely with chains, creating jewellery that evokes different guises of femininity. Take the necklace inspired by a conservative pearl style, but with the individual pearls substituted with coils of chainmail soldered together, left unpolished for that milky finish. Or a bold necklace, constructed from widths of soldered horizontal chain and painted with rebellious tattoo-like details; the lengths then oxidised, leaving an imprint of the image behind. Fabian’s chain transformations – soldered, linked or layered like textiles – make for symbols of elegance and wealth or the tattooed heart-and-anchor markings of a Fifties beauty queen.

‘The single chain transforms into different patterns inspired by life events,’ says the designer of her ITS and Swatch Artwork entry, a freestanding sculpture which represents a map of female maturation. Intricate, silver chain lace suspended in the air, is her visual interpretation of childhood, the outline of a hand holding two oversized links, a marker of marriage, while four dangling orbs of coiled brass and silver chainmail, are imagined as symbols of motherhood.

‘There’s a real sense of irony and drama in Fabian’s work’, says Giordanetti. ‘When we are selecting our finalists the criteria is based on more than a graphic signature like colour. It’s also about craftsmanship, or an aesthetic feeling.’ The storytelling labyrinth is also a symbol of the former financier’s own journey, a tableau of the transformative power of creativity.

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