Venyx translates Man Ray’s sensual symbols into surrealist jewellery

Venyx pays tribute to artist Man Ray with a new surrealist jewellery collection

nude woman wearing Venyx x Man Ray jewellery
(Image credit: Venyx)

Man Ray’s influence endures, with his offbeat silhouettes and surreal references inspiring designers throughout the world and his work still honoured in exhibitions (see the recent show of Man Ray sculptures in New York). Eugenie Niarchos, founder and creative director of jewellery brand Venyx, is the latest designer to fall under his spell, creating a collection centred around the artist’s sensual and surrealist symbols.

Venxy X Man Ray jewellery

Venyx x Man Ray jewellery in form of woman's torso in sculptural hand

(Image credit: Venyx)

‘Man Ray is the ultimate multimedia artist,’ says Niarchos. ‘I was given the choice to work with three of his works and I decided to use a sculpture, a painting, and a photograph in order to tackle his discipline as much as possible. Surrealism transpires throughout his work, and I tried to make new and interesting jewellery forms while using ancient models as well. All three works have something to do with the human body: lips, eyes and the female torso. It was interesting for me to come up with designs that well represent his work, and at the same time look attractive on the wearer. There is a dreamlike and poetic aspect to all of the pieces.’

Nine limited editions draw from works The Lovers (1936), Glass Tears (1932) and The Venus Restored (1936), casting Man Ray’s distinctive design codes into jewelled motifs in enamel, rock crystal, mother-of-pearl and pavéd diamonds.

nude woman holding necklace in form of torso

(Image credit: Venyx)

‘Some of the technical aspects, especially in creating the Glass Tears pieces, were quite challenging as they required complex manufacturing skills,’ Niarchos adds. ‘Glass Tears is originally a photograph of a crying eye, so I liked the challenge of having to translate that into something that you wear. I used cut-out mother-of-pearl combined with enamel and diamonds to recreate an eye and give the flat surface a feeling of depth. The plaque format for the necklaces in Glass Tears and Observatory Time is a Venyx staple. I love to use inlaid stones in my work, which you can see in the collection as well as mini enamel paintings. I also love creating collar necklaces; we have created two showpieces in this collection that rest on the clavicle elegantly. While designing, I had in mind to create pieces that would be appealing to men too. The Venus restored pendants are a great example of this.’

For Niarchos, the uniting of the feminine with the cultural made the collaboration an appealing one. ‘I have always loved surrealism and Man Ray has always been one of my favourite artists due to his versatility and creativity. I’m celebrating ten years of my brand and I wanted to do a collection that represents what Venyx is about today and will be a stepping stone for the future of the brand. It was just natural.’

nude woman wearing necklace

(Image credit: Venyx)

Hannah Silver is the Art, Culture, Watches & Jewellery Editor of Wallpaper*. Since joining in 2019, she has overseen offbeat design trends and in-depth profiles, and written extensively across the worlds of culture and luxury. She enjoys meeting artists and designers, viewing exhibitions and conducting interviews on her frequent travels.