Anne Lewis took over R&J's Instagram page from 22nd to 28th February 2021.
DAY ONE: Monday 22nd February
Although I trained as a jeweller, my work has often diversified to also explore ideas through photography, film and installation. I have undertaken several collaborative photography and fashion video projects over the past decade; the images often undermine any sense of normality, and become very much about storytelling - amidst the chaos a feeling of beauty and stillness is created.
In recent years ‘Hold’, a collaborative photoshoot with photographer Dafydd Williams referenced the balance and duality of two opposing forces, while ‘Phobia’, a collaboration with artist & filmmaker Tim Stokes was concerned with the uncanny; a haunting, otherworldly scene; a return to darkness, an in-between state.
The claustrophobic space in this work is engulfing and crushing for its two occupants; the distance around them has collapsed to 50 and 30cm gaps - both are darkness and light, one unable to exist with the other. It suggests a boundary, or a prison - an interior room which is familiar yet strange, where the perception of reality is destabilized, turned upside down.
DAY TWO: Tuesday 23rd February
For the last two years, I have been invited to show work at “NUDA VITA: The practice of the collective and political body” at Munich Jewellery Week. The exhibitions are curated by Ilaria Ruggiero and explore the value and the role of the public, collective and political body, using the expression Nuda Vita, coined by Walter Benjamin, as a starting point. They present new collections from invited artists of different nationalities and in 2019 I produced the collection ‘stay’ exclusively for the exhibition which was held in ABC Westside Galerie
Again in 2020, I received funding from Wales Arts International and created the ‘Touch don’t Touch’ collection for Nuda Vita, again curated by Ilaria Ruggiero. The provocation was; ‘In our too fast-paced existence, fueled by technology, politics, the climate and the pressures of modern society, have we become distracted or disrupted from being human?’
Building on the idea of the corset being a tool of both constriction and manipulation I wanted to bring the work back to the idea of the naked body in close proximity to the object, be it the corset or the feather sculptures I create. Questions are frequently being asked about what it means to be human and how our humanity is changing, our connection or disconnection with nature and also with each other.
The 2020 event was sadly cancelled in real life but will be shown as an online series of events for Nuda Vita March 2021 during the virtual Munich Jewellery Week.
1-5: Touch don’t Touch
DAY THREE: Wednesday 24th February
The translation of the title of this project - Elle Se Montre - is literally ‘to show itself’. It is tied to the idea of the monstrous, in a state of becoming; or a state of emotion, the forms are a mutation of an alternative body and animal. These creatures are metamorphosing; they are alive and dead, artificial and real, familiar and strange. The monster shows itself as something that is not yet shown, that is not yet known.
The first image ‘Breathe’ was also shown as part of a exhibition at the National Waterfront Museum in 2017 by Foundation Art & Design Lecturers at Swansea College of Art as a response to the project Ephemeral Coast led by Celina Jeffery
Images: Feather body sculptures: moulted parrot, goose, magpie feathers, semi and precious stones and silver.
Photography: Dafydd Williams
Model: Roseanna Clarke
DAY FOUR: Thursday 25th February
This collection started out as my MA graduate collection in 2012 and grew from there. An exploration into darkness, a deadly aesthetic that fuses beauty and death, fashion and the uncanny, animal and human. The collection is inspired by the discovery of that which is beyond language, how there is magic and beauty to be found in death. How we are drawn in and repelled, fascinated and fearful all at the same time. The notion of veiling and distancing from the horrible through beauty and photography is central to the work, of decorating death or death as decoration.
Headpieces: Water jet cut leather, embossed leather, laser cut digitally printed silk, chain & feathers (goose, magpie, pigeon, crow)
Photography by Elliot Davies, Rebecca Morgan & Tim Stokes
DAY FIVE: Friday 26th February
Unspoken is a collection of one off pieces: mouth/face jewellery and object experiments, created using 3d software, 3d scanning and 3d printing in resin. It was created for my ‘Makers Using Technology’ residency with Design Wales at PDR, Cardiff, during the Summer of 2014. This body of work is about death and beauty, veiling and the uncanny, the unspoken, the unseen and was inspired by collections of taxidermy, crystals and bones from The National Museum of Wales in Cardiff.
Photography by Anna Lewis and stills by Michael Blackwood Barnes from ‘Anadlu’ video.
DAY SIX: Saturday 27th February
I created the work ‘Rise’ for a group show ‘Declaration of Sentiments’ organised by Copus Lab in 2020 Galerie Pont en Plas in Belgium. It brought together 17 women artists within the framework of gender based women’s struggle in the art world and I was one of these artists invited to show work in this exhibition, which was eventually presented online due to the pandemic.
The three key elements of the ‘Declaration of sentiments’ are ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’. For me this sits parallel with the three symbols represented by the purple, white and green ribbons of the Suffragette movement; that of loyalty, purity and hope.
Emmeline Pankhurst rose up to lead women to fight for the right to vote and beneath her genteel appearance lay a strong brave woman, in her own words a “hooligan”. It is down to the bravery of these women that in the UK women have a voice today.
Appearances can be deceptive, a feather is the most fragile and delicate of materials, yet allows a bird to fly; the ultimate symbol of freedom. Chains are the symbol of control and restriction yet it is through this restriction that women have taken back control, and chains turn into strength.
Photography with thanks to Laurentina Miksys
DAY SEVEN: Sunday 28th February
Cathexis is one word that summarizes a large part of what inspires and informs my work. Cathexis means an attachment or transfer of emotional energy and significance onto and into an object idea or person. This is central to much of my past research. Memory, memorial, superstitions, amulets and shrines are interconnecting themes that have inspired and informed my work be it jewellery or large-scale installation.
Cathexis was my first solo show and installation in 2006. I was invited by the Director of Mission Gallery, Jane Phillips, who was initiating a new challenge to craft makers and designers to consider working outside their usual practice and scale to create a site-specific installation. A painstaking piece of work taking months to make and 2 solid weeks to install, I approached the space as if I were dressing the body, just on a much larger scale and set of logistical challenges.
‘Cathexis’ consists of over 3000 suspended wooden birds embellished with pattern, which swarm en mass throughout the building. It has several layers of symbolic meaning, which include prayers and wishes, memories and memorial, superstitions and fragmented narratives. These symbolic associations underline a more personal theme of loss and fragility, as ‘Cathexis’ is also a delicate memorial to my Grandmother.
A full colour 60-page catalogue accompanied the exhibition, which documented my work and inspiration up to that point. It also included an essay written by my former tutor at Middlesex, Caroline Broadhead
To view a film of the Cathexis exhibition and my other films, please visit my website www.annalewisdesign.com
To purchase Limited Edition Digital Prints by Anna Lewis, please visit our online shop.
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