I warn you: it was going to be a farce, so it might be funny, but a little bit annoying too :)
We both still don't know if there is any sense to talk about it, because many words had been already spoken about Legnica , but this case does not give a peace... So let's start from the context:
We submitted our works to the 27th International Jewellery Competition ILLUSION in 2018. It was our first competition ever. We really wanted to see our works on the main exhibition of ILLUSION. It is the most prestigious competition like this in Poland. We spent a whole month to prepare works. We did our best to do something better than anything we've done before. And we did it! Two of our works were honored by qualifying for the main exhibition. This is supposedly a great honor.
We went to Legnica after the festival, because, during the culmination, we had to be on important trades. We saw the main exhibition and accompanying exhibitions after this event.
Let me rimind you, it was in 2018 - the theme of the competition was "ILLUSION".
Well... it looked... poor. Starting from some of awarded works - jury criticized low standard of this edition of competition, because artists focused on a „simple” optical illusion, instead of touching of political or social topics. But... grand prix was awarded to a work that cheated the senses (it was looking like heavy, but it was light, because it was made of a thin paper). So? Where was the point? In our opinion it was a leak of consequence. Or maybe an illusion which is cheating human senses (optical or illusion of weight) is not so bad, as jury told before. That was the first dissonance, we found. Moreover part of works on a main exhibition was simply off topic. This is this category of works, which, about which primary school teachers write a comment "interesting work, but not about the topic ;) A few of our works could be commented only with a question: „ok, but what is it? A few other works we also classified as „it could have been done better”. Let's say, that this first impression was due to our ignorance and lack of artistic refinement. We are amateurs like a „Barbarian in the garden” from Herbert essays.
But the second impression wasn't better: poor exposition of works - Holownia (an exhibition of works rejected from main exhibition) in an unlit room, where works were arranged in vertical showcases so that you have to crouch to the lowest ones. An impression of... carelessness on the main exhibition, which was located in a small room at the end of the art gallery. Walls of this room were covered with black, dingy felt. And the works were placed behind the scratched plexiglas. Damn it... after all, people come there especially for this jewelry, even not only from Poland, but also from distant countries... meanwhile, everything there looks so slapdash...
Final touch was a negligible flow of information - we asked, e.g. where and when the main exhibition would be presented during the year. Because we knew it was going to travel through the Poland and Europe and we wanted to put this information on our page and in social media. But we were not answered at all! There was also no such an information on the gallery page. About the fact that the exhibition was in our city – Poznań we learned 3 weeks after vernissage. There were only 6 Poles qualified to the main exhibition... and no one came up with the idea to check entry forms where they were from and invite us to vernissages. Oops!
Of course there were also a few really stunning works of art and great ideas. But we were left with the impression of general messiness and a lack of respect to artists and festival guests.
There was also something more. Something that made us nearly cry: terrible quality photos of our works in the catalog – it is suitable for the whole article: „how NOT TO PHOTOGRAPH jewellery – level master”. Pictures extremely overexposed, to achieve the effect of white background. Works were not cleaned before taking pictures, so there was not only a lot of dust at them visible on a pictures but a finger print of a photographer on one of works as well. Shame!
We watched accompanying exhibitions and unfortunately, many other works in catalogs have been harmed by mindless overexposing of photos. It is really sad, that in the place, where people want to meet an ART , so it is important how these items look, just one man can so easily destroy it.
By the way, I'll add, that the gallery received from us much better quality, realistic pictures of our works.
That was the annoying part. And now will be the funny part. I'll tell you about the influence of this „fuckup-story” to our work „IN POINT” which we made in 2019 for the competition SILVER:
Legnica sent quite late an e-mail with a theme of competition in 2019: SILVER.
That's it. Dot. Quiet.
(the usual comment on the subject came much later, but in the meantime our thoughts had already taken their own course).
Well, we thought: this was not a topic – everything can land here. Maybe even someone would use silver at work, as the organizers suggested, although its lack does not bother to get the award, or even a grand prix, so it really doesn't matter if work would be made of silver or not. Besides this silver is not a topic. Silver is a material and the festival is focused on silver for 40 years. Well, the topic obviously had been taken out of ass – it looked like someone proposed it ad hoc – and let the people worry... some "Deer shit with a bunch of wire"* would win anyway (*our definition of contemporary, conceptual, pseudo-artistic petechiae). Anna said: „they should push this topic in their ass, where it comes from"… and this is how the idea was born . Or maybe even excrete. The topic was out of ass, so the answer would be „IN POINT”.
We've melted down the worst, shitty material - filings after cutting and grinding and we made of it SUPPOSITORY, which was qualified to the main exhibition! It was suprising, because it was not a work FOR the competition. It was a work ABOUT the competition. Suppository should be placed on „Holownia” (exhibition of rejected works). It should arouse laugh/discussion/reflection about the competition level there. Legnica has long been a controversial contest. In our opinion, the collapse of several key issues was a lack of respect for artists and festival guests, who arrived there to see works of these artists. That is why we allowed ourselves to such insolence. We answered to the slap from 2018 with the „bullet” shot right in the middle of Legnica's ass.
What a bad luck – we were qualified to the main exhibition again - this was an insult by itself to other qualified artists and even more insulting to those, who were rejected despite the fact that they made much better works.
I will add, that we did not even receive any e-mail about qualifying the work for the main exhibition (we learned about this by accident when we talked with a friend, who is also a goldsmith).
Of course, there was a lot of laughter with this project (any associations are ok) ;) I've heard laugh and comment: „so shapely!” in The Assay Office despite the closed door. There is written on the test certificate „suppository”, but I am not quite sure if it shouln't be described as: „bobby pin”, „brooch” or... a plug.
Moreover, we were awarded with honorary mention of the director of Art Gallery in Legnica and we received a material prize – 0,25 kg of pure silver. Unbelievable!
I suspect the jury has appreciated „clean form”, „deep meaning”, "valuable human interior” or „colonoidal silver”.
But seriously, we wanted to show a level of this competition – below the belt. Projects requiring amazing craftsmanship, ingeniously devised, have no chance to compete with something made by left hand (or any else body part).
You can downplay the matter: it is just Legnica – it is normal for them – it is not a branch competition... but... we do not agree for this!
Works must be on the topic and have some sense. Unfortunately we noticed that even this (so praised!) concept is often lame there. And yet the concept is just the beginning of creation. Apart from an interesting idea, works should be thought out and well done. Jewelry is an applied art (!), so JEWELRY must be possible to wear! Complexes of jewelery makers, who feel worse when they not make „art for art”, would not change this fact. If an artist wants to make unwearable neckaces, because he prefer to create fine art, this is her or his choice. But please don't call it jewelry. We can call it „art inspired with jewelry”.
After all, we discovered that our work was really "IN POINT", because there was a "storm" in Legnica's Art Gallery - a new director came. It was not sure, if 2019 edition of festival would be held. And the topic "SILVER" was proposed ad hoc indeed! Because they were late with everything! 28th International Jewellery Competition SILVER was really prepared in a hurry. We are wondering what will bring 2020. If new director will bring this event back to life?
Because some of you asked about possibility to buy this work, I inform, that the original „IN POINT” is now „somewhere” with main exhibition. I don't know exactly where the exhibition is now. We can make a replica of „IN POINT” to order if anyone would like to have own silver suppository with interesting history :)