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This is a rubric in which we find jewellery interacting with the world around us. As the world around us provides us with anything from readymades, modernist painting, forensic science to unknown stories. It is a space — a 2d environment — inside this magazine dedicated to experiment, extensive questioning, and the range of possibilities that include jewellery in its many appearances. In a dialogue with the work and/or the maker, we look and try to find something we hope can tell us a little more about who we are and what we do. ‘Jewellery is what you make of it’.

Hidden | 2012 | single channel HD video | 3min 53sec | Black and White

A television screen is glowing intensely in the dark room. Approaching it, one would see a black and white video, tightly edited shots of human limbs in a constant struggle. The intensity of this struggle ranges from idleness, rest, caress, sudden alert, anxiety and panic. One would hear the sound of the rubbing skin, snapping nails, cracking joints very closely. At some point it would become evident that the cause of the struggle is an invisible object that binds the limbs together, holding them tight. What can it be?



Goeun Bae (1984, South Korea, visual artist) was looking into an ultimate symbol that can be precious, valuable and desirable on one hand as well as having the ability to represent control and power on the other. Intertwining two rings together she created an object that makes use of the history and symbolism of this piece of jewellery. An archetypal gold ring, a shape resembling the wedding band, immediately creates strong connotations in our minds.

Binds between people, promises to belong to someone, ultimate symbols of the relationships between human beings are all packed into Bae’s small, shiny object. The conjunction of two rings creates a shape that brings to mind a symbol of infinity. Whereas a symbol of a single ring – a complete circle – reminds us of an eternal bond and sense of belonging, the anamorphic joining of two rings connotes physical restraint. If gold in the case of a single ring stands for hope and justice what does it symbolize when it comes to the feeling of oppression?

A trivial process of putting on a ring is transformed into an instant limitation of freedom and movement – the body becomes oddly constrained. The black and white video depicts the power symbolized by the rings, which is invisible yet tangible. The absence of colour anonymizes the individual and places the viewer in a space of quiet contemplation.

The ring references external and invisible forces, framed by etiquette, education, family and society. Something apart from ourselves we have to deal with in our lives. Never a ring was put on a finger, captivated by a sudden need to break free.

Thumb and Toe, Rings by, Goeun Bae

This article was first published in the #1 Archetype Issue of Current Obsession Magazine, 2013. The issue is sold out


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