Manon van Kouswijk

MAKING FACES - A Jewellery Playbook is a project by Manon van Kouswijk that consists of 65 necklaces in porcelain and plastic, and an artist publication in which their multiple appearances are revealed.

From a beaded object that looks like a face to an abstract ornament that frames the face, Making Faces asks the question: Am I wearing you or are you wearing me?

The publication is designed as a manual, both a how-to guide and an invitation to the audience to create their own faces and other forms with the necklaces.

Manon’s working methodology is based on exploring and translating the archetypal forms and motifs of jewellery, and of other types of objects that we attach a similar personal value to, through a range of diverse materials and processes. Her approach to jewellery practice is multidisciplinary: an integral aspect is the framing and contextualising of works through the making of exhibitions and artist publications often in collaboration with other practitioners.

Traces of Manon’s making process are often visible in her work. The imperfection of the handmade, present in marks of fingerprints and moulds, is an integral part of the objects.

While originating from a conceptual approach to making, at the same time Manon’s works embrace the sensual qualities of jewellery objects in the use of colour, their weight, sound, rhythm and material expression.

"My working methodology is based on exploring and translating the archetypal forms and motifs of jewellery, and of other types of objects that we attach a similar personal value to, through a range of diverse materials and processes.

"I like to think that it's possible to reinvent jewellery, despite the fact that its archetypal forms and motifs haven't fundamentally changed throughout its long history. I view these archetypes as templates that I use for my translations of the jewellery types I work from (for example the beaded necklace).

"My approach to jewellery practice is multidisciplinary: an integral aspect of my practice is the framing and contextualising of my work through the making of exhibitions and artist publications often in collaboration with other practitioners."

Manon van Kouswijk is a Dutch artist and contemporary jeweller who, since 2010, has lived and worked in Melbourne, Australia. She studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam where was Head of the Jewellery department before relocating to Australia in 2010.

Her work is exhibited in galleries and museums and is part of private and public collections worldwide including: National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; ABN-AMRO Art Collection, The Netherlands; Røsska Museet, Gøteborg, Sweden; FNAC, Paris; Musée des Arts Decoratifs, Marseille and Victoria and Albert Museum, London.



Image: Manon van Kouswijk, Making Faces - a jewellery playbook, 2018, 1 porcelain necklace, Image from the artist book, Photo: Fred Kroh.