The poetry and elegance of Van Cleef & Arpels’ creations will be on display at Beijing’s Today Art Museum from April 21 to August 5, 2018. First presented in 2012 at Paris’ Musée des Arts Décoratifs, this exhibition is traveling for the first time to take up residence in China for several months. Enriched with new acquisitions, it is made up of over 360 creations from the Van Cleef & Arpels Collection and from private collections. Displayed chronologically, these carefully selected High Jewelry pieces reflect the evolution of the Van Cleef & Arpels style.
The history of the Maison is studded with technical inventions, passed down from generation to generation by the Mains d’Or – its virtuoso master craftsmen. This exceptional savoir-faire – combined with a rich imagination and varied sources of inspiration – underpins an astonishing outpouring of creativity.
The exhibition is presented in a dreamlike setting designed by the Jouin Manku agency.
A Dreamlike Setting
For the exhibition Van Cleef & Arpels, When Elegance Meets Art at the Today Art Museum in Beijing, Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manku have created a decor that evokes the world of dreams.
Presented for the first time in 2012 at Paris’ Musée des Arts Décoratifs, the exhibition is today revealed in a dreamlike setting, inspired by misty landscapes traced in China ink. Tinged with mystery, this presentation plunges the visitor into the heart of the Maison’s distinctive universe, with a selection of over 360 creations displayed in chronological order.
Like a journey in time, the visit begins with the discovery of jewelry pieces dating from between 1910 and 1930. In the “Small Gallery”, jewels and precious objects are presented in a gentle atmosphere of gray and celadon green tones. The gaze is then drawn to the plays of shadow and light of the second space (the “Medium Gallery”), which showcases the creations of 1940 to 2016 in display cases of different kinds. Encrusted into the wall or on legs, traditional display cases enable the pieces to be admired close up, while transparent “picture rail” displays – specially designed for this exhibition – seem to melt into the scenery. Like near-invisible boxes, they fade into the background to make way for the jewels in all their majesty. Guided by changing colors – from emerald green to deep violet – visitors make their way through the different periods, styles, and inspirations associated with Van Cleef & Arpels before arriving at the “Large Gallery” entitled for the occasion “the Poetic World of Van Cleef & Arpels”. The high point of the exhibition, it looks down over the other spaces like a nocturnal mist, progressively revealing the selection’s key pieces. From room to room, wall panels and curtains in colored cotton thread provide structure and rhythm to an exhibition spread out over 900 square meters. The space of the Today Art Museum has been transformed by Jouin Manku’s decor, which reveals the beauty and details of the pieces while immersing visitors in a meditative dreamscape.
Films and digital tools
To accompany the exhibition, a range of digital and audiovisual tools are available for visitors:
– an audioguide application can be accessed via Van Cleef & Arpels’ WeChat account, to discover the story behind some of the emblematic jewelry pieces and stay up to date with news about the event;
– a virtual tour of the workshops can be viewed on touchscreens placed around the exhibition rooms;
– several films supplement the exhibition
As a complement to the exhibition, Van Cleef & Arpels offers a program of demonstrations to let visitors discover the exceptional savoir-faire of the Mains d’Or, the virtuoso craftsmen of the Maison’s workshops. In the Medium Gallery from April 21 to May 3, and from June 20 to 28, a jeweler and a gem setter will perform the exacting techniques required to produce High Jewelry creations. Museum-goers will see a variety of procedures, including the work of gold structures, the positioning of stones and Mystery Set technique.
To ensure the museum fulfills its role as a place of learning and wonder, the Paris Musée des Arts Décoratifs – MAD – organizes workshops especially crafted for younger visitors. In collaboration with the Today Art Museum and Van Cleef & Arpels, these children’s workshops are designed by the MAD Educational Department, operating for the first time on an itinerant basis. Two dual-workshop sessions will be held every Saturday and Sunday, dedicated to children aged 4 to 6 and 7 to 10 respectively, along with their families. Following a one-hour visit intended specifically for these budding art lovers, participants can wield their creative talents in a playful and educational environment. The youngest visitors make their own piece of floral jewelry during the workshop, while 7- to 10-year-olds create a piece inspired by the world of couture.
This article appeared on p16-17 of beijingkids June 2018 issue
This post is paid for by Van Cleef & Arpels