Paul Derrez’s Satisfaction Energy Challenge and Rainbow Chains – Artwork Jewellery Discussion board

Paul Derrez, Rainbow Chain
Paul Derrez, Rainbow Chain, 2021, acrylic, photograph: Rob Bohle

At present, demonstrations to make a public assertion about any social, political or environmental difficulty usually grow to be flamboyant occasions. Crowds flock the streets. They costume up for the event sporting garments, hats, flags, and handwritten protest indicators that specific their grievance, beliefs, or goals.

Since texts seem like extra highly effective than indicators, political buttons have grow to be out of date. Who wants a small signal on the physique when an enormous textual content, or all your attire, generally is a signal of your intentions?

Badges from the collection of Paul Derrez and Willem Hoogstede
Buttons from the gathering of Paul Derrez and Willem Hoogstede, photograph courtesy of Paul Derrez

Political buttons had been very fashionable from the Sixties to the Eighties. They had been one of many final utterances of a as soon as well-understood perform of knickknack: to be an indication not solely of energy but in addition a state of being, or of belonging to a sure neighborhood. In 1978, Paul Derrez organized an exhibition about political buttons in his contemporary, new Gallery RA. Along with some buddies of the gallery, Adri Hattink (1947–1998, a Dutch jewellery artist and sculptor) and Julia Manheim (a well known British jeweler within the 1970 and 80s), Derrez began to actively acquire political buttons. He even revealed commercials to ask individuals for his or her assist and enter in organizing this exhibition. The gallery had a machine with which individuals might make their very own buttons. The Dutch jewellery scene was relatively caught in formalism at the moment. By emphasizing the social and political that means of buttons as jewelry-like gadgets worn on the physique, Derrez hoped his actions would stimulate jewellery makers to widen their practices.

Buttons from the collection of Paul Derrez and Willem Hoogstede
Buttons from the gathering of Paul Derrez and Willem Hoogstede, photograph courtesy of Paul Derrez

The social that means and performance of knickknack nonetheless exists, after all. It’s expressed most clearly within the wedding ceremony ring, for instance. However jewellery’s perform of constructing an announcement that goes past magnificence, wealth, or style has grow to be much less apparent right this moment.

For Derrez, the social that means or social relevance of knickknack has at all times performed a job in his life and work. This may increasingly maybe not be current in each bit of knickknack he creates, however continues to be a recurrent theme.

Paul Derrez, Condom Monstrance
Paul Derrez, Condom Monstrance, 2005, silver, Perspex, photograph: Tom Haartsen

Simply take into consideration his Capsule Roulette brooches (2003). They touch upon the extreme use of drugs and get together medicine. The triumphant silver and acrylic CondomMonstrance (2005) is a remonstrance in opposition to the Catholic Church’s contraception coverage and ban on the usage of condoms. (The Museum Het Catherijneconvent in Utrecht, a museum for spiritual artwork, acquired the monstrance.)

From 1995 to 1996 Derrez designed varied jewellery items as a cry from the center about shedding so many buddies to AIDS within the interval 1983–1996. The Bleeding Coronary heart and Cry-Cry pendants (1996 and 1995), and the memorial chain Love Hurts—Dare to Love (1996), with 24 fluorescent pink acrylic hearts inscribed with the names of buddies of Paul and his husband, Willem Hoogstede, who died of AIDS, are examples of this. (Love Hurts—Dare to Love just lately turned a part of the Rijksmuseum Assortment.)

In 1994, Derrez acquired a request to design males’s jewellery for a style present in Amsterdam. That yr and the following, he delved into actual man’s stuff present in homosexual subcultures and intercourse retailers. The ensuing Dangerous Enterprise assortment expressed his self-awareness as a homosexual man. The aluminum, rubber, and acrylic pendants introduced a spread of variations on the phallus. They had been a mix of grownup toys, crosses, and faces. A part of this assortment of males’s jewellery was a collection of brightly coloured acrylic knuckle-duster rings adorned with constructive slogans equivalent to Dare to Love and Ring My Bell. Derrez had come out in 1969, however this assortment introduced his arrival as a homosexual jewellery designer.

Paul Derrez, In Gods Name
Paul Derrez, In Gods Identify, 2003, dagger, aluminum, photograph: Tom Haartsen

A 3-sided aluminum dagger, In Gods Identify (2003), confirmed his rejection of faith. Either side of the dagger is engraved with an emblem of the three main world religions. It gave him nice pleasure to search out out later that the great, well-groomed girl who purchased the dagger from his gallery used it in her counselling periods with shoppers to open up the dialog. “That is precisely what I like,” says Derrez, “that my work results in dialogue.”

Paul Derrez
Paul Derrez, photograph: MisjaB

Liesbeth den Besten: Paul, inform me the place the Satisfaction Energy challenge comes from, and what precisely it entails.

Paul Derrez: I’ve at all times been personally serious about subcultures, road kinds, dressing up, and drag queens. Willem and I wish to go to bars with drag performances. So sooner or later we determined that we wished to prepare an exhibition about drag. We introduced a proposal to the CODA Museum. It was accepted. Even higher, the museum added a curator to the exhibition, Roosmarij Deenik. The three of us, Willem, Roosmarij, and I, did the analysis. We had been an ideal workforce. Roosmarij was essential as a researcher.

We did plenty of fieldwork and plenty of interviews with drag queens, fascinated by their personalities and tales. It resulted within the exhibition Drag Energy—Gender, Satisfaction & Glamour (on the CODA Museum November 2019–March 2020), which included the historical past of drag. The exhibition was organized round 5 totally different characters, 4 drag queens and one drag king. The story of their lives was captured in intensive interviews on movies. You possibly can say that it confirmed the facility of resistance, which you want while you need to change issues. The title Drag Energy was essential. This exhibition was not about marveling at unusual sorts, however relatively about positioning them as life-style champions. The phrase energy turned out to be essential.

Marinus and Harold
Marinus and Harold, photograph: MisjaB

I had already been engaged on an acrylic rainbow chain for about 5 years. It was fairly a challenge, not straightforward. Like I at all times do, I began by making the design by hand. I made a number of nevertheless it was plenty of work, particularly the sharpening. And it was too costly. I contemplate these first handmade chains as prototypes. After you’ve made three, it then turns into one other factor. The benefit of working this manner is that you just get new insights—technically, materially, and when it comes to design and calculation—whereas making. Two new chain designs had been added to the preliminary design.

Lisa, photograph: MisjaB

I wished to make an version of Rainbow Chains for the 25th anniversary of Amsterdam Satisfaction, in 2021. It wanted to be a constructive assertion for individuals to point out who they’re, and to point out your solidarity with the battle in opposition to homophobia. The concern of, and aggression in opposition to, gays is rising everywhere in the world, even within the Netherlands. I couldn’t have imagined this in 1969. As soon as I knew precisely what I wished, I went to the Perspex firm I usually work with. I wished to make use of extra colours than within the handmade chains however was afraid that 25 can be too sophisticated. No downside, the colours had been out there. And the corporate might simply translate my working drawing into a pc program. Based mostly on the quantity of fabric the corporate has, I can produce about 10 chains of every of the three fashions.

Praphan, photograph: MisjaB

Twenty-five colours are way more than the quantity within the rainbow banner. In 1978, the American activist Gilbert Baker designed the primary rainbow flag in eight colours. Since then, colours have been eliminated or added. Every colour has a symbolic that means. And the rainbow image is turning into extra advanced and debatable. I took the freedom of utilizing many extra colours as a result of I see the rainbow as a part of an emancipatory course of. For me, these 25 colours specific the concept that gender and identification are in flux, that there are a lot of transitions and variations between individuals. So, 25 colours additionally serves as an emblem.

Merel, photograph: MisjaB

Why did you select the hyperlink chain?

Roy, photograph: MisjaB

Paul Derrez: A series is a bit of knickknack historically worn by women and men equally. A effective chain (with a pendant) is an object typically acknowledged as an object of affection. I believe it’s nice that by sporting one thing you can also make a social, cultural, and political assertion. In fact, that is additionally doable with wood or plastic beads. However the hyperlink is itself an emblem for connection … though I’m conscious {that a} chain can even imply the other: oppression, deprivation of liberty, slavery.

Axe, photograph: MisjaB

By making one thing extra lovely, you raise it. It then goes past being a mere image. The Rainbow Chain is wearable and ornamental on the one hand, and an announcement of solidarity and respect for the LGBTQIA2S neighborhood on the opposite. Via its colorfulness it expresses pleasure and delight. It’s a constructive assertion that appeals to many individuals, and is critical in these occasions. I’ve simply returned from the Grassi Messe, a good in Leipzig, the place I had a sales space. I had a wonderful encounter with a mom who purchased a series, with enthusiastic encouragement from her two daughters. Earlier I acquired an order for 2 Rainbow Chains from a lady in New Zealand. She purchased it for her daughter and her girlfriend, who’re about to get married.

Loraine and Jay
Loraine and Jay, photograph: MisjaB

You additionally produced a publication, illustrated with many lovely portraits of individuals—homosexual and straight, younger and previous, black and white—photographed within the streets of Amsterdam, Haarlem, and Zandvoort. Why did you publish it?

Paul Derrez: I’ve at all times favored tasks with a sure theme, doing analysis, inviting artists to take part, making an exhibition and a publication. Over time I’ve made eight publications, however they had been all gallery- and art-related. Anyway, I just like the format, and I’ve a beautiful workforce. Nel Punt does the graphic design. Roelien Plaatsman interprets. MisjaB takes the images.

Bob, photograph: MisjaB

For Satisfaction Energy, I wished to make an informative and readable publication concerning the battle of gays to be themselves, traditionally and right this moment. This publication isn’t about modern jewellery or artwork jewellery. It seeks a wider viewers. I’m glad it’s now normally bookstores, the place individuals can discover it and purchase it with a particular purpose for somebody.

Melchior, photograph: MisjaB

Some individuals will know I’ve photographed my jewellery worn by individuals on the road earlier than. The primary challenge, referred to as Avenue Scenes, was made for my publication Paul Derrez, Cool Creator (1997). On this event, photographer Ton Werkhoven and I requested passersby to put on a bit of my jewellery. In hindsight I believe at the moment I used individuals as some kind of pedestal. There was hardly a connection between the particular person and the jewellery s/he was sporting.

Asahi, photograph: MisjaB

The Satisfaction Energy challenge was completely totally different. I collaborated with photographer MisjaB, with whom I’ve labored earlier than in a really nice means. Avenue pictures is her specialty. As a type of check we began by asking individuals in a well-recognized atmosphere—on the Grimburgwal, in Amsterdam—whether or not they wish to put on a rainbow chain for a photograph. All of the reactions had been constructive. Immediately, it was clear that folks understood what it was about. That is about connection, and you may see the delight linked with rainbow activism on the faces of the individuals within the images.

Manon, photograph: MisjaB

Then we took images this summer season at Satisfaction on the Seaside, in Zandvoort, and Satisfaction Stroll, in Amsterdam. The individuals who participated weren’t solely homosexual individuals. Much more individuals participated. They cherished it! It is a challenge about solidarity. Thank God, that is doable within the Netherlands, the place there’s plenty of help.

Isabella and Chewe
Isabella and Chewe, photograph: MisjaB

Individuals radiate delight and enjoyable, that’s what actually struck me. Tamaz, a Georgian activist from Tblisi, and one of many individuals behind Tblisi Satisfaction, was within the Netherlands due to Satisfaction. Within the photograph he appears to be like relaxed and comfy in his lengthy Rainbow Chain. However his state of affairs in Georgia is the other. In his nation, homosexual individuals are outlawed and undergo tremendously underneath state-sanctioned violence.

Tamaz, photograph: MisjaB

In fact, you gained’t change the world with Rainbow Chains, however generally you simply gotta do issues.

Learn extra concerning the historical past of worldwide homosexual activism in Rainbow Chains. That publication and Satisfaction Energy are on the market by way of The Pool (Amsterdam), Galerie Biro (Munich), and Paul Derrez ( The books are additionally out there by way of Chrome Yellow Books.

All proceeds for the Satisfaction Energy Challenge will go to COC Netherlands. Since 1946, COC has advocated for the rights of lesbian ladies, homosexual males, bisexuals, and transgender individuals. COC has a particular consultative standing with the United Nations.

The CODA Museum acquired all three fashions of the Rainbow Chain; the Grassi Museum, in Leipzig, Germany, acquired the medium-size Rainbow Chain.

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