The Art of Jewellery, the Jewellery of Art. Joaquim Capdevila

“Jewels have existed since the beginning of mankind. I think they are pieces that we look forward to having in order to strengthen our personality. We don’t usually wear something we do not agree with. A dialogue needs to be established.”

Jewellery defines the one wearing it but also the creator. And in the case of Catalan artist Joaquim Capdevila, his designs are all about his passion for painting, his experiences, travels and personal thoughts.

“There are pieces, for example, fruit of the impression I took from a trip to Prague. I was surprised by the green and blue roofs of the domes. When I came back, I made a series of pieces that recalled the roofs of the Eastern cities” he says in an interview about this very exhibition. Other collections are critical reflections on the second millennium (like the one below) or visual interpretations of the tree of life.

Joaquim Capdevila is designing for 60 years now, and has become one of the key figures of the Nova joia movement in Catalonia – movement which renewed the idea of jewellery as means of artistic expression. His pieces are conceived as a unique, individual, personal – a product of emotions, sensations, of an experience or a memory, and often addressed to someone in particular. Hence the diversity of approaches, shapes and materials used.

Going far beyond the traditional concept of the bijouterie he uses, for instance, precious metals together with unconventional materials – plastic, fabric, stones, wood, rubber, but also gold and silver jointly with acrylic paint or Japanese lacquer, to provide them with great chromatic uniqueness.

He has experimented with every type of material and the uniqueness of his designs lies to a great extent in the application of colour to his pieces through painting, merging the two art forms in a single work, or creating hand-draw-like hatches on metal, or carved symbolical patterns in wood.

Capdevila family has been working with precious metals since the beginning of the 20th century. “My grandfather was a jeweler, my father, too, I am the third generation and my son, the fourth,” says Joaquim Capdevila in an interview for Núvol.

Joaquim Maria Capdevila i Gaya (Barcelona, ​​1944) studied Fine Arts at the Massana School in Barcelona and completed his training at the Lacambra studio in Paris. He is one of the leading names in contemporary jewelry in Catalonia and his work is collected in museums around the world.

He has also collaborated in the design and realization of a large number of distinctions, like the Creu de Sant Jordi, the Gold Medal of the Generalitat of Catalunya, the Serra d’Or Prize, the Prize of the Institute of Catalan Letters, or the Gold Medal of the Gran Teatre del Liceu (received by Josep Carreras or Montserrat Caballé, among many others).

Barcelona’s Design Museum runs, until November 17, 2019, this retrospective exhibition dedicated to Joaquim Capdevila, on the 60th anniversary of his career. The exhibition coincides with Enjoia’t, curated by the AFAD. The entrance is free.

For someone passionate about design and art, the Design Museum of Barcelona, with its many events and temporary exhibitions, is one of the best places in the city to get immersed into the wonders of Catalan art. It’s one of the places I go often to, and that’s how I discovered this innovative artist I knew nothing about, before.

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