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Flora Vagi

Touching Silence

wood, paper

5–23/10 2019

“Choosing the right material is, like finding the right language to express your thoughts.

Since the first encounter, wood has been a source of physical attraction, inspiration and a ‘feeling of home’ for me. Wood continues to live and changes even after being processed and turned into an object. It took me a while to understand fully, what fascinated me so much about this material.

Trees are majestic creatures. Their root belongs to the earth and their crown to the sky, creating a magicalsymmetry between depth and hight. There is an encrypted memory in trees, as they are the most silent witnesses of history far beyond human existence.

While I make a piece in wood or paper, I like to imagine the past of the material. They all have a certain perfume, texture and temperature, which also becomes part of the work. I try to enhance what already lies within, but is not visible in a material. I consider jewellery pieces small sculptures, that no matter how tiny, can stand on their own, regardless of whether they are placed on a shelf, on the wall or in a vitrine. When they are worn on the body, another chapter of their story starts and they are no longer silent. They start to converse through a mediator.”

-Flora Vagi

Flora Vagi is living and working in Budapest. She has a MA degree in Goldsmithing, Silversmithing, Jewellery and Metalwork from Royal College of Art in London, as well as degrees from Florence, Italy and Taxco, Mexico and is working on her PhD in Sculpture at University of Pécs, Hungary. Flora has been taking part in a great number of exhibitions all around Europe and USA and is represented in various public collections, for instanceVictoria & Albert Museum, London, Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, USA, Coda Museum, Apeldoom, Netherlands, Grassi Museum, Leipzig, Germany, Marzee collection, Nijmegen, Netherlands. One of her pieces, the ”Aqua profonda”bracelet was selected for the European Prize for Applied Arts in 2018.

With support from:

 

Interview with Flóra Vági

 

Tell me about your background – your education – why jewelry, wood, paper?  

I am originally from Budapest, Hungary, but many people often connect me to Italy and the UK, as most of my studies in the contemporary jewellery field I have done abroad. I was trained as traditional goldsmith in Hungary, then spent a year in Mexico, to learn more about silver, Spanish language and mostly about myself and whether I really wanted to stick to this profession.

The final answer was yes, so after that I enrolled to Alchimia, a contemporary jewellery school in Florence. I actually came in contact with contemporary jewellery there for the first time. The time spent there and the two most important masters, Manfred Bischoff and Manuel Vilhena, had the biggest impact on my work later on. A whole new world has opened up for me.

Why jewellery? It is a question I actually still ask myself from time to time. I believe first of all, it is the scale. I’ve always liked working in small, but not tiny. I feel that I am creating sculptures, but they are more intimate that the sculptures you can put in a museum or a room.

Regarding the material, I can say I have tried really many different ones, but since I first cut, carved and sawed wood…., the smell, the sensation, the temperature, well just about everything felt right. I believe, that every visual artist has their own matching material, whether that is metal, clay or light. Working with wood for me is speaking one more language. The use of paper came from a similar attraction and it´s origin is wood.

 

What is the exhibition about? Where does the title come from?

The exhibition shows a wide range of my works. I try to make visible all the different facets of what wood and paper can become between my hands and through my vision. Surfaces, colours, structures.. all kind of transformations.

Trees have been there before us, there is a long-long history encrypted inside them. But there is no way they can tell us, what they have “seen”. They are silent. When I make a piece, I can touch part of that history and I can add another layer to it.

 

What kind of objects will you show in the exhibition? 

The objects are small sculptures. They derive from my jewellery pieces, but without the ‘restriction’ of functionality. And they have certain shapes, that claim a larger format.

 

Material? Tell me about the process.

I have always been attracted to natural materials. I also started working in stone, but I had to put that aside for a little while. I use many different processes, but thinking of it, I always have stared working in a bigger piece of material working by taking away, so carving a or cutting a piece out. And always make an abstract shape that somehow recalls a natural form, but never a concrete one. I try to always stay on a fine line between natural an man-made. I like when the viewers ask me, what is the material or whether I have found part of the jewellery piece somewhere in nature. This is a key element in my work. A kind of deception, to make the viewer take a closer look and time to contemplate.