Not long ago I talked about one of the jewelry artists that inspires me, Montserrat Duran Muntadas. As this year she became a finalist of the Prix François-Houdé, on January 14th she gave an artist talk at La Guilde which is organizing four informal conferences in the space of the exhibition of the Award. It was a talk about her creations, her life and inspirations.
The first thing that strikes when you meet Montserrat is how organic, colorful and sincere is her personality. The art that she creats (which, aside from jewelry, includes art objects and installations), conveys the same energy, it is simply the continuation of herself. Nothing is invented artificially, she talks only about topics that touch her, that are familiar to her from her own life – family, relations, maternity and woman, immigration and others. She believes that by talking honestly about your own personal experiences you create links with other people.
This is the piece with which Montserrat entered the short list of the Award: “Mes belles histoires de foetus”, 2016. A huge extraterrestrial necklace, a beautiful marriage of fabrique and glass.
Montserrat told us stories about her studies, about how she started to work with the glass five years ago during her artistic residency in Scotland, about the way she processes it and about many inspirations from her native country Spain and her new home Canada. She made us laugh and cry. I want to tell you one of her stories. It is not about jewelry but you will like it.
Her grandfother and grandmother met many years ago, before the Civil War in Spain – they both were only around 15 years old. Grandfather proposed to her grandmother but since he was expected to do the 3-year military service, her grandmother was not sure to accept it – what can change in the head of an 18-year-old during 3 years?! So he promised to write her letters EVERY DAY. Long story short, Montserrat carefully keeps more than 1000 of beautiful letters, full of love, coming from another century but as if written yesterday. These letters later inspired one of her projects – all of them were copied and sticked on the walls and celling of a gallery, a recorded voice was reading them aloud, and every visitor could write a letter of love and appreciation to Montserrat herself, with the media of the new century, of course – a laptop was installed for this purpose.
Images from the site of Montserrat
The meeting with Montserrat was not only full with the colorful inspirations, it also brought some artistic and life insights.
“Often artists produce the same things because they use the same generic instruments. To create something new you may need to create new instruments first”.
I left the event happy and inspired and I’m looking forward to see Montserrat again.