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The seductive jewellery work by Francine Oeyen from Argentina, inevitably invites to wonder about the relationship between jewellery and its materials, especially when her proposal involves waste materials, such as cardboard, with which the result achieved is attractive as well as controversial.


Jewels, as part of attire, have been linked to those dispensable elements that make us stand out and that on many occasions express their value through a significant use of materials or luxurious elements. However, Francine opted for jewellery with unusual materials, the result of processes of creation and contextual questions (using available materials, such as cardboard, plastic, metal, embroidery and sewing thread, etc.). This is why she uses "impoverished" materials, which do not have a high commercial value, thus transmuting the material to what she referred to as something that " almost sounds like alchemy”.

She begins her work as an artist, in which there is, on the one hand, a need to include in her paintings details made with metals, like silver, and, on the other hand, for her work to travel beyond the conditioned space, which translates initially, for example, in paintings on cloth in small format that, when posed on the body, also serve as pins or hair clips, travelling and accompanying the body. These artistic reflections lead her to her encounter with jewellery. In her shift to this craftsmanship she uses languages of art that appropriate a unique space in jewellery, which give authenticity to her work.

The choice of materials is also related to the Argentinian crisis, which occurred around 2001 and where collective projects were born, such as "Eloisa Cartonera", a publishing house that publishes covers made of cardboard, purchased from people called “cartoneros”, who collect this material for money in Latin America. This activity increased during this period due to the need of many Argentinians to somehow earn their livelihood. The “cartoneros” and "Arte Povera", art movement of the 60s that challenged art conventions by using waste, become referents in the work of Francine.


For Francine the use of colour varies depending on the set. In some pieces she uses bright colours, related to Latin American celebrations that occur, for example, in Peru and Mexico, and which use these materials to create piñatas and garlands or celebrations called diabladas in northern Argentina and also in Chile, which include processions of saints and virgins who are decorated with paper flowers and embroidered outfits that the artist also uses as a referent. She associates these pieces to the sort of embroidery done as an ancient and feminine way of beautifying fabrics, often highly elaborated. She uses them as referents in her work, for example, the simple needlework she adds to some of the cardboard columns in her jewellery, which inspire reflection, bringing art to jewellery

Francine chooses materials that, on the one hand, refer to the crisis faced by Argentina and the works that are born in her search for resurgence, as well as Latin American celebrations and “Art Povera”, amongst others. On the other hand, with languages of art, she takes these “impoverished” materials, to which she gives value through craftsmanship, to spaces that belong to jewellery, transforming their value. As an alchemist, she transmutes the materials with narratives that give them extraordinary power, and with this, opens questions about the material as the primary means of value in jewellery, achieving an authentic and striking result.

Puro Delirio

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