I was invited by Dr Nicole Jacquard to participate in the exhibition she's curating in the USA, "I Do. ... Do I?". It's an exhibition about relationships.
Dr Jacquard says of the exhibition that, "As relationships start, evolve and in some cases end, the individuals change along with them. Using the premise of the wedding band, the traditional symbol of commitment, participating artists are asked to create a ring describe their feelings on relationships...From the beginning to the end, as well as the middle, the exhibition seeks to highlight the individual’s experiences at various points in their personal lives. And as time passes and ideas about people and relationships change, these wearable objects can also serve as reminders for poignant people and specific times in one’s life."
This is an interesting concept to explore for contemporary jewellers. We usually make rings for the "I Do" success stories, and I'm pretty sure most of us would often be unaware how that "I Do" turns out in the end. I like to think it's happy ever after, however these days that's often not the case for many couples. My particular response to this project brief titled Who Knows, I Don't says it all at this point in my life.
Quite simply, I don't know if "I Do" exists or not in it's beautiful, meaningful intention. I shocked myself recently, when I realised that part of me believes in the Western fairytale - the romance, the commitment, the "for richer or poorer" - I'm a hopeless romantic. I guess I always have been. However life is complicated, and even when you think the "I Do" is in the bag, life twists you in another direction by throwing you a curve ball. They're such simple words and yet they can polarise people and send couples down a strange, unknown and sometimes dark path.
Who Knows, I Don't is the umbrella title for this small installation of concept rings that have come to symbolise what I think, at this point, about the concept of "I Do, Do I?".
The silver are titled "I Do, Do I?" and are on the one hand optomistic and full of promise, then comes the question "Do I?", interrupting the certainty with a seed of doubt.
The grey are titled "I Should, Should I?". They start by implying that to say "I do", is something out of obligation rather than love. The question then "Should I?" becomes quite loaded, with potentially painful consequences. Not exactly a great start.
The black rings are titled "I Wont, Wont I?". To me, these exist in a space where the "I Do" should never happen, and where I imagine the internal conversation going along the lines of "I wont... wont I? No - I just can't." All over before it's started.
So, quite simply, I came full circle thinking about this project and found myself thinking "Who knows, I don't".