John Hardy Kicks off Art Basel With Teresita Fernández
By Jeanine Celeste Pang
Early birds to the Miami Art Basel scene gathered on the New World Symphony rooftop last night to fete the artist of the hour, the city’s own Teresita Fernandez (above), and her recent collaboration with jewelry house John Hardy. An unlikely pair, to be sure, what with design team at John Hardy known for their artisanal craftsmanship and innovative use of silver, and Fernandez for her conceptual large-scale work, a riff off landscapes and natural phenomena. But when John Hardy sought out an artist to inaugurate their Artist Residency Program in Ubud, Bali, Fernandez—fresh off her new appointment as the White House Cultural Advisor—proved a serendipitous choice.
Over flutes of cold champagne (the ubiquitous party favor of Art Basel), the artist spoke of her inspirational time at the residency last August. “There is an amazing culture of making things in Bali. You are just bombarded with incredible, visually rich images,” she said. “The place runs on a lunar calendar, and it puts you in touch with a primal sensibility. The project evolved and helped me see silver as a conceptual, universal material.”
Her latest works, in fact, are all inspired by the poetic love affair between silver and the moon, including Silver Screen/30 Dissolves (chemically etched photographs of the waxing and waning of the moon in Bali), which was unveiled last night. “The fusion between two completely different approaches to creativity was so fantastic,” said Guy Bedarida, head designer for John Hardy. “Teresita saw the possibility of creating the moon within the hammering of the artisans, which is the mark of a real artist.” Just in time for Hong Kong’s Basel show in 2012: a one-off collection of black palm wood and recycled silver jewelry co-designed by Fernandez and Bedarida.