Ramon Puig Cuyàs: Notes on a travelling experience
By Ana Campos, Head of Jewllery Department ESAD, Porto, Portugal.
Ramón Puig Cuyàs jewellery is an aesthetical hybridism. It is art, as well as it is craft. In saying so, I mean that this is a category of art that exists in the tension between both systems. Exploring both art and craft, he uses challenges a strategy, in both directions. This challenge is a way of playing without any interest then just playing. It is creative, reasoning and sensitive action. By doing so, he questions an historical problem. That is to say, the fine art system and its supposed historical power as intellectual means, and the craft side as supposed working and submitted side. In Ramon jewels, the art side is elected as poiesis– as creative site – linked with the process of raising symbolic senses for communication. The craft side, inseparable, contributes to be an inside of the poiesis. Both are used to express symbolic and metaphorical messages.
All symbols are relational. They are invisible links between people or between people and things. Jewellery has always been a symbolic means of communication, bringing people together. But primordial adornment, as well as traditional jewels, are codified ways of communication. They make visible common believes, rules, kinds of expected behaviours in each social arena.
Ramon contributes to reconfigured jewellery as means of communication, announcing a new humanism emancipated from rules. Like in art, in all its extensions, communication is not codified. It is free and interpretable. Following a democratic and horizontal politic, while creating he takes that supposed working area – the craft side – into the art field. Taking craft as an interpretive field, he introduces expression where only rules about making where expected to exist. Reasoning, feeling, working, interpretation are brought together into the creative field, in order to make visible a new extension of art. In this scenario the obvious does not take place. All is imperceptible at a first site. Because a symbol is and invisible connection between people, Ramon proposes also a reconfiguration of relational experiences, where interpretation takes a relevant place. In his jewels there are surprises to unveil, and new hermeneutical experiences of art are offered to the public for participation. This is why Ramon him self said to me in an earlier interview:
"Creation is an act between two people. From my side it ends up at the point at which I don’t transform it any more. But a creative act may start again, through the creative eye of the spectator, who may somehow recreate, continuing that creative act. Following this way, the creation ends up where I finish the piece, but will continue through the viewer look. There the viewer is playing, giving a different meaning to the piece."
This view underlines an open mind, but also faces a democratic and participant symbolic communication. To Ramon jewels are like incomplete until the viewer performs an art experience in order to complete his creative act, through interpretation. This is a principle of the hermeneutic tradition, which over time art has appropriated. Kinds of interpretation always depend on the kind of audience, their aesthetic and artistic education and involvement with the art world.
Ramón travelling experiences reflexive. It includes questioning and deals with all that involves creation of symbolic means and processes for symbolic communication. His culture works often as motivation, even when it is not so visible. He absorbed his own culture, reusing memories to make projects. Therefore he plays between past and present, in order to propose new futures. He inherited a composite culture, a network of contacts that were established centuries ago along the Mediterranean basin. In it numerous cases of hybrid situations can be quoted, like dialogues between modes of thinking and imagining, beliefs and religions and various other practical reasons, like food itself witness. Even today one can see much of this in the configuration of buildings and objects, showing ways of combining materials or construction and production techniques. All these hybridisms join his poiesis, like justifying his way of reasoning and feeling. Together come the blue sky and the sunny days turning the colours in friendly and warm ones. But not all is such a touristic stereotyped postcard. Ramon is addicted to sailing. He knows well the Mediterranean storms that in a sudden can change this idyllic picture. Friendly and dark colours alternate in his work.
This travelling experience is a transhumance through his own life, but also a way to question art and life itself. His lived realities are motivations driven into his work, into his creative process whish he considers to be like a metaphorical journey of discovery. Intuition and doubt, conscience and critic, accompany him on this trip of reflection. This is the process he chooses to create forms, and to design symbolic meanings and metaphorical messages that his jewels will contain. Symbolic meanings take his jewels far from being commodities. They take him closer to convert his jewels in a "necessary expression, unique, dense, concise, memorable", like all artists whish, as said by Italo Calvino.
Microcosm and macrocosm are related and relevant issues in Ramon work. Sometimes he singles them into is creative process. Transporting to the present wishes of his childhood, he recalls that once he wanted to be a biologist. Later, he wanted to be an astronomer. He never followed these childhood dreams, but he sometimes associates these ambitions in jewellery. Through fiction, he makes a macro world in a micro space full of meanings.
Ramon and Miró have connections in their work. Ramón considers that they developed a close perception because they are both Mediterranean. In my point of view it is not just this. It goes further, underlining a common working process. Together, these items offer a road to analyse Ramon’s work. As his work has cycles, he crosses this road by different reasons. This doesn’t have to do with any kind of quotation and less of mimesis. It is related with an entered and shared cultural view of the world, configuring a kind of perception, but mostly with a similar working process.
Although from the point of view of settings they are different, Ramon’s earlier jewels bring back memories of those graphic coloured lines of Miró paintings. Earlier he made it visible in anthropomorphic figures. Later these strong colours or the graphic lines remain in dual images, half a person, half an animal, or reminds of mythological Mediterranean creatures linked to sea animals he probably seesdaily. In Impressions of Atlantis there was a shared joy on working with metal, like with Miró in his sculptures. Therewas a kind of primordial artistic expression, which they both adopted.
After Ramon explored other themes: Reliquaries, Constellations and Archipelagos. All these jewels follow that dual dialectic language wish is also relevant in Ramon work. It maybe also related to hybridism, which enables Ramon to observe or criticize different aspects simultaneously, interconnecting opposites. Thus, he linked religious and pagan, sky and sea, day and night, sea stars and stars like stars. Together with this primordial artistic expression, he joins different materials and found fragments, having each one a meaning.In Cardinal Marks, seamarks join strong colours. In Walled Gardens colour joys stronger then the Mediterranean light itself. They are like a return to childhood to play spontaneously with graphic lines, colour and fragments of materials, or may be with life itself andwith freedom and pleasure for being alive. Because personal life always influences the artist work, later in Imago Mundi he goes back to the dualistic dialectic. Then he opposes and relates presence and absence, life and death, or at times void surface and full surface. Perhaps these pieces follow a dark Mediterranean storm.
Ramon started to use volume in Corpus Architectae. Because these brooches where made of cork oak, the material asked for three-dimensional shapes. There was again the remembrance of the Mediterranean see in the floating buoys include in these pieces where the colour and graphics gave a turn to whole white volumes. After, in the series Utopos the black and white, some times joined with red, came back in an expression that relies close to Imago Mundi. It is the subject that changes. The meaning one has now for interpretation is related to intriguing fragments of classic images representations of human hands and eyes, framed and transfixed by metal in free compositions.
Subtle Architectures is the most recent series. The will to explore volume came back, motivated by Corpus Architectae. Those where light and warm as cork oak suggests. The strong present ones are as light, but mostly they are subtle black wire constructions. When least expected, in these complex three-dimensional and geometrically like shapes, freedom of expression and need to play with the material is there. A close view will show it.
Above all, what one can notice in all of Ramon jewels – until the last one he made –is that between him and Miró there are several related ways of reasoning and feeling. This is underlined by a common way of surrender to the creative act, to dialogues with the matter. Their working process suggests spontaneous gestures while working, in creative acts that don’t have any previous studies, like in a process of reasoning with the hands. As global actor and representative artist, Ramon poiesis and his travelling working experience are impregnated by his identity. His work is reflexive, independent and free, showing a discourse that raises intense and emotional relationships and feelings of belonging to the Mediterranean world.