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REPOSSI / ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE, ACT II, AN ARTISTIC COLLABORATION INSPIRED BY ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE'S VINTAGE JEWELRY


© Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Licensed by Artestar, New York


© Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Licensed by Artestar, New York

Repossi continues its artistic dialogue unveiling a jewelry tribute collection in collaboration with the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation inspired by the artist's works with a high jewelry approach.

Following the Repossi / Robert Mapplethorpe Act I launch in 2021, Repossi presents Act II with eleven new pieces in Spring of 2022.  The tribute collection is the result of three years of research and development by Gaia Repossi.

“The Mapplethorpe Foundation invited me to create jewelry influenced by the jewelry pieces Robert Mapplethorpe made with beads and found objects early in his career. I was able to access his entire archive of jewelry and jewelry materials at the Getty Research Institute. This collection is a tribute to his genius aesthetic and the beautiful items he assembled.” - Gaia Repossi, Creative Director REPOSSI

Gaia Repossi's relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe’s work began ten years ago when she acquired the work Puerto Rico, 1981 by Robert Mapplethorpe, which still hangs in her design studio and marks the beginning of her art collection. From then on, Mapplethorpe's photographs regularly illustrated the House's visual communication. When the Foundation approached Gaia to reinterpret this little-known part of the American photographer's work, she accepted on one condition: to be able to offer a High Jewelry reinterpretation, incorporating all the know-how and technical expertise of the Repossi workshops.

Robert Mapplethorpe wearing jewlery by Mapplethorpe seated with American Flag, 1971
Photo by Valerie Santagto

Promotional image of Mapplethrope jewelry spilling out of a doctor's bag, 1971
Photo by Valrie Santagto

 REPOSSI / ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE

For this collection, Gaia Repossi was inspired by more than 150 of the artist's references kept in the archives of the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation in New York. These are mainly necklaces made of "bits of nothing" as Robert Mapplethorpe liked to call them: shells, pearls, crab claws, nails, dice, engine parts, among others, that he assembled between 1965 and 1968 in New York. Patti Smith, his muse and companion at the time, was among the first to wear his creations.

This research led Gaia to take an interest in other elements of the photographer's work as well: his drawings, collages and three-dimensional works. For the Repossi / Robert Mapplethorpe collection, Repossi preserved the style and aesthetic that are characteristic of Mapplethorpe’s work, what Gaia calls "lateral symmetry": the accumulation and balance of volumes, as well as the play of contrasts.

In 2022, the second phase of the collection is launched with eleven pieces divided into six themes, whose names refer directly to the key element of each design, which are also major themes in the work of Robert Mapplethorpe: Dagger, Black x Cross, Bullseye, Relic, Chain, and Americana Eagle. The affiliation between Act I and Act II is particularly visible for the Relic theme, which incorporates many elements of the Relic necklace from Act I, Chains, which incorporates chains from the Chain necklace from Act I and Americana Eagle, which features an American symbol like the Americana flag ring from Act I.


© Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Licensed by Artestar, New York 

© Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Licensed by Artestar, New York

 

THE COLLECTION

 

DAGGER

The abstract version of the nail is very sharp and evokes by its shape a dagger, an object that Robert Mapplethorpe liked to stage in his photographs. Gaia Repossi has reworked the original nail according to her own codes: abstraction, asymmetry, play of empty & full, stacking.

Ring in white gold, engraved "REPOSSI/ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE"

Ring in white gold, engraved "REPOSSI/ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE"
Triple ring in white gold, engraved "REPOSSI/ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE"
Triple ring in black gold, engraved "REPOSSI/ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE

BLACK CROSS

The cross is a reference to Robert Mapplethorpe's jewelry and early works. This design is directly inspired by a unique work, incorporating a frame designed by Robert Mapplethorpe himself, who gave a lot of thought to the framing of his photographs as an integral part of his work. Mapplethorpe had named this artwork "Black X cross", so Gaia Repossi took this name as a tribute. As a nod to this inspiration, the pattern also forms a precious frame around the lacquer thanks to the gold threads. The way the gold threads knot the cross, as well as their black color, also echo the underground BDSM culture very present in the work of Robert Mapplethorpe. The pendant can be worn on both sides: the plain gold surface echoes traditional crosses, while the burgundy lacquer reminds us of Robert Mapplethorpe's challenging side.

 
Pendant in pink gold, burgundy lacquer with black ruthenium treatment engraved "REPOSSI/ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE"

Pendant in pink gold, burgundy lacquer with black ruthenium treatment engraved "REPOSSI/ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE"

BULLSEYE

For year two, Gaia Repossi further interprets the intimacy of the artwork of Robert Mapplethorpe. Indeed, his works featuring male homosexuals redefined photography, providing the framework for a sexual revolution.  His art proved that homosexual eroticism and love could also be great art and classic. He offered a look at a culture that most Americans knew nothing about. The original design is kept flat for the pendant. Gaia Repossi is particularly fond of rings, so the design is also wrapped so it can be worn around the finger: a character piece, which both women and men can wear. The mirror-polished white gold, traditional in jewelry, brings preciousness and classicism to the motif. It also echoes the black and white photographs of Robert Mapplethorpe.


Ring in white gold, engraved "REPOSSI/ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE"

Ring in white gold, engraved "REPOSSI/ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE"

Pendant in white gold, engraved "REPOSSI/ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE"

Pendant in white gold, engraved "REPOSSI/ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE"

RELIC

The Relic necklace, which incorporates many elements of the first year's Relic claw necklace (the black diamond-paved bead, the snake chain, the pearl clasp, etc.) is a testament to the affiliation between the two waves. Alternating mirror polishing was applied for the feel of the jewel as well as various patina finishes in homage to Robert Mapplethorpe's recycling work. In addition, the flexible chain evokes the cords of Robert Mapplethorpe's necklaces. Finally, the necklace is composed of 7 different colors of gold: a yellow gold alloy, a white gold alloy with 4 different coatings: white, light gray, dark gray and black that evoke in a jewelry interpretation with precious metals the spontaneous and disparate assemblies of Robert Mapplethorpe.

 
Necklace in yellow and white gold, set with 190 diamonds for 0.54ct, engraved "REPOSSI/ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE"

 Necklace in yellow and white gold, set with 190 diamonds for 0.54ct, engraved "REPOSSI/ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE"

CHAIN

The remnants of the custom chain from the Chain necklace from Year One are reused here for Year Two, just as Robert Mapplethorpe made his jewelry from existing elements that he assembled. A reinterpretation of Robert Mapplethorpe's style of accumulated necklaces, echoing Gaia Repossi's way of wearing jewelry, with two ways of wearing.


Necklace in yellow and white gold, set with 140 diamonds for 0,69ct, engraved "REPOSSI/ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE"

Necklace in yellow and white gold, set with 140 diamonds for 0,69ct, engraved "REPOSSI/ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE"

Necklace in yellow and white gold, set with 50 diamonds for 0.32ct, engraved "REPOSSI/ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE"

Necklace in yellow and white gold, set with 50 diamonds for 0.32ct, engraved "REPOSSI/ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE"

AMERICANA EAGLE

The eagle motif is an exact replica of the U.S. national bird with its arrows and olive branch, found on the seal of the President of the United States, on one-dollar coins or on U.S. stamps. It is transformed into a precious decorative motif, with towering volume and diamonds highlighted by white gold. "The Americana Eagle necklace is a reference to Robert Mapplethorpe's photographs and the importance of the Americana theme prominent in his work." Gaia Repossi.


Necklace in white gold, set with one pear cut diamond of 1.09ct, engraved "REPOSSI/ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE"

Necklace in white gold, set with one pear cut diamond of 1.09ct, engraved "REPOSSI/ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE"

 

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