Bejeweled Pistols and Guns That Can Melt


A provocative exhibition by the Dutch artist Rian de Jong tackles the hot-button situation of guns. Earning inventive use of products this kind of as paraffin wax, plastic foam, and twigs, de Jong has made jewellery and objects in the condition of guns that categorical her shock and outrage around the prevalence of gun violence in the United States. The exhibition, at Gallery Loupe, in Montclair, NJ, closes May possibly 21, 2022.

Rian de Jong in Lannemezan, France, putting on Hey Guys, Shoot That Damn Detail, 2020, pendant, cardboard, coral, acrylic, gold-plated chain, photo courtesy of the artist

Jennifer Altmann: You 1st explored the situation of guns for the exhibition 1 Globe, presented by Gallery Loupe, which requested 40 intercontinental jewelers in the spring of 2020 to create a pendant in reaction to COVID. You manufactured a necklace called Hey Men, Shoot That Damn Point, with a gun constructed from cardboard on just one facet and a piece of coral that represented COVID on the other. You also designed some gun-formed brooches. After that, why did you keep with the theme of guns?

Rian de Jong: I could not appear free from the topic—I was in the grip of individuals pistols for the Just one World exhibition. It was COVID, and we were residing in France at our residence in the Pyrénées, which is in the fashion of Frank Lloyd Wright. And there was this astonishing information about a operate on arms product sales in the US. And then a photo from Lansing, MI, from a demonstration versus the lockdown, of persons carrying weapons on their chests. It was in just about every newspaper in Europe. I could not believe that it, just strolling the streets with this kind of a military services weapon. I was surprised that guns had been allowed in a crowd like this. And that it is apparently normal in the US. In Europe, we simply cannot fully grasp it. Guns are very regulated. So that was the start out.

Rian de Jong, Lattice, 2020, brooch, copper, 64 x 18 x 38 mm, photograph: artist

You used 14 several years residing on a 50-foot boat with your partner, Herman, browsing dozens of international locations and engaging with cultures that are quite different from The Netherlands. Your viewpoint as an outsider brings a fresh watch to all those of us who live in the US and who may have just acknowledged the epidemic of gun violence as anything we can’t fix.  

Rian de Jong: Of course, the cultural variations get me considering. For this venture, I requested, what does defending oneself with a weapon indicate? Are you shielding yourself, or inciting violence and hatred? Is it to verify you have ability? Why is it so essential to have a gun in your auto, beside your mattress?

Rian de Jong, Blackberry, 2020, object, blackberry branches, 730 x 100 x 10 mm, image: artist

The most spectacular piece in the exhibition is an item termed Blackberry, a two-foot-extended gun produced from blackberry branches. How did you create it?

Rian de Jong: We have many blackberry bushes increasing on our land in France. When I trim them, the thorns prick me. I get scratches. And I considered: I have to make a gun from them. I dried the branches and sewed the twigs collectively working with crochet stitches. I want somebody to feel, “If I pick that gun up, I will get pricked.” I want you to picture the agony of having the weapon in your hands, the thorns that sting your skin. There are threads hanging from the entrance of the gun, and from the threads are drops of modeling clay painted pink that drip down. The purple speaks for alone.

Rian de Jong, Powering Bars, 2021, object, black wax, copper, chilly enamel, 157 x 119 x 18 mm, photograph: artist

Several of the gun-formed objects are built from paraffin wax. Why did you use wax?

Rian de Jong: Wax is about fragility. For the object Driving Bars, I made use of black wax, which is extremely delicate, for the gun. The contours of the gun are copper and chilly enamel, which I designed by electroforming. The gun is imprisoned. It is caged. Wax would make the gun vulnerable. Ordinarily, a gun is quite sturdy, but this a single would soften with heat, so it’s not a gun. It is an illusion. If it melts, the contour of the gun will continue to be.

Rian de Jong, Dolled Up, 2022, object, copper, Swarovski crystals, 109 x 18 x 48 mm, photo: artist

You have adorned some objects with Swarovski crystals. What prompted you to insert these vibrant, sparkly stones?

Rian de Jong: I was contemplating about historic weapons, people that sultans and kings have. I also wanted to deliver some humor, to not make it all much too significant. It’s nonetheless a gun, it is nonetheless perilous, but you can also make fun of it.

The objects are the two jewelry and object for me. You wear it. You hold it in your hand. You adhere it involving your waistline and your skin. It might evoke humor, a smile, a concern, a imagined, and maybe also responsibility. By means of creativeness, you may possibly be in a position to make people realize that they really don’t want to have just about anything to do with the electric power and murderous features of weapons.

Rian de Jong, Religion, 2021, necklace, paraffin, copper, modeling clay, thread, acrylic, 249 mm in diameter, image: artist

Did you stress that the exhibition would be far too controversial?

Rian de Jong: Indeed, of class. But I experienced to do it, simply because it haunted me. This work is extreme, I comprehend that, but art has to make a assertion. For People, it could be a little bit confronting. I hope that People in america are confronted by this. What I would like is for people to don one of my parts, or have a person at property, and have it get started a dialogue.

Rian de Jong, Blue, 2021, pendant, copper, paint, 53 x 18 x 43 mm, photograph: artist

Inform me about Blue, a pendant necklace with a compact upside-down gun manufactured of wrapped copper wire that is painted blue.

Rian de Jong: Buddies who came to the studio have been searching at this necklace, and at very first they did not know what they have been seeing, and then at just one minute they observed that it was a gun. And I like that. You really do not see it at to start with glance, but upon a second search.

The pendant hangs from a slim brown rope.

Rian de Jong: The way a piece connects to the physique, I like that to be as humble as doable, so I employed rope. It reveals that you can make placing points with humble resources.

Rian de Jong, Pink, 2020, item, red wax, 157 x 33 x 89 mm, photo: artist

Red—a gun created from red wax sticks—sits in a light-weight-blue cardboard box, and on leading of the box you place a map with purple dots marking all the web-sites of mass shootings in the United States. What do you hope it gets individuals imagining about?

Rian de Jong: Persons never recognize how lots of shootings there have been. When you see it on the map, you recognize the quantity is great. The gun is a little bit playful. It appears like licorice. You want to bite it.

Rian de Jong, Ring Gun, 2022, ring, paraffin, copper, chilly enamel, 69 x 13 x 89 mm, photo: artist

Ring Gun is a a few-inch paraffin gun lined in a vine-like pattern of silver chilly enamel. It’s connected to a ring, which matches more than the finger, although the gun is tucked in the hand.

Rian de Jong: I like that you can hold it, you can truly feel it, you can clearly show it. It is a bit naughty.

Rian de Jong, Tender, 2021, item, plastic foam, 135 x 8 x 94 mm, photo: artist

Your lifetime of journey has frequently motivated your work. This selection was manufactured for the duration of the pandemic, when travel was restricted. How did remaining put in France have an impact on this operate?

Rian de Jong: We applied to be on land 50 % the calendar year and on our boat the other half. That stopped with COVID. But you nevertheless have the memory of traveling, that’s always with you. Sometimes I don’t feel the inspiration for get the job done at the minute we are touring, but it will come afterwards, generally substantially afterwards. It just will come.

Rian de Jong, Bloody Guns, 2021, brooch, modeling clay, pigment, 119 x 33 x 84 mm, photograph courtesy of the artist

What evokes you to hold making jewelry?

Rian de Jong: I really like that you put on it on your overall body, that it demonstrates who you are. It is part of your getting. It’s what you love. It’s who you are.

To find out extra about the pieces in this present, verify out the exhibition web page, listed here.


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