Bejeweled Pistols and Guns That Can Melt


A provocative exhibition by the Dutch artist Rian de Jong tackles the hot-button problem of guns. Building creative use of components this kind of as paraffin wax, plastic foam, and twigs, de Jong has developed jewellery and objects in the form of guns that convey her shock and outrage above the prevalence of gun violence in the United States. The exhibition, at Gallery Loupe, in Montclair, NJ, closes May 21, 2022.

Rian de Jong in Lannemezan, France, carrying Hey Men, Shoot That Damn Factor, 2020, pendant, cardboard, coral, acrylic, gold-plated chain, picture courtesy of the artist

Jennifer Altmann: You first explored the challenge of guns for the exhibition A person Earth, offered by Gallery Loupe, which asked 40 global jewelers in the spring of 2020 to generate a pendant in response to COVID. You produced a necklace referred to as Hey Men, Shoot That Damn Thing, with a gun produced from cardboard on a person aspect and a piece of coral that represented COVID on the other. You also made some gun-formed brooches. After that, why did you keep with the topic of guns?

Rian de Jong: I could not come loose from the topic—I was in the grip of individuals pistols for the One Earth exhibition. It was COVID, and we were being living in France at our dwelling in the Pyrénées, which is in the fashion of Frank Lloyd Wright. And there was this astonishing news about a operate on arms gross sales in the US. And then a image from Lansing, MI, from a demonstration towards the lockdown, of persons carrying weapons on their chests. It was in every single newspaper in Europe. I could not feel it, just going for walks the streets with these types of a army weapon. I was stunned that guns had been authorized in a group like this. And that it is seemingly normal in the US. In Europe, we can not recognize it. Guns are really controlled. So that was the get started.

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

You invested 14 years residing on a 50-foot boat with your spouse, Herman, going to dozens of nations and participating with cultures that are very different from The Netherlands. Your viewpoint as an outsider provides a fresh new see to those people of us who stay in the US and who might have just recognized the epidemic of gun violence as a little something we can’t fix.  

Rian de Jong: Of course, the cultural differences get me wondering. For this project, I asked, what does defending you with a weapon indicate? Are you defending on your own, or inciting violence and hatred? Is it to confirm you have electrical power? Why is it so significant to have a gun in your automobile, beside your bed?

Rian de Jong, Blackberry, 2020, item, blackberry branches, 730 x 100 x 10 mm, photograph: artist

The most remarkable piece in the exhibition is an item known as Blackberry, a two-foot-prolonged gun manufactured from blackberry branches. How did you develop it?

Rian de Jong: We have numerous blackberry bushes expanding on our land in France. When I trim them, the thorns prick me. I get scratches. And I imagined: I have to make a gun from them. I dried the branches and sewed the twigs with each other utilizing crochet stitches. I want another person to imagine, “If I pick that gun up, I will get pricked.” I want you to visualize the suffering of using the weapon in your hands, the thorns that sting your pores and skin. There are threads hanging from the entrance of the gun, and from the threads are drops of modeling clay painted crimson that drip down. The red speaks for by itself.

Rian de Jong, Behind Bars, 2021, item, black wax, copper, cold enamel, 157 x 119 x 18 mm, photograph: artist

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

Rian de Jong: Wax is about fragility. For the object Powering Bars, I utilised black wax, which is really gentle, for the gun. The contours of the gun are copper and cold enamel, which I made by electroforming. The gun is imprisoned. It’s caged. Wax tends to make the gun vulnerable. Usually, a gun is quite strong, but this one would melt with heat, so it’s not a gun. It is an illusion. If it melts, the contour of the gun will stay.

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

You’ve adorned some objects with Swarovski crystals. What prompted you to add these colourful, sparkly stones?

Rian de Jong: I was considering about historical weapons, these that sultans and kings have. I also required to carry some humor, to not make it all much too major. It’s even now a gun, it’s however unsafe, but you can also make pleasurable of it.

The objects are equally jewellery and item for me. You have on it. You hold it in your hand. You adhere it concerning your waistline and your pores and skin. It might evoke humor, a smile, a concern, a thought, and quite possibly also obligation. By creativity, you could be capable to make people recognize that they don’t want to have something to do with the energy and murderous traits of weapons.

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

Did you get worried that the exhibition would be also controversial?

Rian de Jong: Sure, of system. But I experienced to do it, due to the fact it haunted me. This get the job done is intense, I understand that, but artwork has to make a assertion. For Americans, it may possibly be a little bit confronting. I hope that Individuals are confronted by this. What I would like is for men and women to dress in just one of my parts, or have 1 at residence, and have it start a discussion.

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

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

Rian de Jong: Mates who arrived to the studio had been looking at this necklace, and at to start with they did not know what they ended up seeing, and then at one minute they noticed that it was a gun. And I like that. You really don’t see it at very first glance, but on a 2nd glance.

The pendant hangs from a narrow brown rope.

Rian de Jong: The way a piece connects to the entire body, I like that to be as humble as doable, so I applied rope. It displays that you can make placing factors with humble elements.

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

Red—a gun built from pink wax sticks—sits in a gentle-blue cardboard box, and on best of the box you place a map with crimson dots marking all the sites of mass shootings in the United States. What do you hope it gets people today considering about?

Rian de Jong: People today really don’t know how several shootings there have been. When you see it on the map, you understand the quantity is massive. The gun is a little bit playful. It appears like licorice. You want to chunk it.

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

Ring Gun is a three-inch paraffin gun coated in a vine-like pattern of silver chilly enamel. It’s hooked up to a ring, which matches over the finger, whilst the gun is tucked in the hand.

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

Rian de Jong, Gentle, 2021, object, plastic foam, 135 x 8 x 94 mm, photograph: artist

Your lifetime of travel has frequently encouraged your function. This selection was designed through the pandemic, when vacation was restricted. How did staying set in France impact this perform?

Rian de Jong: We utilised to be on land 50 percent the year and on our boat the other fifty percent. That stopped with COVID. But you even now have the memory of touring, that is constantly with you. Sometimes I really do not sense the inspiration for get the job done at the minute we are traveling, but it arrives afterwards, generally significantly later on. 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 inspires you to preserve generating jewellery?

Rian de Jong: I like that you have on it on your human body, that it exhibits who you are. It’s part of your being. It’s what you appreciate. It’s who you are.

To master a lot more about the items in this display, check out out the exhibition site, below.


Source connection