et al. 2020 | Chus Burés on Carmen Herrera | A Relationship Forged in Freedom and Creativity

Chus Burés, Composición con Amarillo cadmio y azul Prusia, 2012, cuff links, silver, satin finish and Prussian blue and cadmium yellow lacquer, diameter 25 mm. Signed limited edition of 6. © Jean de Loisi, Paris. Image courtesy of the artists.
Original drawing by Carmen Herrera, created in July 2012, which inspired Chus Burés’ brooch, Horizontal. Image courtesy of Carmen Herrera.
[Left] Chus Burés, Horiztonal, 2012, brooch / pendant, silver, satin finish, 90 x 90 mm. Signed limited edition of 6. [Right] Chus Burés, Horiztonal, 2012, brooch / pendant, gold-plated matt silver, 90 x 90 mm. Signed limited edition of 6. © Jean de Loisi, Paris. Images courtesy of the artists.
Carmen Herrera and Chus Burés in Carmen Herrera’s New York studio, July 2012. Image courtesy of the artist.
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I will never forget how precise she was about the choice of colours.

 

The notion of creating a dialogue between art and design has always occupied an important role in my work. Since my beginnings in Barcelona I have always been surrounded by design, art and artists. Artists see in design a glamorous process of creation, viewing designers as floating creatures in a playful environment, bringing to society those products that make life more bearable, gilded with beauty, facilitating comfort and progress. Conversely, artists consider their own work painful, dirty and sometimes useless. I have always felt a great curiosity to form a dialogue with artists, enter their universes and establish a dialogue. As a result of this dialogue, great collaborations have emerged with masters of contemporary art: Louise Bourgeois, Jesús Soto, Miquel Barceló and Santiago Sierra, just to name a few.

 

Chus Burés, Composición con Amarillo cadmio y azul Prusia, 2012, cuff links, silver, satin finish and Prussian blue and cadmium yellow lacquer, diameter 25 mm. Signed limited edition of 6. © Jean de Loisi, Paris. Image courtesy of the artists.

 

Recently I had the occasion to collaborate with Carmen Herrera. I met Carmen through our mutual artist friend Tony Bechara, who took me to her studio for the first time in 2012. Carmen was in a golden period, with further greatness yet to come: her retrospective at the Whitney placed her among the gods of Mount Olympus, and this was followed by numerous exhibitions all over the world. Her recent exhibition at the City Hall Park in New York impressed audiences with her monumental sculptures that she had created in the 1950s and which today remain so contemporary. At 96 years old, Carmen became a great star of contemporary art; or in her words, “I had to wait quite a few years for the bus to arrive.” Today, at almost 105 years old, she is still active and preparing a scenography for the Royal Ballet of London. Always on the go, surprising us with new projects!

 

Artists see in design a glamorous process of creation, viewing designers as floating creatures in a playful environment.

 

In our first meeting, I presented some of my previous collaborations to Carmen, including those previously mentioned, as well as Carlos Cruz Diez and François Morellet. These were artists with very different styles, and Carmen was surprised and enthused. I remember our looking at the catalogue of the collection of Mme. Clo Fleiss from Paris, a huge collection of jewellery created by artists including Picasso, Calder, Miró and Dali. Carmen was immediately excited at the thought of a collaboration. She clearly trusted me, and was ready to accept my guidance, and we decided to jump into this new adventure. Thus began a collaboration of which both of us are very proud.

 

Original drawing by Carmen Herrera, created in July 2012, which inspired Chus Burés’ brooch, Horizontal. Image courtesy of Carmen Herrera.
[Left] Chus Burés, Horiztonal, 2012, brooch / pendant, silver, satin finish, 90 x 90 mm. Signed limited edition of 6. [Right] Chus Burés, Horiztonal, 2012, brooch / pendant, gold-plated matt silver, 90 x 90 mm. Signed limited edition of 6. © Jean de Loisi, Paris. Images courtesy of the artists.

The first working session focused on a geometric drawing that she had just finished: a rhomboid entitled “Horizontal” with a kind of cut in the centre, that seemed destined for metal and colour. I did a test and Carmen loved it. From there everything flowed smoothly, leading to a collection of jewellery which combined gold, silver and some unique pieces with diamonds. She was delighted and she became a fan of the style Encuentros para Plata Dorada: gold-plated earrings. She continues to wear these frequently.

I will never forget how precise she was about the choice of colours, when we decided to recreate Composición con Amarillo Cadmio y Azul Prusia in the form of cufflinks or Estructura con Azul Prusia as a brooch. In some pieces I proposed the use of rubies and diamonds, and she was definitive in her choice of diamonds, as rubies would have been too bright a red. At this point, we created Estructura con Plata Dorada y Diamantes.

 

Carmen Herrera and Chus Burés in Carmen Herrera’s New York studio, July 2012. Image courtesy of the artist.

 

Today these pieces are collected and admired by major international art collectors, and our collaboration can be found in important collections across the five continents.

My relationship with Carmen evolved into an affectionate friendship that we have kept alive ever since.

 

104 year-old abstract artist Carmen Herrera was born in Havana and has lived in New York City since the mid-1950s.

 

 
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