Interview with Taline Temizian

The “Love Collection” for Bentley & Skinner

Diala Aschkar, Art Director at Orient Palms, Paris, France

We interviewed artist Taline Temezian who designed for the jewellers Bentley & Skinner, the "Love Collection": 10 pieces hand made by Bentley & Skinner in 18 carat gold with lapis lazuli, diamonds, rubies… As one of the only jewellers on Bond Street to have a skilled onsite craft workshop, Bentley & Skinner have always been able to support young design talent and the collaboration with Taline Temezian is the first official collaboration with a designer.

Bentley & Co was first established in1934 in New Bond Street, a street famous for precious jewels, antiques and works of art, fashion and the accessories of gracious living. For over 50 years the company was under the sole direction of the present Director’s late uncle John Sheldon, a connoisseur of Russian descent whose magnificent collection of jewels created world-wide interest when sold through Sotheby’s in 1985. Skinner & Co, established in 1880, was first invited to supply jewellery to the Royal Family in the latter years of Queen Victoria’s reign. Bentley & Skinner, jewellers to the crown, have been buying and selling between them the loveliest jewellery for over 180 years. Specializing in fine antique jewels, Fabergé and silver, they are renowned for their collection of engagement rings and for purchasing jewellery privately.

Bentley & Skinner collaborated with the artist Damien Hirst in 2007 to create the most ambitious piece of British jewellery since the crown jewels, named “For the Love of God”: a real skull covered entirely (including its undersides) with platinum and 8,601 diamonds. On its forehead are 14 diamonds ranging from 3 to 12 carats and a 52-carat pink diamond considered one of the most beautiful stones ever found.

How was the collection born?

"The Love collection" idea was born before Valentine’s day this year but it was formed from a very deep emotional volcano and hence some the surfaces and textures of the jewellery is rough, scared and volcanic to represent those deep and personal emotions.

The support and faith Bentley & Skinner has given for this collaboration is more precious than any of the gems in this collection.

The heart theme was inspired from your father who was a cardiologist and a poet. So the symbol of the heart must be very special to you? Tell us about this inspiration.

The Heart and cardiac theme is central to my thinking and is deep within my history as an artist, designer and human. Visually there is a lot of form, textures, shades and tones in the heart whether in its’ anatomic sense, or as a symbol and signifier – for me it carries life. When there is no heart there is no life.

The choice of the roughness in addition to the concept of the “cage” expresses a tortured love where human feelings are complex and confusing instead of being smooth and symmetrical. Was that the intent? Did you want to describe "love" under this crude light?

Artists have been trying to describe love since the beginning of humanity – there is no consensus. In terms of the jewellery, well the cage is still a cage whether rough or refined. The heart can be transformed and deconstructed in relation to the cage…that depends on how much you want to invest in thinking… It’s a voluntary game with tensions of occasional entrapment.

What inspires you in your work?

Love is at the centre of the creative process – this is a process conceived through emotional repertoires translating into visual languages – this is not abstract however, it is supported by lot of disciplined research, techniques and experimentation.

The love collection in specific and my designs in general deal with Love at its utmost dramatic state. The pinnacle of love is a state of emergency. It’s a weapon. But it’s tortured.

Love puts beauty on an uncompromised pedestal and glorifies it in its contradictory luxury. Holding a rough stone is so fragile even at a hardness of 7 or 8, because it is vulnerable when under the tool of the craftsman. Sometimes it just breaks apart… like a person in love.

The pieces hold their own stories and their own surprises about love in a minimalist way, but with luxury’s maximalist decadence. But the viewers and the owner should transpose their own story onto the pieces, a piece like N.10 where the heart seems to escape its diamond cage can speak to everybody not just me – the interpretations of such an item are legion. The eventual owner will hopefully have been struck by an emotional resonance that says – this speaks to me, is off me, is me.

How do you see personally the relationship between art and jewellery?

Art and sculpture is the root of this jewellery. There is an holistic entity, an inseparable duality that step into each other’s territory without disturbing each others’ space.

Art is art. Jewellery is jewellery, the product is art and art is the product – this is a reciprocal relationship. To me the pieces are a functional object of luxury as well as being a very articulate means of expressions.

Throughout years of developing my knowledge and relationship with jewellery, I created a signature styles and techniques that mark most of my pieces – that is for me to see and say, in times others will see that also. This is exemplified by my favorite “lava surfaced” texture as well as the island skeleton structures and explosive use of stones. For me the final impression is a manifesto of the individual ingredients, but also an artistic pathos which can not be resisted – it beats out of the pieces regardless of all the surrounding glamour.

Any other things you would like to mention that inspire you?

My music inspires me – not just the tunes in my head but my own music through my band, Derrida Pearl. Art-schools – these should be treasured and funded. Picasso as an artist and a personality is a major inspiration behind this collection in particular, and my design and art, in general.

Cities and historic periods: Venice, Paris, so much of the Middle-East that there is not enough space to mention and the luscious luxury that clash with the modern minimalist luxury. Minimalism and maximalism. Cubist art and renaissance, Victorian London, Victorian antique jewellery vs. modern industrial design and trends.

Jewellers: The re-discovery of gold is a very common exercise I do in my art and I translate that to my jewellery. Gemology and the world of crystals and minerals are a big mysterious and rich mine for my inspiration that I constantly try to discover more.