Itxaso Mezzacasa

Book-art, performance or a jewellery project? Itxaso Mezzacasa eludes fixed categories in order to rehearse ways of creating the feeling of absence. She takes pictures and writes in a diary. She reports her everyday adventures while wearing the ring she found on the toilet of the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Pforzheim, where she studied jewellery. The pictures are very casual: genuine, anodyne 10x15 cm amateur pictures. Be it on holidays or at work, while shopping at the market or at a wedding party, the ring is always there, proudly hanging from a chain around the artist’s neck. She carries the token of a stranger, a paradoxical “forget-me-not” type of jewellery: By definition it should be associated with known, beloved persons.
The journey ends when she finds the owner of the lost ring, after having pinned an ad on the notice board of the school. The diary transforms into a jewellery case, by perforating some pages with a circle in order to accommodate the ring. The same circle is engraved onto the surface of a new porcelain shelf for the toilet, marking the place where the ring was found. The story concludes when Itxaso returns the ring to its owner and offers her the diary. Another copy of the book is donated to the school’s library and a map is printed to trace the itinerary inside the building connecting the toilet and the library.
This sentimental topography and its recurring, almost obsessive capture of moments and places is not moved by the material presence of the ring but by the absence of its owner. The ring acts not so much as a souvenir, the reminder of a known place, person or situation, but as a titre de réservation, a temporary representation or substitution of a person. The term – coined by the anthropologist Kristin Bühler-Oppenheim – refers to objects like a jacket hanging on a chair “booking” the seat for its owner. The ring worn by Mezzacasa during more than three months guards the moment for a re-encounter. It is a place in itself and “books” memory in advance for an event still to happen.
Once Mezzacasa’s intimate journey is in the hands of the ring’s owner the diary becomes precious. There is a displacement of protagonism: the ring has been returned but the owner also receives the diary, an object that competes in value and meaning with the ring. Will the owner appreciate the diary, a souvenir of experiences she has never lived? Will the owner of the ring miss a person that hardly knows her but that has shared with her some fragments of her life?

Mònica Gaspar

Itxaso Mezzacasa (b. 1975 Spain) is a jewellery artist and lives in Pforzheim.




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