Ruudt Peters and the Alchemy of "Qi"
Ruudt Peters’ conceptual art jewelry uses a wide range of materials and layers religious and spiritual philosophies to create pieces that are visually captivating and intellectually curious. I asked Mr. Peters some questions about his work and Qi, his exhibit presented by Ornamentum Gallery at Design Miami/ Basel.
Ibiayi Briggs: You’ve created works that reference philosophies and incorporate iconography from Christianity, Hinduism, and kabbalah. What led you to choose jewelry as the outlet for exploring these concepts?
Ruudt Peters: I am trained as a jeweler, but choose to make artwork for the body because I find the interaction between the wearer and the piece to be a much stronger relationship then say ‘the viewer and the artwork’. When you wear a piece of my work you convey a philosophical message to the world.
A piece of jewelry conceived and made with no meaning has no reason to exist.
IB: Beyond subject matter, does religion or spirituality play a role in the creation of your jewelry and objects?
RP: ‘Bezieling’ is a Dutch word that is almost impossible to translate. The translation is a combination of afflatus, soul and spirit. In the subconscious of each piece of artwork there must lay these qualities. My hands are stronger then my brain, and they lead me to a spiritual language. Religion is an anthropological mirror of a society.
IB: What was the process of creating the Qi series and getting it ready for Design Miami/ Basel?
RP: ‘Qi’ started with a 3 month journey through China to discover Chinese alchemy. During this investigation I discovered Chinese alchemy is the exact opposite of western alchemy. The western is an outer alchemy, with the Chinese being the inner.
What I mean by this is that the western outer alchemy is concerned with the quest of material investigation from lead to gold, while the Chinese inner alchemy searches for an Elixir of Life- encompassing a holistic view on life. These differences are also reflected in the western medicine’s approach to fighting particular diseases while eastern medicine, in particular acupuncture and herbal medicine seeks to maintain or restore health in the whole of the body in order to cure ailments.
‘Qi’ holds the energy of life, I discovered this by getting in touch with it during my time in China. I spent those three months making blind drawings… I came across my sub-consciousness to have direct contact with my belly.
Following this investigation, I took my research back to Amsterdam where I then spent 9 months designing and making the collection ‘Qi’, as well as designing the installation of the work as it was to be shown in the fair setting, being exhibited by Ornamentum at Design Miami Basel 2013.
Images courtesy of Ornamentum Gallery.