Mallorca is often referred to as the jewel of the Mediterranean, and right now in Palma some of the greatest jewellery designs in the world are on show in the shadows of the Cathedral.
Internationally renowned goldsmith and jewellery designer Chus Burés is currently exhibiting three of his latest collections in Palma - Past/Future, L’Or dans l’Univers and Subverted Jewellery - and is also available for consultations should anyone be looking for a truly unique creation.
Considered to be something of a maverick in the world of jewellery design, Chus was born in Barcelona on 25 December 1956 and has dedicated himself primarily to the world of jewellery.
He currently divides his time and his professional life between Madrid and New York. After studying interior design at the Llotja school in the city of his birth, he learnt the jeweller’s craft in one of the best goldsmiths in Barcelona, which continues to design and produce pieces for Tiffany. In 1983 he opened his studio in Madrid. In the receptive atmosphere of a city on the lookout for rising talent, his creations soon caught the eyes of the art world.
He worked initially with recycled industrial waste, metal and objects of various shapes and origins. His career really took off in 1985, the year when his first collection of silver jewellery - the upshot of a new approach that had brought his recycling phase to an end - was exhibited at the Juana de Aizpuru Gallery in Madrid.
That same year, film director Pedro Almodóvar commissioned him to design the murder weapon for his film Matador, a silver hairpin in the shape of a treble clef inspired by Andalusian iron grilles.
This opened the doors of the international market for him, and from then on his creations were exhibited at design salons in Europe, the United States and Japan and in galleries and museums in New York, London, Milan, Hamburg, Basel and elsewhere.
In 1990, as a member of the team involved in the Honeymoon Miralda Project, he helped create the Spanish pavilion for the 44th Venice Biennale. The project, headed by Catalan artist Antoni Miralda, consisted of making a wedding trousseau for an unusual bride and groom: the Statue of Liberty in New York and the monument to Christopher Columbus in Barcelona. “Chus Burés, imagination in power under the joint sign of will and freedom,” wrote Pierre Restany in referring to his contribution.
In 1994, the Spanish Film Academy - Academia Española de las Artes y las Ciencias Cinematográficas - commissioned him to design the Gold Medal, which is its foremost award to outstanding personalities in the film world. The medal is still in use today.
Chus is a tour de force and his work, reputation and expertise have taken him all over the world. He spent ten years working for the Thai government helping to teach young Thai students the art of designing and creating jewellery, and the final project was a joint cooperation between ten Thai students and ten students in Spain to create a collection.
“It was all carried out via social media and was extremely exciting. But it was also inspiring and very influential to see all the wonderful colours, materials and designs in Thailand.
“During that period I also went to Morocco to create a collection of jewellery, carpets and objects d’art - that was one of the many exhibitions I have brought to Mallorca over the past 30 years.
“My relationship with Mallorca goes back many decades. I love the island because I find the people are so down to earth, and there is such a great mixture of people from all walks of life and all over the world.”
And Chus appears to have emerged from the pandemic more alive and inspired than ever.
“For me it was a great help in a way. I was shut away in my studio in Madrid and for the first time ever I was able to go through my archives. I have kept the designs and drawings of all of my work, but I have never had the time to go through them all and put them in order. So that took up nearly all of the lockdown. It also gave me time to sit down, think and reflect on my life so far and what I have achieved and also to plan the future.
“I have been so fortunate to have worked with so many great international artists, architects and designers all over the world, not to mention my illustrious list of clients." He has worked with the likes of Louise Bourgeois and artists such as Jesús Rafael Soto, Jiří Georg Dokoupil, Miquel Barceló, Santiago Serra, Carmen Herrera and many more.
Burés has also worked for the distinguished descendants of major cultural figures such as Claude Picasso, Laura García Lorca and C. Raman Schlemmer, creating intricate pieces that give shape to their own personal vision of the works of their forebears.
“Working with the Mallorcan artist Miguel Barceló was very interesting. We used the sea bed of the Mediterranean, the seaweed and marine life as our inspiration, and the results speak for themselves.”
Jewellery by Chus has been admired and worn by eminent personalities from the world of art and culture, musicians, politicians and other celebrities - Paul Bowles, Robert Wilson, Antonio Banderas, Victoria Abril, Dore Ashton, Zaha Hadid, Pierre Restany and Geraldine Chaplin, to name but a few - and his designs form part of prominent public and private collections in Europe, the United States and Latin America.
And more recently he launched CHUS X CHUS in New York to cater for the children of his original clients. “It’s more modern and slightly cheaper, is available online, unlike the rest of my work, and will soon be launched in Spain.”
As a goldsmith and designer, he shuns the conventions of classical jewellery which calculate investment value in terms of precious materials, “good taste” and a highly “standardised” placing of jewels on the body. His jewels exude power and seduction, conveying a new social and personal identity in which memory and secrets amalgamate. These iconoclastic and modern pieces enable him to project the long history of beauty, whose roots plunge into the remotest origins of human society and into a solar future.
“The pieces I produce are a result of a conversation between myself and my client. They come to me with a vague idea of what they would like and why; then we sit down and embark on a discussion. We open our hearts, minds and souls and this leads on the journey to creating something very special and unique which will tell a story for generations.
“Jewellery is so much more than a fashion statement. For example, I’ve worked with some great South American artists and we’ve used centuries-old museum pieces to create some amazing pieces; they are full of history and mystery. That is one of the things which fascinates me about jewellery. It will be passed on from one generation to another, passed down in the family. With each generation, the jewellery will gather more importance and the story will get deeper and richer, and while I am here in Palma I am available for a conversation with anyone wishing to have something special created for them.
“But what inspires me most is what is happening around me. It could be the wonderful architecture of old Palma, an international news story, current affairs, social problems, the culture and languages of whichever country I may be in.
“I like to absorb my surroundings and what is going on, break it down and convert it into art and, at times, make a lasting statement.”
To contact Chus for a viewing or consultation: email@example.com or Whatsapp: 606354949.