What's the difference between a Cartier diamond bracelet and a Bakelite bangle? For Denise Julia Reytan, not much. In her new paradoxically titled series "Precious Plastic," the Berlin artist weaves together valuable and everyday objects into necklaces -- brightly colored, imaginative assemblages -- in a process she calls "material painting."
As she puts it, "I draw with stones and chains, combining materials and colors and assembling objects into a whole new creature." And she unifies all the items (a mix of found items, family keepsakes, and childhood mementos) by casting them in silicone. "Afterward everything is in harmony, has the same value and decorative equality, and it doesn't matter if something was precious or non-precious before." Which is another way of saying that a piece might include glitzy amethyst beads and also a plastic bubble-blowing wand.
These are clearly statement pieces and not for the fashion faint of heart. Reytan likens her creations to "poems on the body," and, like message-emblazoned Ts, they're bound to attract some deciphering stares.