Do you speak jewelery? 20 years of Galeria Reverso
Galeria Reverso celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2018 and is steered by Paula Crespo, a jeweller who has been devoted to contemporary jewellery for a long time now. This is the space where she has developed an intense professional activity, organizing exhibitions with many Portuguese jewellers, and from several other nationalities, all available to be checked on their website.
The 20th year celebration of Galeria Reverso happened on January 20 with the presentation of the 2018 programme and the conduction of the talk show “Do you speak jewelry?”, title taken from the homonymous book of Manuel Vilhena, published 20 years ago. The conversation had a wide audience, which included Marina Elenskaya – cofounder of the magazine Current Obsession – the jeweller and artist Pedro Sequeira, Manuel Vilhena and Olga Noronha, both jewelers, with Marta Costa Reis as moderator, a current collaborator of Galeria Reverso.
Throughout 2018, the gallery will display a collection of exhibitions, with an initial show of Manuel Vilhena and Birgit Laken, on February 20. Followed, on March 20, by the exhibition of Castello Hansen and Kaori Juzu. The remaining programme can be checked here and counts with the participation of several names such as: Claude Schmitz, Masako Hamaguchi, Edu Tarin, Philip Sajet, Marc Monzó, Leonor Hipólito, among many others.
These exhibitions will be accompanied by an experimental project, entitled Window Project, which, every month, will display a Portuguese artist, or one that resides in Portugal, in one of the gallery’s showrooms.
Having obtained a degree in Letters, with training in jewellery by Ar.Co, Paula Crespo started her activity as a gallery owner in Lisbon, in the tiny gallery-atelier Artifact3, together with Tereza Seabra and Alexandra Serpa Pimentel. One of the projects that Paula Crespo emphasizes from that period, and with which she inaugurated the new space in Rua da Rosa, is the exhibition Ilegítimos, in 1993, to which she invited several Portuguese artists, who at the time were still young, and are nowadays properly renowned (such as Rui Chafes, Pedro Cabrita Reis or José Pedro Croft, just to name a few), to draw jewelry that Artifact3 ended up producing. In addition to the auteur pieces, a catalogue was made with the support of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, the Secretary of State for Culture and the Luso-American Foundation.
Ten years later, Paula Crespo thought it was important to have an independent space and, with that, was born the site of the current Galeria Reverso, located in Rua da Esperança, Santos, Lisbon.
Presently representing approximately 60 national and international artists, the selection criterion was based on their work, but Paula Crespo regards as very important the relationship that is established between her and the artist. In other words, after enjoying the work, the personal relationship helps in professional terms and, as years go by, many of those relationships are turned into strong friendships.
The same happens with customers and collectors. In addition to Portuguese clients, there are several foreigners who, currently, whenever they come to Portugal, pay a visit to Reverso. These customers are already friends, who regularly get invitations and go there to check the latest news or any piece that they spotted and enjoyed on the website. There is a trustful environment, which is very important for anyone who wants to buy this sort of works.
On the other hand, contemporary jewellery collectors are scarce. In terms of investment, it has yet to become an appealing industry, but Paula Crespo believes that the panorama will change soon, when a collection that gives visibility and credibility to contemporary jewellery is assembled, akin to what happens in other countries around the world.
There are many jewellers who are willing to expose because they need to show and sell. However, Portugal is a small market in this sector, and in many others, even though contemporary jewellery is, throughout the world, a niche industry. Selling jewellery artworks is strenuous and between the first approach to an artist’s work and its acquisition there is a long period. Therefore, it’s important to have opportunities to show the work in an exhibition and, in this regard, Paula Crespo insists that there is an urgent need to make a biennial or triennial one, which establishes itself over time and that stimulates our artists and public. And this is important for the jewellers and galleries.