Gold-plated silver, brass, precious and semi-precious stones, digital print, liquid glass.
Current work was realized as a tribute to the events in Zhanaozen, Kazakhstan on the 16th of December 2011.
It takes an inspiration from jewelry pieces, that are not largely known and up till these days keep their secrets with them. The notion accompanying this very short lived fad (c.1790 through 1820) was that the eye would be recognizable only to the recipient and could therefore be worn publicly keeping the lover’s identity a secret. In contradiction however, portraits from the period rarely show the sitter overtly wearing or holding an eye miniature thereby perhaps indicating that the wearers concealed these intimate portraits from view to further guard their secrecy.
The lack of any depiction of further details of the face surrounding the eye miniature serves to envelope the eye portrait with a great degree of anonymity. Gazing directly at the viewer, there is little doubt as to the focus of such a portrait, which, as you can imagine, could be quite intimate when the gaze is returned by the intended recipient of the painting.
In the early nineteenth century eye miniatures had also evolved into a form of memorial jewelry sometimes referred to as ‘tear jewelry.’ The symbolism of the gemstones used to surround the portrait added to the sentiment. Pearls often represented tears when they surrounded an eye portrait.
For the current piece Ada Yu had reinvented the codes by interpreting the sentiments into the new symbolism, based on already established observations of miniatures.