The goldsmith and sculptor Jorge Gil (Havana, 1961) is a unique artist within the Cuban context. The audacity and innovation he preaches make his creations unique in design and elaboration. Without precursors in the context of the Island, Gil is the architect of his own brand, different from the rest, of unparalleled craft and creativity. Moreover, he is one of the few working with titanium in the national and international scene. His jewelry has been referenced in prestigious publications and catalogs and has taken part in numerous exhibitions and arts and craft fairs. His work and career is included in study programs at North American universities. For several years Jorge Gil has been a member of the Cuba Congregation of Silversmiths and the Cuban Association of Craftsmen and Artists (ACAA for its Spanish acronym).
Specialized in design and technical drawing, and graduated from San Alejandro Academy of Fine Arts in painting; his studies paved the way for what he is today. On several occasions this goldsmith has declared that he made a mistake studying painting, although he admits that his training opened the doors to sculpture and gave him the basic principles of design and composition. Undoubtedly, his time in the sculpture department of the academy allowed him to explore and learn about dimension and volume. In addition, the artistic and poetic intent of his garments is undeniable, and indebted to the knowledge he acquired there.
Loyalty to titanium…
…a single metal of infinite attributes
Gil arrived at titanium thanks to his teacher Osvaldo Castilla, who introduced him for the first time to the material, which he only knew from catalogs and magazines. This metal is hard to shape; the goldsmith wouldn’t have broken it without the know-how of traditional metal craftsmanship, without first having experimented with silver and gold.
Titanium is an abundant metal in nature. It is highly resistant to corrosion and great for mechanical endurance. I it is also capable of surviving the trials of time. Many identify it with today’s world and to high-tech, as it is widely used in aeronautics, military, petrochemical and automotive industries. In the world of contemporary jewelry it is a wide expanding material, as it serves as representative of the current aesthetics betting on what is new and transgressive. Thanks to its lightness, rigidity, anti-allergic qualities and ability to transform into daring colors, titanium offers countless possibilities for experimentation, and can be used to create large pieces, which in other way, with other metals, would be extremely difficult to make.
Titanium is the center and leitmotiv of Gil’s jewelry, sometimes combining it with stones, pearls, or other metals, but always using it as base and giving it a leading role. Although the welding of titanium is valid, this craftsman prefers to keep his molecular structure intact, so he is always in search of solutions without welding points, taking advantage of its qualities. In search of the imagined form, the metal is riveted, sculpted, textured and forged.
Titanium can be colored by heat or by electrolytic processes and a range of bold colors can be obtained, with which unconventional parts can be obtained.
Of the daring, the whims and the irreverence of the design…
The jewels of Jorge Gil have, in them, the touch and the indisputable signature of its creator. You cannot be indifferent to his innovative designs, his pieces are irremediably captivating. He draws on minimalism in some, and exoticism in others. He imprints them all with a sculptural feature in the work with volume, textures and geometry, even in the treatment of dimensions and scales. To all these charms is added the careful making and the perfect termination, at international level.
The variety of designs he offers us can only be the result of a prodigious imagination. He can opt either for asymmetry or the exquisitely proportioned pieces; in some he is betting on risky imbalances in search of a unique and singular model.
Gil likes the curved forms, and revels in the sensuality of the ellipse and the parable; this is evidenced by the series of rings, Arcos. The artist exploits the creative possibilities offered by the use of concave and convex forms. In his wide range of proposals Gil uses the concentric arrangement of geometric figures and the capricious superposition of elements; sometimes a certain geometric figure encloses and/or comprises another.
In his garments, the goldsmith makes extensive use of the spheres: a dissimilar position within a ring or a different combination with another geometric form gives rise to a new design, the possibilities become infinite. It is only a matter of inventiveness, and for Jorge Gil there are no limits.
Gil is inspired by the environment that surrounds him, by the beauty of everyday life. The plants, the animals, the celestial bodies, the weather phenomena, the whole nature, are starting points and cues for his creations. An example of this are the Lopus earrings, the Mariposa (Butterflies), and El ojo de la tormenta (The eye of the storm), just to mention a few. The Orquídea (Orchid) ring stands out (titanium and white pearl, colored partially by heat and assembled by tension). It resembles, with a degree of simplification and admirable abstraction, the shape of the aforementioned flower. The catalog of earrings is admirable. Through curved shapes and pearls, they emulate the beauty of the seeds inside the pods.
The sea, in its immensity and mystery, constitutes a reiterated referent in Gil’s making. His pieces insinuate the waves of the sea, the fishing nets and the shapes of the snails, through an exquisite handling of the textures and color –Gil has reached great skill in obtaining shapes of blue by electrolysis and coloring with heat. The rings La caracola de Carola (The shell of Carola), Eclipse de mar (Sea eclipse) and La novia del pescador (The fisherman’s bride) are among his most successful pieces.
In his productions there is no shortage of garments referencing styles and significant artists of the history of universal art, as evidenced by the Art Deco pendant, the ring Tributo a Rodin (Tribute to Rodin) and the series of jewels that show a Mondrianesque way of arranging colors.
In Gil’s extensive and rich creative universe, any motive can serve as inspiration: mathematics (earrings that resemble the shape of number six), a book about carnal pleasures (Kama Sutra ring), or a musical instrument (Zampoña pendant that with a rich color is based on the shape of the pan flutes).
As for materials, in addition to titanium, his prime material by excellence, Gil is committed to various combinations. Throughout his career he has used pearls, onyx, jade, turquoise, amethyst, topaz, gold, naylon fishing, ebony, methacrylate and silicon carbide.
Within his production there is a group of pieces that advocate movement by means of movable structures and rings (Cachumbambé and Cantimplora (Canteen) rings), and using pearls and stones that slide inside a slot or through metal wires and steel wires (Abacus and London Bridge Dalling Down rings).
In this garments the goldsmith’s interest in endowing them with a title is evident, the poetics of them allude with lyricism to the forms in which the rings, pendants and earrings are inspired.
Jorge Gil is a unique artist in the field of handcrafts and plastic arts of the Island. His work is a must see when talking about contemporary Cuban jewelry. Quality, exclusivity, provocative designs and unparalleled appeal are qualifiers that are not enough to describe their vast creative work.
–Deydri Delgado Avila