Jewellery

Inside the Bulgari SerpentiForm Exhibition

by Shairah Thoufeekh
15.08.2017
Here's what to expect at Bulgari's historic exhibition, which opens 19 Aug at ArtScience Museum
The exhibition pays tribute to the serpent

Love it or loathe it, there's no denying the allure of the serpent. For centuries, this creature has been the subject of myths and folklore, epitomising seduction, rebirth and transformation. And since the 1940s, Bulgari has harnessed the power of such an evocative symbol with a line of supple bracelet-watches aptly named Serpenti.

70 years on, the Roman jeweller is paying tribute to the serpent with an exhibition specially curated by Bulgari Brand and Heritage Curator Lucia Boscaini. Like its name suggests, SerpentiForm will explore the many creative forms that the snake has taken in the worlds of art, jewellery and design.

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SerpentiForm at the Museo di Roma
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SerpentiForm at the Museo di Roma
This is SerpentiForm's second global pitstop

Before making snaking its way to Singapore, Bulgari first unveiled SerpentiForm at the Museo di Roma – Palazzo Braschi in March 2016. The Rome edition was promoted by Capitoline Superintendence of Cultural Heritage and featured an eclectic setup of artworks, vintage apparel by Italy's finest designers, and Bulgari's archive pieces.

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Right: Keith Haring, USA 19-82, 1982
The exhibition includes iconic artworks by renowned artists

Keith Haring, Joan Miró, Marc Chagall, and Alexander Calder are but a few of the renowned artists whose modern and contemporary artworks convey the evocative force of the serpent imagery. In addition to these pieces, SerpentiForm will also showcase iconic images by photographers Helmut Newton and Robert MappleThorpe and explore the symbolic meaning of the serpents in myths and legends from East to West.

 

Right: Peter Hujar, Skippy on a Chair (I), 1985 

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Original Turandot costume worn by Maria Jeritza at The Metropolitan Opera House of New York in 1926.
It delves into the world of costume design

Delving further into the serpent's influence across different arenas, SerpentiForm will showcase elaborate costumes from prestigious theatre and cinema archives and vintage evening dresses by Italy's finest fashion designers such as Micol Fontana and Enrico Coveri. 

Noteworthy pieces to look out for include an elaborate Chinese princess costume designed by Umberto Brunelleschi for Giacomo Puccini's Turandot opera and an original costume designed by Joseph Porro and worn by Jaye Davidson in the film Stargate (1994).

 

Left: Costume designed by James Acherson for The Last Emperor, 1987

The exhibition culminates with Bulgari Serpenti

What would SerpentiForm be without Bulgari's most iconic creation? 

After examining how the serpent has influenced the myths, folklore, and the worlds of art and cinema, visitors will arrive at the culmination of the exhibition. More than 40 Bulgari Serpenti pieces dating back to the 1960s from the Maison archives and private collections will be on display alongside contemporary incarnations of the serpent. This will allow visitors to get up close and personal with these masterpieces and trace the aesthetic evolution of the Maison through the ages.

 

Bulgari SerpentiForm will run from 19 August to 15 October 2017 at ArtScience Museum. Visit here for more details.

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