Robert Mazlo

Author jeweller

Born in Beirut in 1949, Robert Mazlo’s first goal in life is to become a writer. He is still a teenager when he decides to dedicate himself to jewellery design, just like one would enter into a religion. That is, with the firm determination to learn a “real” job, the only way in his opinion to make his passion for writing sustainable. But his attraction to goldsmithing and jewellery making, this “complete” art, as he likes to define it, would never leave him. For this alchemy of stones and metals, though based on a strict discipline, can happen to be a fabulous narration support. And to give life and form to his stories, this insatiable storyteller could not dream of a more beautiful tribune than a jewel, this genuine picture book, placed at closest to the body and on display for all to see …

After being initiated to the delicate art of Phoenician jewellery, Robert Mazlo leaves Lebanon for  northern Italy, in order to study classical jewellery at the Istituto Benvenuto Cellini in Valenza-Po.

Paradoxically, he graduates in 1972 from this temple of tradition, as top of his class and with the title of Maestro d’arte, thanks to a “ready-made” piece of jewellery, conceived as an homage to Duchamp and made from electronic circuits.

A both tender and insolent way to challenge the conformism of his teachers and already, rooted in his mind, this desire to break with the  jewellery tradition, trapped at that time in obsolete and boring aesthetic standards…

An author above all, but brought up in the respect owed to art and aware of the initiatic value of jewellery work, Robert Mazlo has always refused to go beyond the scope defined by his medium. For according to him, precious matter is an opponent that is worth being tamed. It is at this price, that of the mastery of know-hows, that a genuine work of art can be created, beyond the cleavages existing between art and craft.

Remaining faithfull to this demanding framework made of rigor and surprises (the reaction of materials is always uncertain and random), Robert Mazlo aims to push the boundaries of his discipline. He thus fuels his works with the richness of his imagination and his infinite love for Art, punctuating them with references to the masters that have shaped his artistic sensibility.

“The first seventy-five years of the life of an artist the hardest to go through“…

Villon-Duchamp (1875-1963)

While remaining in the jewellery tradition (using old cut gemstones, complex and sophisticated textures, green gold alloy) but without complete respect to the traditional hierarchies of value, his works combine rough and refined materials, heterogeneous elements, both precious and antique, profane  and religious. As an adept of the art of assemblage, he re-contextualizes and recycles fragments of broken or abandoned jewellery, to give life to aesthetically hybrid works, filled with a symbolic dimension, where both Man and jewellery are just links of a perpetual recycling process.

For Robert Mazlo, it is not so much about revolutionizing jewellery and breaking down idols than  returning to fundamentals, by trying to draw up a bridge between his contemporaries and the sacred and talismanic value of jewellery.

Céline Robin

Exhibition curator

Seven lives…