I admit I’d never heard of Suzy Solidor.
She died many years ago yet the memory
of her full and satisfying life has inspired a
jewelry exhibition lauding her drive and spirit.
Mirror-Mirror is currently showing at Velvet da Vinci
in San Francisco, California.
Originally on view last month in
Cagnes-sur Mer (near the French Riviera),
Mirror-Mirror is described as an exhibition
in homage to Suzy Solidor (1900-1983).
A singer, model, writer, actress and nightclub owner
Suzy Solidor was an iconic figure of the
Parisian nightlife during the thirties and forties.
Two of the many things for which she
was known included posing for some of the most
celebrated artists of the day (Pablo Picasso,
Georges Braque, Jean Cocteau and
Tamara de Lempicka), and collecting over
200 paintings done of herself.
Let's just say she had a very high opinion of herself.
This jewelry exhibit is described as,
Twenty-nine artists from fourteen countries have accepted our invitation to study - and creatively respond to - the life of Suzy Solidor. We believe that their propositions constitutes a tribute to her singular life, and that they are best read in dialogue with the paintings presented in the Castle. A distorted mirror of that collection of portraits, this collection of objects prolongs it (some of the jewels are portraits themselves) but 'exceeds' it as well. Indeed, the practices represented in Mirror Mirror (jewellery, object, installation) are not mimetic; their point is not to resemble the 'sitter', but to outfit her fictions of identity: "I am a pirate / a singer / a (wo)man eater / a brittany gal who fled her native Saint-Malo…the better to ply Parisians with nostalgic shanty songs." The conceit that this jewellery is for someone specific in turn allows the makers to pretend that it is someone's: their pieces at once designate and invent new Suzy fictions. What better medium indeed than jewellery to fuel her mild mythomania?
As a side note, I could not resist including
this 1932 photo of Suzy Solidor
wearing bracelets that were created
for her by Coco Chanel.
See more of the Mirror-Mirror exhibition
at Velvet da Vinci's website.