Initially fairly rugged, my jewellery has evolved over time towards more sophisticated bead cutting and gemstone quality. Fascinated by Mycenaean art, Etruscan goldsmithing, Sumerian and Babylonian necklaces made of gold beads and sculpted stones, I create my jewellery without trying to fit in with modern trends – ornament and simplicity are the two pillars of my creative process. The lavishness of the ornament, often intertwined and shimmering, is the counterpart of the purity, for they are inseparable.

The Yvonne Célina collection also led to three publications.
The first book is called La maison sans porte (The doorless house), a book of black and white silver photographs in which I staged myself and the jewellery in old houses. The other two booklets present two successive seasons of the Yvonne Célina collection, entitled respectively Yvonne Célina 1 and Yvonne Célina 2.

The book The house without a door is available for sale, you can get a preview here:

Locus gemmae - by Philippe Lepeut

« Toi qu’il faut déchiffrer, toi. » Paul Celan, Renverse du souffle

At first, I see you. Or to be more accurate, images of you diffracted in stones called «gems» and scattered in places you call houses without doors.

What I see are «you» in outfits that you label vintage, romantic or darker still. What I also see, and perhaps before that, are the movements of your face – dreaming, pouting, stern, offered, held back, hidden… You stand on the edge of something. That’s what I see.

I cradle in my hands a book that bridges two worlds. The Aegean nomad, barefoot in childhood, draws us into her world as a woman photographer, where the body is staged. Some gemstones and clothes are like stage costumes; interiors of which we only see the silent fragments of expectancy and lights. There are stories, for sure. Family stories, no doubt, as in every old house. And in the distance, deep in your eyes, there is the dancing spirit of the Mediterranean.
What I see first is you, and on closer inspection I notice the primary object reappearing from the mystery in which you had shrouded it. I see the jewels like those uninhabited houses, in black and white, bathed in light, sometimes feline, sometimes dull.

I see your jewels, but it is still you that I see. They mimic the movement of your body. You wear them in the light and they bear the colours of your dreams. They say we dream in black and white. Do you? Your jewels are the tips of your fingers, but that’s not enough. We must widen the shot and brighten the light. Your jewels have a movement, a flow from you to us, from the one to the other. Through them and our gaze, we brush against the skin without ever losing sight of the elegance of their shine and their arrangements. They are flesh without ever ceasing to be stone. But that is not enough. The stones transform us, they modify us and your art lies in the montage which combines the hues, the shine and leads us into chromatic regions where geometry calls for geography and a silent gaze.

To speak of a silent gaze is not to remove all expression from our eyes, but to enhance their vision with inner silence and the time it takes to behold. Silence rests in the eloquence of the shared experience of a form. We do not always know it, but jewellery is worn by two people, you and I who sees it on you. We silently share this experience, you and I, I mean us. For you the sensuality of feeling the gems on your skin, for me the brilliance of the gems that make you radiate; for you the brilliance of my eyes in which they are reflected, for me a sensual flow of light in the depths of my irises. One would be compelled to describe the silence of a beauty that seizes you like the contraction of a wave that is about to expand, but that would not suffice, not yet.
I see you and you stand on the edge of worlds. These jewels elegantly arranged in a neutral light, photographed for themselves, lure us in, a deception that tells of their genesis in the recesses of your life. Your stories arranged in gems dive into your family history. Summer holidays on a Greek island and the original cave. What I see now is the other side of your world where art mixes with sensual memories of the East and stories of princesses and fantastic passions. Tribal and polished stories where stones are animated by invisible forces, where tears become diamonds.

I see you as a witch and a seer, sometimes drifting from one world into another. I remember seeing The Host, a film you shot in Tajikistan and at your home in the Vosges. This film touched me deeply by its simplicity, close and distant at the same time, and by what I saw as an intrusion – the introduction of the Vosges into the Tajik world. And this fits, in another way, with your particular way of merging spaces and temporalities to make jewels.

What I now hold in my hands is not the presentation catalogue of a collection, but an old house with many secret rooms. Your gems assembled in jewels sculpt the contradictions of desires with the beauties of the world.
There is something about this images that holds us at bay while drawing us in.

Couverture du livre

‘The house without a door’:

This book features some photographs taken in collaboration with the artist Philippe Paret in 2010. At the time, I asked him to take pictures of me wearing my jewellery in unusual places – it was my first collection. We chose old houses, neglected locations, or even places in a state of flux to stage our photographs.

Silver photographs: Philippe Paret
Text: Philippe Lepeut
Graphic design: Anne-Céline Bossu et Noëlle Guillot
Print: Inpressco imprimeur & créateur