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Arts of Europe

The MFAH collections of art created on the European continent encompass artistic styles across the time line of history, from the ancient world to the Middle Ages, and the Early Modern era to the 21st century.

© Janna Syvänoja
Finnish, born 1960
Book paper, metal, cloth board, and fiber cord

3/16 x 15 inches

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Museum purchase with funds provided by the Design Council, 2003

Arts of Europe

Janna Syvänoja's jewelry emits a strong graphic quality as well as a fragility transmitted by its loose sculptural constructions. In this necklace, each slice of a book bears the same footprint, and when fanned out, the individual shapes are accentuated by their placement. The surface patterns on the piece—a common decorative device of Syvänoja's—are made by the printed words on the pages.

Syvänoja manipulates her materials without preparatory sketches to determine the composition. Instead, she prefers to experiment with structure and form. Drills, fretsaws, glue, and a sewing machine are the tools Syvänoja employs to achieve her desired effects. The purpose of her work is to comment on recycling and the ecological fragility of the environment. She has said that she wants "to continue the life span of material, to bring forth what had once existed, and to demonstrate new connections. My works are prolonged moments. They ask the viewer to see the beauty of everyday life and to accept the marks made by time."