Métiers d'Art

Timeless Icon – 75 Years of Serpenti

3 min read

Image courtesy of Bulgari

This September, Maison Bulgari unveils their Serpenti – 75 Years of Infinite Talesexhibition in Dubai, a journey through the origins and history of the forever fascinating collection, combining jewellery and artistry as the Maison presents the next new chapter in the continuing evolution of the Serpenti collection.

This exhibition invites guests to discover the deep and enduring bond between Serpenti and the world of art, emphasising the amalgamation of ancient totems and contemporary art; the Maison has lavished their extraordinary craft upon this beautiful jewellery, creating a mesmerizing new take on the ancient and viscerally enthralling symbol of the snake.

A special selection of the most iconic Serpenti creations – assembled by the Bulgari Heritage collection and the Maison’s historical archives – demonstrates the unique synthesis of the Serpenti collection’s heritage, innovation and remarkable craftsmanship across three quarters of a century, stretching all the way back to when Bulgari first unveiled Serpenti in 1948. The event will also see the reveal of new, exclusive High Jewellery creations, made in tribute of Serpenti’s 75th anniversary and embodying Bulgari’s ingenious fusion of the Italian art of living and distinctive aesthetics that have produced countless timeless creations.

The event has also seen the Maison commission several art pieces to celebrate Serpenti’s 75th anniversary, all inspired by the iconic Serpenti collection.

Foremost among these commissions, Refik Anadol’s eponymous Serpenti is an imaginative and inspiring combination of technology and art; an incredible multimedia installation – generated by artificial intelligence – resulting from algorithms trained with 200 million images of nature. By interpreting the idea of metamorphosis as a transformation of one form into another, the award-winning media artist and director converts the natural world into digital data, before transforming the same data into abstract, poetical imagery, which is shown together with the Serpenti collection in an immersive experience. At the same time, Rainforest Serpenti – a new fragrance, again developed by artificial intelligence – permeates the installation space, adding a further dimension to this multi-sensory journey.

Images courtesy of Bulgari

Additionally, the exhibition will play host to the Serpenti Factory. This specially created initiative brings together a trio of local artists to deconstruct and reinterpret the distinctive elements of Serpenti’s creations, each in their own creative language and artistic medium.

For her collaboration with Bulgari, designer and henna artist Dr Azra Khamissa takes inspiration from the resilience of the Bedouin, drawing parallels between their adaptability and the snake’s ability to survive in harsh conditions. Using natural henna, she builds a connection with previous generations and cultures. Through her detailed backgrounds, depicting breathtaking landscapes from across the United Arab Emirates, Khamissa hopes to inspire a desire for both exploration of and reflection on the perfection of God’s creation in those who view her works.

Spoken-word poet and founder of the Untitled Chapters writers’ collective Dr Afra Atiq has created a new poem inspired by specific Serpenti pieces – the Viper necklace, the Tubogas watch and the Serpenti bracelet – and Serpenti’s themes of timelessness and graceful power. Through these elements, Atiq’s poem appeals to the notion of continuity, taking typical snake imagery and metaphors in a new direction, particularly the idea of personal growth being akin to a snake’s outgrowing of its old skin, celebrating the journey of self-discovery.

Jewellery designer and sculpture artist Azza Al Qubaisi’s work is closely linked with her homeland – the United Arab Emirates – and draws inspiration from the natural landscape of the UAE. Embracing the shapes, patterns and textures of the desert, she has created pieces from various materials, including gold, silver, palm fronds, mild steel and stainless steel, encapsulating the aesthetic sensibilities of her own culture and the technical skills passed down through generations.  Drawing from nature, rather than capturing the snake itself, she seeks instead to evoke the creature’s environment and sense of movement, allowing Qubaisi to focus on storytelling, intertwining past and present.

Open to the public from 15-24 September 2023, at Dubai’s DIFC Gate Building, Bulgari’s Serpenti – 75 Years of Infinite Tales exhibition is a joyful celebration of a brand that has defined the craft and industry of jewellery for the best part of a century, as well as an exciting look forward to what comes next.