L’ÉCOLE Asia Pacific, School of Jewelry Arts, presents “Men’s Rings, Yves Gastou Collection” exhibition, the unprecedented collection of men’s rings which belonged to the late Yves Gastou, the respectable French collector and antique art dealer known for his pioneering taste and passion for art, design, and furniture. After a successful debut in Paris in 2018 and Tokyo at the beginning of 2022, “Men’s Rings” will be presented to the Hong Kong audience from September 5th 2022 to January 31st 2023, the fifth exhibition held by L’ÉCOLE Asia Pacific in K11 MUSEA.
“At L’ÉCOLE, our mission is to welcome the public to discover jewelry in all its diversity of expressions and eclecticism in beauty. We are thrilled to bring the third travelling edition of such a singular exhibition to Hong Kong and to invite its community to embark on the collecting journey of a fascinating gentleman who called himself a ‘voyou chic’.” said Élise Gonnet-Pon, Managing Director of L’ÉCOLE Asia Pacific, School of Jewelry Arts.
The exhibition in Hong Kong will showcase a collection of rings that embodies a man’s 40-year passion. Over three hundred exhibits, spanning from rings of 17th century Venice doges, ancient Egyptian rings, 18th century enameled rings, 19th century “memento mori” skull rings, American biker rings of the 1970s, to rings by contemporary artists, will be beautifully displayed for guests to explore the many facets of this masculine jewel, worn by bishops and Emperors as well as by bikers and rockers.
The existence of Yves Gastou’s legendary collection of men’s rings remained confidential until the exhibition at L’ÉCOLE in Paris in 2018 unveiled it to public. It is his passion as a collector, obscured by his professional life as an antique dealer and gallery owner, that this exhibition proposed to discover. He built up this collection with accumulation, relentlessness and risk-taking, through his usual path as a treasure hunter (flea markets, public auctions, jewelers’ and workshops’ stocks), yet also through his travels. Reflections of his peregrinations, fragments of a carnal and intimate life (birth of children, testimonies of love), his ring collection is an endless novel of personal confessions, his great works and fascination that originated in his childhood and remained until his last days.
“It is an incredible opportunity to present my father’s collection of rings in Hong Kong. From his travels in Asia, he always kept a special memory for this region, particularly the theme of the dragon which can be found in the collection. I hope that the public will enjoy discovering the eclecticism of this collection and that more collectors will be born!” remarked Victor Gastou, son of the collector Yves Gastou.
The selection of rings for the exhibition is categorized into five unique themes to illustrate its diversity: History, Gothic, Christian Mystique, Vanitas and Eclecticism. The five sections are condensed from the book, Bagues d’homme (Éditions Albin Michel) , shaped like chapters so that the collection writes a novel, a story that visitors and readers will be able to discover throughout the journey. Each ring contains a story that links it to the collector and resembles him, to which he has identified himself, like so many small pieces of himself.
The exhibition will open to the public with free admission and guided tours available in English, Cantonese, and Mandarin. Pre-registration is recommended. Audio guide is available online, with both Cantonese and English versions specially narrated by the talented actor-cum-singer-cum-film director Mr. Stephen Fung Tak-lun.
In line with the exhibition, L’ÉCOLE will offer for a limited time a Beyond the Exhibition course titled “Men’s Jewelry Through Time: Towards Modern Masculinity” for visitors who are keen to go further on the topic of male jewelry and exchange with our experts. This two-hour program includes a classroom lecture and a private guided tour by an art historian, available only during exhibition period. The lecture will elaborate the cultural and historical aspects and share stories about modern menswear uniformization since 1820’s and how it transformed through time.