Amsterdam-based jewellery artist Gésine Hackenberg creates skillfully-crafted works inspired by the everyday household objects we often take for granted. Hackenberg expresses her ideas and concepts through an unusually diverse range of materials and techniques, and is best known for breathing new life into existing ceramic and glass tableware.
Objects of daily use often become intimately important and indispensable to people. What one keeps and owns, often contains an emotional value next to its practical function or worth. It even can be seen as a representation of its owner. Gésine Hackenberg
Gésine Hackenberg‘s love of ‘kleinoden’ or ‘little treasures’ is clearly evident, and their preciousness is at the heart of her ceramic jewellery series. If you treasure a cup or plate because to evokes special memories, why not transform it into an intimate piece of jewellery you can wear and appreciate everyday?
By cutting her Ceramic Jewellery directly from ‘significant‘ items of tableware, Hackenberg transposes the personal or historical essence of the object. A ‘ghost‘ of the jewellery is created by the holes left in the ceramic, enabling us to appreciate the original item in a new context. Hackenberg describes it as ‘an intervention in the original object‘. Ultimately, the two items become intrinsically linked – one would not exist without the other.
Hackenberg ‘upcycles’ mass produced domestic tableware, but she also repurposes collectable items such as Delftware. Recognition of the ‘the other life‘ or original craftsmanship of the object adds tension to her work – it also creates controversy. Is Hackenberg destroying an antique or increasing our appreciation of its value? Breathing new life into old ceramics certainly encourages us to revisit the past and appreciate traditional craftsmanship from a fresh perspective.
Tableware has always been central to Gésine Hackenberg’s work, and it is a theme she explores in a variety of materials.
Our featured work is from her Still Lifes series, a collection of jewellery inspired by the 17th century still life paintings of the Dutch Masters. Initially documenting mundane table settings, the subject matter of Still Life painting evolves mid-century to sumptuous and exotic banquet scenes.
The Dutch Still Life provides a chronicle of the Netherlands’ growing prosperity and dominance of world trade in Europe. Synonymous with the Golden Age, these paintings document the commodities that had an emotional and economic value to people of that time.
Hackenberg’s Still Lifes series is an interpretation of this classical genre, placed into the context of contemporary life.
Instead of painting, the medium is jewellery. Commonplace domestic glassware and vintage designer pieces (such as the Timo Sarpaneva glassware featured here in the Sarpaneva Still Lifes) are cut, ground and re-set as Modernist compositions with clean lines and complimentary colour palettes. Instead of hanging in a gallery, Hackenberg‘s Still Lifes becomes a wearable work of art, designed to be worn and displayed on the body. They are objects of our time and reflect what we are accustomed to seeing around us.
We have featured just a fraction of Gésine Hackenberg’s work in this article, and would highly recommend a visit to her website to view her jewellery collections in more detail.
About Gésine Hackenberg
Born in Germany, Gésine Hackenberg has lived and worked in Amsterdam for the past 15 years. Before graduating from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam in 2001, she was trained as a goldsmith and studied jewellery design at the Fachhochschule für Gestaltung Pforzheim (Germany). She has recently received her Master of Art.
Gésine Hackenberg is currently Visiting Professor at the MAD-Faculty in Hasselt (Belgium) and has been teaching technical metal-smithing classes at the Vakschool Edelsmeden in Amsterdam since 2008. She has received three grants from The Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture, as well as other awards such as the Stokroos Foundation Scholarship for Modern Silver in 2010 (combined with an exhibition at the Netherlands Zilvermuseum Schoonhoven). Her work is published in numerous international publications and included in collections such as the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (NL), the Victoria and Albert Museum (UK), the Mima Middelsbrough Institute of Modern Art (UK) and the Museum of Arts and Design, NY (USA).
To explore the work of this month’s featured artist in more detail, visit Gésine Hackenberg’s website >
Photos – all rights reserved: Gésine Hackenberg
- On 19th June 2013