Gésine Hackenberg’s work places ordinary objects of use in the perspective of jewellery. She reflects their emotional value and possible position on the body. Her pieces are based on craft techniques and various materials that tell their own stories about preciousness and adornment, like ceramic tableware, (precious) metal, Japanese Urushi lacquer and glassware. They refer to the validity of traditional themes and their heritage. In the same time, they merge concepts like jewellery, ornaments and objects of use. Her work is in the public collections of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, The Netherlands; the Victoria and Albert Museum, United Kingdom; the Institute of Modern Art, United Kingdom; and the Museum of Arts and Design, New York City among others. This is her second solo exhibition at the gallery.
Gésine Hackenberg often gives objects a new and unexpected life by transforming them. In a way she is reusing and recycling material. She consciously isolates the various associations with objects that inhere material, pattern and shape to inspire her jewellery and yield a strong emotional impact with those objects.
In the “Ceramic Jewellery” series, she plays with deconstruction and reconstruction by drilling pieces out of earthenware, a material that is widespread throughout the Netherlands. It offers a whole universe of shapes, found in plates, dishes, and pudding moulds. These disc-shaped ‘beads’ are firmly threaded to (almost object-like) necklaces, or set into rings and earrings. The remaining ceramic material, with lace-like patterns in it, goes with the piece of jewellery.
The newest works in this new series use blue and white as the main colour palette. These colours are the most popular in ceramic production worldwide. In the Netherlands it is traditionally the Delftware that is hand painted in blue and white, and both a decorative and luxurious collector’s item. Faïence ware from the Koninklijke Tichelaar Makkum manufactory is painted with a wider spectrum. The plain white kitchen ceramics used in this collection come from a more daily context and include a decorative shape as a substitute for colour.
Gésine Hackenberg’s new works particularly raise the question whether the act of reworking on such precious objects has increased or diminished their value.