Interview with Eva van Kempen

Interview  /  ArtistsBehind the Scenes
Published: 16.03.2016
Interview with Eva van Kempen.
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My conceptual jewellery line LifeLines is local as well as universal, as health issues occur in lives of humans from any country, region, religion, upbringing, status, race and so on.
Do you think that jewellery is being standardized? What is there of local and universal in your artistic work?
Apart from the obvious mass produced jewels, there are many goldsmiths and jewellery designers out there who produce work which is very similar. It's probably given in by fashion and zeitgeist. On the contrary there are even more, mostly conceptual, jewellery designers whose art and use of materials is very innate, refreshing and timeless.
My conceptual jewellery line LifeLines is local as well as universal, as health issues occur in lives of humans from any country, region, religion, upbringing, status, race and so on.

What do you expect when exposing your work to the public (for example with an exhibition)?
I don't expect anything apart from sharing my observations and opinions with visitors. However, I do hope that my work would influence at least one visitors' perception and experience of hospital materials.

Are other areas besides the jewellery, present in your work?
Next to recycling, my recent body of work (LifeLines) touches upon beauty, value, life, health, death, fear and trust.

The last work, book, film, city that has moved me was...
A book written by a Belgium writer Griet op den Beeck. "Kom hier dat ik u kus" - "Come here that I kiss you" is a novel about Mona, as a child, as a twenty-four, and the thirty-five year old. A story about why we are who we are. On parents and children. About broken people and how they unwittingly destroy others. Where responsibility and guilt begin and where it ends. About disease and silence. And of course also about love. Because that's all we have, or almost.

A place, space, country whose creativity surprises me...
I love Dutch landscapes as we have a lot of water. The way water reflects and mirrors the sky and direct surroundings, is like it's a window looking into another world. When I move passed a canal, ditch or pond these windows play off movies which always catch my attention.

Is there any designer, jeweller, artist, you appreciate a lot?
There are so many artists whom I appriciate and I don't even know all of them! If I can name just one, I will clandestinely mention a designer duo: GIJS + EMMY. In the late 60s Gijs Bakker (1942) and Emmy van Leersum (1930-1984) made a revolution with their avant-garde jewelry and clothing designs.
To be honest, I had never heard of them until there was a retrospective of their work in Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam in 2014. It was exactly the right timing for me to encounter their work as, while recovering from cancer and treatments, I was experimenting with hospital materials to get a grasp of what had happened. Seeing that exhibition was an encouragement to proceed with my work which later resulted in the jewellery line LifeLines.

Gijs Bakker, Stovepipe Collier and -bracelet, 1967, Fashion & Design by Emmy van Leersum.

What piece or work has given you the most satisfaction?
Unmistakenly that is Medication Port. It consists of the component of intravenous system which I had put aside for a long time, thinking it was the least interesting part. In the end it became one of my favorit jewels.

Eva van Kempen, Medication port, necklace, shoulder and back jewel, 2015, medication ports, pearls, imatation blood corals, cast silver medical parts, Photo Hugo Rompa

Do you read Jewellery Magazines? What is your source to get information?
I hardly read jewellery magazines. For me social media like Pinterest and Facebook are interesting ways to get information. And of course the internet as a whole.
Do you discuss your work with other jewellery artists or any other person?
I like receiving comments from different perspectives and approaches, therefore I discuss my work with fellow jewellery designers as well as with visual artists.
What is your first thought when you hear the word Future?, What do you expect for?
I hope to live healthily and long enough to nurture and raise my children and to become a grandmother. For my work I expect to keep on evolving.