Ready-To-Bear. Inside-Outside Jewellery by Eva Van Kempen

Published: 03.01.2018
Eva Van Kempen
. Photo by Museum de Fundatie Eva Van Kempen
Photo by Museum de Fundatie

Martine France Delfos
Edited by:
Edited at:
Edited on:
Exhibition: Ready-To-Bear by Eva van Kempen, 8 September 2017 - 11 February 2018.
. Museum De Fundatie, Castle Het Nijenhuis, Heino/Wijhe, Holland.
. Photo: Museum de Fundatie..
Exhibition: Ready-To-Bear by Eva van Kempen, 8 September 2017 - 11 February 2018.
Museum De Fundatie, Castle Het Nijenhuis, Heino/Wijhe, Holland.
Photo: Museum de Fundatie.

© By the author. Read Copyright.

A goldsmith, an experience, an idea, an inspired concept.

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Eva van Kempen was born on November 30, 1976 in Rotterdam. She has trained as a goldsmith in Schoonhoven, The Netherlands. She makes jewellery with the idea of wearing beauty, to decorate the body and to accentuate its beauty. She works passionately and creates beauty from sustainable materials.

Alternative wedding rings: Spiral of love, 2008. Materials; sterling silver, 18 ct. yellow, red or palladium white gold.

And then Eva van Kempen is confronted with illness and with being saved.

She perceives the hospital materials with her goldsmith's eye and feels the deep, inner beauty of saving lives. The materials have been used, they have become redundant because they have fulfilled their function. These materials have saved a life, prolonged life, coped with a disease or relieved pain. They are left behind, forgotten, discarded and thrown away.  These materials, with all their human-made power, have given the lives of people a new chance a power which sometimes fails. Eva van Kempen wants to pay respect to these materials for what they have meant.

Her heart is loyal to the magnificence that these materials have caused or tried to cause. Her artist's eye sees the beauty of this material and wants to animate the lifeless material.

An avalanche of contradictions arises:
sustainable - not sustainable
life - death
new - old
hard - soft
ready for use - consumed
inside - outside
perishable - imperishable.

She connects these contradictions in jewellery.

She experiences the mesmerizing relationship between the inner body and the outside of the body in its restoration to the full glory of life. She feels the connection between the inside and the outside of the body.

Then she lets the hospital tubes glide through her hands. Transparent, soft and strong. The commitment to life: the infusion. With the patience of a saint and with perseverance she cuts oblique slices - tilted as is the neck - the unexpectedly sturdy and yet soft material into a point. She also makes oblique slices of liquid silver ending in a sharp point crowned by a freshwater pearl. The material from the hospital is combined with the material of the goldsmith. There is a harmony between natural and human-made materials.

Clasped around the neck the choker, a word that is closer to death than to life. It is the hospital material that provides space, breathing space. Soft hospital tube material with the shiny strength of silver.

Choker: Angled slices, 2017. Material: medical tubes, silver, freshwater pearls. Photo by: Hugo Rompa.

Museum De Fundatie invited Eva van Kempen to design a number of pieces of jewellery for sculptures of the museum. The first piece of jewellery Eva van Kempen puts into place is the choker around the neck of the portrait of Maria Lani. The strength of the bronze slightly withstands the slanting slices. Around the neck of the living woman, the skin gives more transparency to the oblique slices.

Left: Charles Despiau. Portrait of Maria Lani, 1929. Material: cast bronze. Museum de Fundatie collection. Photo by: Hugo Rompa.
Right: Eva van Kempen. Choker: Angled slices, 2017 on
bust. Photo by: Hugo Rompa

Man is able to conceive new life, wants to conceive life or chooses not to conceive new life. And then there is the confrontation with human destiny, with the desire to conceive but not being able to do that. But mankind  does not let challenges stand in its way:
To provide life, create life, medical conception arose as a provelution: IVF, in vitro fertilization.

The glass syringes are used to inject Decapeptyl into the woman, preparing her for IVF. The plastic rods with gold and pearls become sun rays around the neck of the 'portrait of a young woman'.

Left: Bé Thoden van Velzen. Portrait of young woman. Material: cast bronze. Museum de Fundatie Collection. Photo by Hugo Rompa.
Right: Eva van Kempen. Necklace: Decapeptyl, 2017. Material
glass syringes for hormone injections when preparing for IVF treatment, plastic dispersion sticks, 14 and 18 k yellow gold, 14 k red gold, freshwater pearls. Photo by Hugo Rompa.

The purpose of jewellery is to increase beauty, to decorate, to make something more than it is, to do it justice. But when it is about illness and the fight for life, and you can show that it becomes a tribute to life.

The material from neonatology, destined to save lives that is premature and has just been born, wraps itself around the body like a garland that celebrates the body itself

Into the insufflation tubes for the tiny nose and the minute nozzles for the mouth with which milk is gently injected, injection needles are inserted with pearls.

In the jewellery, they are draped over the breast like visible mammary glands. What should have continued to grow inside is now visible on the outside.
In this way, the hospital materials take the form of a wreath of honour around the body. Eva van Kempen connects life and death in a fête of life.

Eva van Kempen. Necklace (detail): Neonatology, 2017. Parts of ventilator and feeding system for premature babies, hypodermic needles, catheter, freshwater pearls, chrysoprase, rose quartz, silver, silk on Torso (1930) by Charlotte van Pallandt. Photo by: Hugo Rompa.

Jewellery adds something precious to the body, with the medical material the pieces carry the weight of the beauty of life itself and they give the body an extra dimension of beauty. The life that can be chosen and does not take you by surprise, but can be welcomed.

Left: Charlotte van Pallandt, Truus, 1955. Material: Cast bronze, Museum de Fundatie Collection. Photo by Hugo Rompa.
Right: Eva van Kempen. Necklace detail: T-Safe, 2017. Material: Copper IUD, cameo (agate), freshwater pearls, hand-carved mother of the pearl roses, faceted sunstone, 14 k yellow and red gold. Photo by Hugo Rompa.

The contraceptive pill that gives the woman the power to make her own choice about the creation of life becomes a chastity belt to which she has the key.
Where the jewellery makes the person more beautiful, the medical material reminds us at the deep level of procreation, that mankind itself has the ability to decide about creating a new life. The torso that stretches her arms up high in praise of the freedom of choice.

Left: Geert Marree, Torso, 1962. Material: cast plaster. Museum de Fundatie Collection. Photo by Hugo Rompa.
Right: Eva van Kempen. Chastity Belt: She Decides, 2017. Material: Superfluous contraceptive pill strips, PVC foil, freshwater pearls,18 k yellow gold, 14 k red gold, steel, brass, artificial leather. Photo by Hugo Rompa.

Blood, the nectar of life. Collected in tubes to understand life.
On the bust of Charlotte van Pallandt, the tubes almost coincide with the impressive person depicted.

Left: Charlotte van Pallandt, Jeanne Bieruma Oosting, 1976. Material: cast plaster, Museum de Fundatie Collection, Photo by Hugo Rompa.
Right: Eva van Kempen. Necklace: Lithium-heparin, 2017. Material: plastic blood tubes with freshwater pearls in lithium heparin gel, dichroic foil, blood tube caps, opal,
pencylcap needles, hypodermic needles 60 mm, plexiglass, Herkimer diamond, freshwater pearls, nylon. Photo by Hugo Rompa.

Deep inside the body the stent keeps the vein open and allows the blood, the ultimate elixir of life, to pass through. The human escapes death. Just as the stent was blown into the fuse, this stent blows life into a man whose life was contracting. The stent becomes an integral part of the body.

Eva van Kempen forms an allegory of this medical beauty with a ring. A ring for the ring finger, which captures the promise of living together for better or for worse. External and inner beauty become connected again through celebrating life.
Eva van Kempen. Ring: For Better or Worse, 2017. From series: Ready-to-Bear. Material: stent, glass fuse, silver. Photo by Hugo Rompa.

About the author

Martine-France Delfos. Dr. Martine F. Delfos is a biopsychologist and literary savant. She is a scientist, therapist, professor and writer. Delfos is the author of numerous publications within the field of psychology, which have been translated into different languages. She has also written literary books on several artists.
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