Gésine Hackenberg, Joya 2017 jury member interviewed by Klimt02

Published: 30.05.2017
Gésine Hackenberg Gésine Hackenberg
Viktorija Domarkaite
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Gésine Hackenberg, Gingham Necklace, 2005. Silver, kitchen towel..
Gésine Hackenberg, Gingham Necklace, 2005. Silver, kitchen towel.

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I believe that the essence of jewellery is routed in very basic human needs and concerns. The domestic as well as food culture speak about identity and how one handles or deals with daily life. These are some key words in my work too.

Gésine Hackenberg is part of the jury members for JOYA 2017 (9th Edition) which will held at the Arts Santa Monica from 5th to 7th October.

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What pushed you to the direction of present creative theme?
My artistic practise is driven by a certain curiosity of how jewellery and everyday life intertwine, in particular the conceptual intersections between jewellery and objects of everyday life.

What one keeps and owns, often contains an emotional meaning next to its practical function or worth. Possessions, especially personal treasures, define and represent their owner. Jewellery is in particular an outward sign of values that are deeply rooted in the wearer, of what people cherish, in what they believe en what they desire. Wearing jewellery becomes in this sense the most intimate and direct form of showing a specific relationship to an object and inherent meanings.

Historical details about objects as well as classical topics of art and jewellery history serve as a thief source of inspiration. But in the same time it is important to me that those topics relate to my own contemporary context and experiences. The private intermingles with the universal and is recognizable. It allows identification for a wearer and viewer.

My works are based on traditional craft techniques combined with a range of materials such as (precious) metal, existing tableware and ceramic clay, glassware and in the past Japanese Urushi lacquer. Materials to me are always loaded with their context. My materials of choice come from the domestic and tell their own stories about preciousness and adornment.

Gésine Hackenberg. Broken China Spoons, 2007

Since 2 years I’m working on a new circle of works. The basic idea is to capture the shape and the energy that emerges from movement and rotation. I’ve focussed on clay as main material and the process of throwing on a potter’s wheel. Associations of whirling bodies or spinning tops merge with classical vessel shapes, materializing a certain concentrated state of mind that is inherent to the dynamics of spinning with a literal and metaphorical balanced center. The ceramic container turns into a vessel for the human spirit.
I’m right now trying to extend this idea in other materials like glass and metal lines.

Gésine Hackenberg. Swinging Out brooch, Earthenware, silver, remanium, 2016

Gésine Hackenberg. Swirling brooch. Earthenware, silver, remanium, 2016

Having in mind your creative path, how do you connect with this year Joya theme?
This year’s JOYA theme is ‘Gastronomy’. Gastronomy according to Wikipedia (sorry for this unreliable source!) ‘is the study of the relationship between food and culture, art of preparing and serving rich or delicate and appetizing food, a style of cooking of particular region, and the science of good eating’ (

I believe that the essence of jewellery is routed in very basic human needs and concerns. The domestic as well as food culture speak about identity and how one handles or deals with daily life. These are some key words in my work too. So in this sense there definitely is a relationship between my own work and this year’s JOYA theme since it is often related to tableware, to preparing, eating and celebrating life.

Gésine Hackenberg. Horn of Plenty. Silver,Copper, 2013

What are the outcomes you as a jury member are expecting in JOYA this year?
I want to see on a Contemporary Art Jewellery Fair like JOYA originality in idea and execution, ideally on some level innovation.

What I’m hoping for is to be able to see in some way a coherent artistic investigation regardless weather I look at unique or serial works. I believe very firmly in a collection, a group of works around a substantial topic that witnesses a certain dialogue between ideas, imagery and material. I have problems in placing one single work.

This investigation should be traceable in the translation of the idea as well as in the in the use, treatment and sensation of materials. The works themselves should respond to their function as jewellery.
I really hope to get surprised by something that I didn’t expect to find! I would love to find a treasure, the works of an artist that really touches me in the heart!

Though I will try to look through the applications as impartial as possible, I also have to use in the same time my instincts to judge. These are certainly driven by personal preferences and taste.
Weather a submitted work is convincing to me will be a hard thing to decide since I only will be able to see a selection of pieces per applicant on a computer screen during the jury…. I feel that this is a big challenge and responsibility.

How different becomes a perception to creations, while working in the field and while being a part of jury for it?
I believe that making and judging (whether as a jury member or a teacher) shouldn’t make a big difference. The criteria should be the same.

Whilst teaching at the PXL MAD School of Arts in Hasselt, Belgium, I had to formulate for myself quite sharp what my own focal points are and what I believe that is important in the creative process as well as the finished pieces.

Gésine Hackenberg, Whirling Body 5 necklace. Stoneware, silver, silver chain, 2016

What particular aspect of upcoming Joya Barcelona is raising your interest the most and why?
As a North European I am very aware that I’m most familiar with only a small part of the contemporary jewellery planet. I am looking very much forward to explore also a bigger part of this community from Mediterranean areas and beyond. I am curious to see in how far JOYA differs from other events in Northern Europe like for example the Munich Jewellery Week or the Sieraad Art Fair in Amsterdam. I hope to meet different topics, different mentalities and different sensibilities to the material world.

It is also a one of these excellent opportunities to meet colleagues from around the world, exchange, discuss, collaborate and party with. I really believe that those events are extremely important.

Next to its social part, JOYA is a commercial fair that offers a sales platform to jewellery makers. There are not so many platforms like this and I wish everyone a good business.

If you have seen previous year winners or participants, where do you see JOYA going further?
To be honest, I have not had the chance to visit JOYA often. I have only seen it once in 2014 when I had a solo show at the lovely Klimt02 Gallery.

I do follow all kind of events on internet and social media but this year I have a nice opportunity to visit JOYA physically, look around me and sense the spirit.

JOYA is still quite young and I hope that it will be able to extend and professionalize even more in future in order to establish a strong platform for contemporary and innovative Jewellery. Also the off-programme is an important element in this. I hope it attracts more and more interested crowds, customers as artists.

So what else do you need? Everything is there: a vibrant event, the vibrant city of Barcelona and beautiful weather!