17th July – 28th Sept 2008

NOW & THEN
Antique meets Contemporary


‘Citychain’ and ‘Treechain’ – necklaces in silver, ethical gold and wood
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Silke Spitzer

'Blessed are the meek - for they shall inherit the earth'
Mountain speech, (Matthew 5:5).

Even though I wouldn't call myself a religious person, it is exactly these words from the mountain speech of Matthew that made me realize that to me this is the major task my generation is facing:

How can our crazy hungry civilisation slow down and become able to eventually inherit the earth?

How can my work as a jeweller known for its' rare, expensive, conflict- based material become at least a very small part of a healthier society...and also become again more filled with content than filled with value?

What are the major questions we are facing?

Civilisation and Nature

In my 'Citychain' necklace you can see how our civilisation found a way to settle and shelter themselves in houses, clutching together in big cities, to become even safer and more powerful. But my city is round, it is flowing, the houses are small and each one is still individually shaped, combining the metal with the warm shaped wooden houses as an idea of a natural repetition.

A natural repetition like you can see in my 'Treechain' necklace, individually cast twigs, each one grows only once, the shape will never be the same again, and still each one is perfect. The 'Treechain' is also a symbol for the tree: a perfect example for a healthy way of living: taking breaks in winter, blooming again in spring, growing and delivering fruits in fall to calm down again in winter... and also the tree is not only growing higher and higher, it is also growing thicker, getting more substantial every year....

Sustainability

A definitely major problem we are facing is the exploitation of the earth: As a jeweller I am especially aware of the exploitation of gold that is causing major health and environmental problems, plus in the latest days it is a big source of crime and suffering because of its rareness and high value.

Since late 2007 I am only using fair traded gold that comes from an Argentine river for my 'one of a kind' pieces. Also I am trying to use gold mainly as a supportive technical element, supporting the piece through its wonderful colour and its powerful magic.

I am also trying to use other sustainable or in contrast conflict based materials like ivory (the one I use is licensed which means officially traded) to start a dialogue. The contrast of two material is very impressive: The natural ivory: it is beautiful, strong, very flexible, perfect and if we are treating the animals right, luckily it will still be available in small portions. Linoleum: is a man made product, 85% sustainable (linol-oil and pigment), comes in beautiful colours and smells good. But it is never as strong as the natural material, but in contrast can be used in bigger portions.

Biodiversity

Another big problem is the loss of biodiversity that is keeping our ecosystem running: in my work it is the 'Drunken Birds' that are standing for this problem: they come as different varieties of the species bird, but they are upside down, and we don't know if this is actually funny or sad...

Biographical Details

Artists taking part in Power & Politics are: Ruudt Peters; Laura Deakin; Inger Larsen; Silke Spitzer;
Anti-War Medals
by Susanne Matsche; Emily Bullock; Susanne Osborn.
Power & Politics Antique pieces. Other themes: Memento Mori; Sentiment & Sex; The Lighter Side.