The Form Of Void
What are the properties of a void? What defines and creates a void? How to define emptiness? And is an empty space automatically a void? It is these questions that make up the theme I am working on.
If you consider a void a space then it has a close connection to architecture.
The pendants, one of the results of my research, are hollow shapes that might guide one's associations to rooms, buildings, roofs or to parts of architecture in general.
With their fragile walls they create voids.
Part 1: Jewelry and space/architecture
In order to define a space, however, you need some kind of boundary. The way I have chosen to display this boundary originates from my earlier series “Stones” and “Covers” in which I also built up a construction of PVC dots around a core.
With regard to the voids I likewise work with a core that I shape from styrofoam. Around this core I then raise walls of PVC dots. After the construction of the walls the core is removed and thus turns into a void itself. The core makes room for emptiness.
The forms that are created this way refer to architecture. The perspective can vary. The only specifications are the boundary that makes the emptiness visible as well as a sense of space with reference to architecture.
The buildings of the Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid (1950-2016) with their complex and dynamically curved linearity serve as an inspiration for my form-finding process. Her buildings are independent objects, which appear to me like large shells or huge jewels on the body of the earth. To think about void space in her buildings seems abstract, but it is fascinating to imagine their inside as hollow and deprived of any function.
My jewels developed by means of this process could refer to many kinds of spaces or architectonic fragments: to high towers, showcases, flat tent constructions, to roofs, chimneys, silos etc.
What is visible are the walls of these spaces with their structures reminding one of bricks or mosaics as well as of shed animal skins with fish scales or swirls, of leaf structures or similar geometrically built up patterns, which repeat themselves.
It is the skin of the space, the boundary, which makes the emptiness visible and carefully clasps it.
The voids are located inside these skins, partially turned outward, partially hidden on the inside.
Part 2: The Heaviness of Void
My second approach to the theme of void focuses on the absence itself and is thereby closely connected to the ideas behind Rachel Whiteread’s work.
Rachel Whiteread shows a void by filling cavities. Her negative molds show spaces by the simple act of turning the invisible into something visible.
The power of the emptiness, visible in massive concrete, overwhelms you and points out your position towards it.
Since I engaged with jewelry I have been focusing on small objects which have a close relation to the body.
I started out by using an already existing jewel, one that is related to a specific person. My first choice was the wedding ring since no other jewel is connected so closely to one particular person. In my project the person who was wearing the ring in former times is not there anymore.
I proceeded by casting the inside of wedding rings.
The cylinder I achieved that way I put on top of a ring to give it the prominent place usually only a precious stone would get. Little details of the former ring like stamps that determine the metal, the place and year of origin as well as the engraver and goldsmith, are visible on the cast surface of the cylinder.
By showing the inside of the ring, i.e. the hole usually filled by a finger, the void, the absence of that one particular person, is clearly present at the same moment.
In my next approach I chose another object with a direct relation to the body, an everyday object that is used by everyone, the spoon.
As a universal eating tool, the spoon is strongly connected to the body, it is used in all cultures and is modeled like a cupped hand.
I cast the bowl of the spoon in aluminum that was covered with an anodized layer afterwards.
The result is a series of black pendants.
The pendants, due to their color and size, are reminiscent of heavy amulets. Depending on the initial shape of the spoons, however, some of them also resemble drops or tears. The anodized layer bears white spots that make you think of the stars in the night sky, the endless void above us.
Karin Seufert, November 2018