“The lightness of gold” by Moniek Bucquoye
It is an odd phenomenon that jewellery as a legitimate form of contemporary art has a strange origin. Most design museums have departments for graphics, glass, ceramics, furniture, textile design etc., but seldom for jewellery. It is mostly assumed that design is an industrial occurrence and therefore utilitarian. Traditionally jewellery has been
an ornamentation denoting status... even worn by witches! Jewellery art is far too little known which is why the Biennale Interieur has featured jewellery designers and galleries for many years. The Brussels-based jewellery gallery owner Caroline Van Hoek presents the young goldsmith Hermien Cassiers (1991) who explores the qualities of homemade
alloys of old gold. From the Italian master gold maker Giovanni Corvaja she learned how to
make strong and flexible fine wire from 18K alloy (silver, copper and gold). In order to create large volumes with a minimum of material, she needed to find light and open shapes. Her gold work therefore looks rational and mathematical and is mainly based on interlinking pleated gossamer threads or fine wire. These three-dimensional links create a structured chaos made of small elements and captured by a simple form. Visually and technically, the repetition of these links is an important aspect of the aesthetics of the work and the hand-made detail. The exacting process of repeated soldering, pleating, connecting and braiding is an important aspect of the aesthetics and in the creation of autonomous volumes of work.
Her style is minimal and ornamental through repetition. The highly sophisticated look results from her method of varying the weave of the links into exquisite wearable necklaces and bracelets. Rather than striving to make a statement, Hermien Cassiers creates anti-statements, voids with pleated wire. She explores the kinetic possibilities of golden arrangements based on a simple structural element that changes shape in the wearing, and which creates a symbiotic relationship between the wearer and the object. Each work requires hundreds of small elements which need to be soldered and combined, and each individual link is treated as an opportunity for creative play. Hermien Cassiers reveals an obvious love for gold which she transforms with strength, determination, feminine movement, and elegance. As Diane Vreeland (1903-1989), the celebrated fashionista observed: “Elegance is refusal, and refusal is seductive”.