De Schoonheid van het Onmogelijke_2008

- Huycke, D., 2008, “De Schoonheid van het Onmogelijke”, Constant Hendrickx, (red.), Arck #2, Hasselt: PHL, 6-27 (Article in preparation of PhD, 2010)





This research project aims to discover, with the technique of granulation as case study, new meanings and metaphors in traditional processes and media and implement them in a contemporary way. It is a quest for methods where techniques and concepts from one discipline, the art of goldsmithing, will be transformed and applied in another discipline, the art of sculptural silversmithing. Granulation is considered one of the most important and magical techniques in the history of goldsmithing. It is a decorative technique in which tiny metal spheres, also called granules, are heat-fused to a metal surface without the use of solder, generally in an ornamental or figural arrangement. The main object of research is rather the metamorphic process of granulation into sculptural silverwork than the technique of granulation itself, which is the starting point and source of inspiration.

From the moment of its conception, in the third millennium B.C., until present day, granulation was almost entirely used for decorative purposes. The first point of departure in this project is to bring into question this ornamental status and to concentrate mainly on granulation without a surface. In this sense the granule -the original ornament- loses its primary, decorative function and changes into the essential building material of the object; ornament becomes structure as well as the independent base of the work. The second approach searches for the expressive potential of the technique of granulation. The objects made within this framework will not necessarily be built up through granulation. Instead, the technique of granulation will evolve into concept and used as a subject matter which reaches beyond the technical aspects towards a poëtic dimension. Parallel with these two contexts this project searches for the artistic potential of imitation, a phenomenon that is present through the whole history of goldsmithing. In this light the ‘real’ materials and processes will be questioned.