Gesine Hackenberg

The golden cut, 2006
Ceramics, Urushi lacquer, textile, gold leaf, silver

In Japan broken porcelain is restored with the aid of Urushi lacquer and
gold leaf. The old porcelain becomes even more precious with
restorations like these, executed by skilled artisans.

Gésine Hackenberg is interested in everyday objects and how we handle
them. She treasures things we use and have nearby. Some years ago
she took up learning Japanese Urushi lacquer technique from a female
Japanese master living in the Netherlands. Urushi lacquer, applied layer
after layer (up to 30 different ones), is mostly known in black, red or
gilded. This complicated, age old technique which is dependent on a rare
material and specific climate conditions, is difficult to learn. Gésine
succeeded only to a certain extent, but she prefers to use this technique
rather in a metaphorical way than in the perfectly skilled Japanese way –
not from idleness but as a result of a Western way of thinking. After all
mastering the technique would probably take up ten years or more, and
would suppose a career as an Urushi master which is not her ambition.
She only borrows this exotic technique to emphasise the preciousness of
everyday objects.

This broken plate is restored with an element of Urushi lacquer which
was then covered with gold leaf. The two pieces of the plate can actually
be joined together again, but the joining element can also be worn as a

Liesbeth den Besten

Gésine Hackenberg (b. 1972 in Mainz, Germany), is a jeweller who lives and works in Amsterdam.




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