Jean Lemmens and Siegfried De Buck or the foundations of contemporary silver work in Flanders

Their influence
In this short article, we will attempt to give an outline of both these protagonists of silver work who are participating at this Triennial. For the recent history of silversmithery in Belgium and Flanders, we refer the reader to previous publications1. In this article, we will limit ourselves to the period 1980-1995 and mainly discuss the designers/artists Jean Lemmens and Siegfried De Buck2. These two artists chose silversmithery as their specific artistic medium and field of activity and, for the last twenty four years3, have expressed themselves with originality and verve in creating work of a very high quality. For this they deserve to be commended. They both teach their skills at colleges of Higher Art Education. Their creative influence and their teaching efforts have contributed to enhancing the level and quality of jewellery design in Flanders over the last decade. They are rightly deserving therefore, of the special attention we wish to give to them during this first "Triennial for design". But let us first begin by giving a short survey of contemporary silversmithery in Belgium and Flanders until 1980. Until about 1965, the centre for training in the field of silversmithery was located in the French-speaking part of the country in Maredsous. Until its closure in 1964, this abbey school which, at the time, was led by Père Gregoire Watelet, was dominated by a spirit of freedom and creativity which was to continue further at the I.A.T.A.4 in Namur, thanks to some teachers from the former abbey school who had moved there along with the jewellery department. Here, Siegfried De Buck followed the training course for silversmiths. Shortly after - it is hard to give a precise date - the training courses at the I.A.T.A. became more technical. De Buck then continued his studies at the "Ecole des Arts Décoratifs de Strasbourg". In Strasbourg, he became acquainted with the work of Pforzheim5 through Van den Meulebroeke6, his teacher in silversmithery. Thanks to the foundation in 1968 of a jewellery workshop at the Royal Academy for Fine Arts in Antwerp, the epicentre for training in silversmithery had suddenly shifted to Flanders. Mark Macken and Wim Ibens were the founders of this "Atelier 35" (Workshop 35)7. Jean Lemmens was one of the first students to be trained there, along with Bent van Looij, Daniël Weinberger, Paul Gentils and Liliane De Moor. Before he graduated in 1971, Lemmens became an assistant to Wim Ibens. They trained a second generation of silversmiths among whom we can find Pia Clauwaert, Pascaline Goossens and Linda Liket who are all still active in the domain of contemporary art. When Weinberger decided to stop his artistic activities around 1988, Lemmens had already been appointed professor at the department of silversmithery at the Royal Academy for Fine Arts. He was the only one of his "class" (see above) who was still active as an artist and silversmith. Here, the emphasis is on 'artist'. He was still in search of himself and had therefore left the domain of conventional artistic silversmithery. On a teaching level and elsewhere, he became the spiritual and technological 'father' of numerous young silversmiths such as Sofie Lachaert, Henk Byl, Anne Zellien, Hilde Van Der Heyden, Thessa Goossens, Hilde van Belleghem, Joris Kuyl, the late and much missed Dominique Van Heddegem and so many others8. This role is not discussed in the literature about him because it seemed so obvious and therefore not worth mentioning. We have also noticed that there is, in fact, very little written about him. He prefers to keep a 'low-profile'.
During the school year 1986-87, Siegfried De Buck began teaching a course at the St. Lucaspaviljoen in Antwerp where he had given a series of guest lectures a few years earlier. In a relatively short time and thanks to the support of the school management and his colleagues, he succeeded in creating a new spirit at the completely re-equipped jewellery department. There was a new spirit of curiosity and research which stimulated the analysis of the essence of designing with metals and the techniques used. A serious attempt was made at getting as close as possible to the ideas on contemporary design in the mainstream of the international jewellery scene. Dirk Van Reppelen, Els Ongenae, Hilde De Decker and David Huycke are silversmiths who have graduated after his arrival and who are creating particularly interesting work today.
The influence of both silversmiths on contemporary jewellery in Flanders mainly results from their teaching activities. They did set the example in style and technique. There is no group of imitators. And that is important. The hand of the teacher is not perceptibly present in the work of his former pupils. No other Flemish silversmith has created lacquered items like Jean Lemmmens and no other Flemish silversmith has created the same kind of technologically inspired and streamlined jewels that are so characteristic of Siegfried De Buck's oeuvre. Nor would this be accepted. But their spiritual message of openness both inside and outside their trade, their incessant searching and their undogmatic attitude have stimulated the development of an interesting new generation of silversmiths. Jean Lemmens mainly defends jewellery as an artistic medium which in fact can be anything "ranging from tattoos to mutilations, the wearing of a bracelet or of an object."9 Siegfried De Buck is more concerned about the actual design of a jewel, the synthesis between technology and form, between function and form. They can both be considered as pioneers in the field of silversmithery and they have also trained a new generation of silversmiths. This particular artistic discipline had been kept alive for years already by Wim Ibens at the K.A.S.K.10, Antwerp and later at the National Higher Institute. Nevertheless, the fruit of their work only became visible in 1993 when nine out of the twenty one Flemish silversmiths who applied to participate in the European silver exhibition "A sparkling party", organised by the VIZO in the framework of Antwerp '93, were selected. During the international silver workshops, which were organised in September of that same year at the K.A.S.K, Antwerp and at Sint-Lucas, Antwerp, Jean Lemmens and Siegfried De Buck came to the fore as workshop leaders working in cooperation with Alberto Alessi (I), Alessandro Mendini (I), Andreas Fabian (D) and Gabrieli De Vecchi (I).
Moreover, they have both been active as mentors and members of the board of the World Crafts Council in Flanders.

Their oeuvre
Many connoisseurs are surely familiar with the work of both Lemmens and De Buck by now. Yet I think it might be useful to give a survey of their carreers.

Jean Lemmens
Jean Lemmens graduated in 1974 with his hand-made silver tea set (photo 1). A rather Baroque work, inspired by fruit, bones and leafs like most of his earlier works.11 Its tempestuous design is typical of his nature which on the outside is very serene, but on the inside can be unusually emotional and strong. He began his search quite early: "During his studies already, he took an interest in English culture, read John Ruskin, dressed in a very English way and drove in an old MG12". Yet there was more to it. As he says13, he was particularly interested in Art Nouveau, Art Deco and Japanese art. His friend and teacher in graphic art, Mark Severin collected Netsukes14 amongst other things and awoke Jean's interest in Japan - an interest which would later develop into a genuine love affair with the country. The nature of this country and its inhabitants matched perfectly with his own frame of mind. This love was to become apparent in his work. In 1978, he produced his first series of seven "Ronin", based on the story of the 47 roaming samurai who committed collective suicide. These pendants are sparkling and sometimes bizarre, but always made of precious materials. Their symbolism is linked to the saga of the "Ronin" in question (photos 2-8). They are made of gold, steel, sodium carbonate15, amethyst, flint, nephrite16 fossils, aquamarine, chrysoprase17, obsidian and even tribolite18. They evoke Japanese weaponry. They are beautiful and contemplative. A constantly recurring feature in Jean Lemmens' work is his search for beauty and symbolism. These two notions, which in our normal daily lives often become loaded and abused by vulgar commercialism where they are usually forced into in order to promote consumerism. Given everyone's need of beauty and symbols, they are, in fact, essential features of human spirituality. They are universal and when cherished and worked upon in an honest way, they can yield wonderful results. Or, as Jean Lemmens puts it: " ... Those objects of mine function best as contemplative elements in an interior of a home. They play an important role as beautiful object and therefore become an integral part of a living environment19."
Following the seven "Ronin", in 1980, he created a series of five circular pendants. They were inspired by the Chinese story "Monkey King". During the next five years, Jean Lemmens was little seen in public although he had not stopped his activities altogether. In 1981, he was appointed professor of "Workshop 35" at the K.A.S.K. Antwerp and travelled to Japan20, once in 1981 and again in 1983. Both journeys were for periods of several weeks or months given the fact that he was following lectures in lacquer techniques "at the workshops of Sagenji Yoshida and Kuniyoshi Taguchi, the latter being the successor of the legendary master Gonroku Matsuda"21. We will not go into these lacquer techniques here and kindly refer those wishing further information to the bibliography. His love for lacquer work dates from his student years. In 1983, Lemmens was introduced to Janine Schotsman-Wolfers and to the widow of Marcel Wolfers22. He was asked to restore a few pieces of lacquer work by Marcel Wolfers and this was to be decisive for him23. "I was particularly impressed by the European tradition in lacquer work, particularly the work done during the period between the two world wars by e.g. Jean Dunand, Marcel Wolfers and Eileen Gray. I wanted to continue this tradition, which had fallen into disuse, in my own, contemporary way24". We had to wait until 1985 before he presented his first, totally new work using Japanese lacquer techniques. Typologically speaking, his "Symbols of the Universe" resemble large neck discs, but they were presented in plexiglass supports. They are not meant to be worn. They were shown for the first time in 1985, at the international jewellery exhibition "Attitudes" at the ICC in Antwerp. This was the first lacquer work and since then his oeuvre consists entirely of it and of silver work. The three "Symbols of the Universe" have been handled on each side using a different lacquer technique: nº 1 had a "Roiro and Raden" (mother-of-pearl) side and a red and blue lacquer side; nº 2 has a "Negoro-nuri" (red-black) side and a side done in marbled lacquer; nº3 was handled on one side with "Skukinji" (gold and red background) and on the other with "Roiri-nuri" (blue-black). Let this suffice as a technical description. There is little mention of lacquers in the publications on his later works. Mentioning them here would divert us too much from our objective, especially seeing that this work is followed by a flood of objects, albeit in limited editions25. From 1986 onwards, he has created vases and dishes, five folding screens and a series of panels. The vases and dishes were put on display in 1986 and the folding screens and panels in 1988 at the White Art Centre in Sint-Martens-Latem26. A year later, in 1989, he designed a large lacquered dressing case with mirror and a lacquered comb for the project "Kammen. 100 haarkammen ontworpen door kunstenaars" (Combs. 100 combs designed by artists), at the Marzee Gallery in Nijmegen. In 1989 too, he started a series of tall lacquered vases (photo 5). Originally, there were to be 13 of them. Another 13 followed and finally another three i.e. a total of twenty-nine pieces. Their basic form - a spatial ellipse - was moulded in copper and then covered with several layers of lacquer. Unintentionally, the objects acquired the form of "lingam stones", phallic symbols from India. Each of these erect vases has its own individually designed foot, all bear a close resemblance to the formal language of the art movements he cherishes. There is very often a tension between the top of the vase and the foot, the slender body acting as a conductor of this tension. In 1990, Lemmens began projecting this basic form onto a horizontal surface. This resulted in a new series of nine and then three horizontal vases each with a lid (photo 4). These lids were first conceived as jewels27. Part of this project was exhibited for the first time during Interieur 90 at the ESIM "TReASHure isLAND" stand. All these objects were produced in the same contemplative manner. The best word to describe his lacquer technique is indeed contemplative or meditative28. He applies up to ten layers and more, the one on top of the other, lets them dry one by one and then sands and polishes them individually. All this takes several months per piece. Lemmens is therefore logistically compelled to work in series. During the second "Triennial of Jewellery-1990" in Paris, he presented a set of small hats29 in lacquer work and gold. He made five of them in total. During 1991-92, he undertook a very large work. He designed and built a boat (photo 6), covered with red lacquer which was meant as a shrine for a silver service (photo 7). The shapes of the service itself evoked small sailing ships. He has made five of these boats till now30. "Symbolically speaking, a boat is a means of linking two destinations. It has a certain poetry about it. It has something to do with eternity, peace, quiet, harmony. In its design, it also evokes harmony, peace and quiet by its almost mathematical symmetry. In its shape, it is highly monumental. And of course, a boat can be very beautiful, like two extended hands which are allowed to carry something over the endless waters31." In these works we can discern his fondness for and his contemporary interpretation of Art Deco. His latest lacquer works consist of a series of "Zeven Schonen" (Seven Beauties). These vases symbolize women from a number of regions: Africa, Malaysia, Ireland, Bhutan in the Himalayas, Japan, China and Micronesia and will be on display at this first "Triennial of design". They were also to be seen all together during the Spring of 1995 in Amsterdam at the "Louise Smit" gallery and in September 1995 during his important exhibition at "Artbox" in Waregem.

Siegfried De Buck
His biography, which was published recently32 at the occasion of his exhibition at the P.M.M.K.33, begins with him receiving his laureate for the 'Provincial Prize for Artistic Crafts of EastFlanders 1978" for silver and goldsmithery. We also consider this laureate as being the start of his career which, from that moment on, really began to take off. Before, he had produced jewellery in the tradition of his training in Maredsous and Strasbourg. His personality was already clearly present in the perfectionism with which he made use of the lost-wax-technique. Soon after he had received the above-mentioned prize, his real inventiveness began to emerge e.g. in his careful use of nonprecious materials such as plexiglass. In 1979, 1980 and 1981, he created the first jewels the design of which were based on the forms (bars and slices) plexiglass was available in. Their typology remains classical. They are long pendants made of plexiglass and inlaid in silver or gold and are worn high on the chest, thereby enhancing the female body. In this first series, he set the tone for all his later creations. Two elements were clearly foregounded and will never be absent from his work. He chose to create elegant, slender and typically female jewels, which he was to incessantly refine. Secondly, form was of the utmost importance to him, which was mirrored in his love for the more technical aspects of his craft. He studied new techniques and their limits with regard to new forms. The combination of non-precious materials such as plexiglass, steel, rubber, wood and - at a certain time - even elephant hair (see below) with rich materials such as silver, gold or gems is a recurring feature in his oeuvre34. He was always prepared to face the challenge of new technology35 although it does not dominate his work36. He is mainly preoccupied with whether a piece functions well technically37. It also give him great pleasure to win the challenges set by new technologies. Each piece is a gem to which he adds a new ingenious element of technology. The fasteners are integrated, the plexiglass is removable, extendable, exchangeable, etc ... He never accepts anything unless he has first tried it out in person. "A crafts product must be designed, produced and finished by one and the same person38." But there is more to it than the technique. Siegfried De Buck also adds an aesthetic dimension to his work. He renders his objects beautiful, he gives them a certain atmosphere. They are there to adorn39."

Making a form pure from a technical and aesthetic point of view, rendering it acceptable and beautiful is what really inspires him. He also makes use of symbols, but in a rather 'pragmatic' way: "Symbolism is not only about religion and other similar matters, it is a reflection of what you are, where you stand, with regard to yourself and to society ... You should not look for religious and political symbols in my work." he said40. In the summer of 1980, he presented some more pieces which he created using the lost-wax-technique at the "Metaal & Kunst" (Metal & Art) exhibition in Zwevegem41. He has not used this technique since. During the "Materies & Kunst" (Materials and Art) exhibition, which ran from November till December 1980 in Sint-Niklaas, he presents two pendants in plexiglass set in gold and silver but cut in the shape of a cast jewel42. Another outstanding example of this style is the ring in plexiglass and gold (see photo). In 1981, this development continued. "From then on he returned to the pure silversmith techniques, making use of materials such as black rubber, plexiglass and elephant hair43". "Thus, he obtained a rigid design which he submitted to a number of successful experiments. This resulted in the use of black rubber and transparent colourless plexiglass combined with gold44". It becomes the basis for a series of new jewels created from 1981 till about 1987, the most outstanding pieces of which are the extremely refined pendant and ring consisting of a circle and a triangle. The circle was made of black natural rubber and was set in a golden triangle (see photo). The jewels are worn on a black rubber string. In our opinion, this set is one of the classics of contemporary jewellery in our country and abroad45. Another brilliant piece of jewellery is the bracelet made of gold thread onto which a small bundle of elephant hair is fixed46 (see photo). It is very elegant indeed. 1983 was a very fruitful year for Siegfried De Buck. He made contacts abroad and "browsed through some literature"47; he was full of ideas and tried one experiment after the other. Internationally speaking, the Western industrialized world was confronted with the phenomenon of the "Jewellery Redefined"48. In 1982, the "British Crafts Centre" in Earlham Street in London presented an exhibition which temporarily turned the jewellery scene upside down, triggered off great discussions and gave rise to questions and ideas among designers on jewellery production. Non-precious materials, gadgets, knick-knacks, stamps, in short everything except precious materials, were all of a sudden introduced as the main materials of 'redefined jewellery'. Designers and artists from all disciplines were suddenly allowed to make jewellery. It was striking however that the best 'redefined jewels' were still being made by silversmiths. Siegfried De Buck had not been selected then, but he experienced the same artistic growth process. It represented a radical moment in his career49, without therefore triggering off a total revolution50 for him. He considered making sculptures51 and three years later, in 1985, he did so, but this would remain a unique event. The sculptures were based on a previous jewel of the year52. The creation of this sculpture was preceded by an experiment. In 1983, he constructed his "Juwelenpaviljoen" (Jewellery Pavilion) in which he presented jewels during Lineart 1983. The pavilion had the same basic lay-out and structure as the triangle/circle jewel of that year (see above). The space within was darkened and had a springy floor. The jewels were displayed in specially designed, triangular show cases. Moreover, he had some holographs made of his jewels. There was meditative music playing. The whole scene bathed in an atmosphere of alienation and questioning regarding the particular jewel53. At the same time, it was an experiment on the architectural aspect of jewellery. The "Jewellery Pavilion" fulfilled its purpose and was well received. In the course of 1984, he was asked to be a guest lecturer in the St. Lucas Pavilion in Antwerp. This was to be the careful start of his teaching career. In the school year 1986-87, he started teaching, be it part-time. He wanted to keep to the freedom of his workshop at all costs. In 1988, he introduced steel into his works (photo). For some time, he searched for the right sense of proportion in a series of bracelets and worked with tension and rough and smooth surfaces (see photo). In 1990, he once again created a highly refined piece: a ring in gold and steel, which he called "Bijou sauvage" (wild jewel - see photo). From 1993 onwards, he began working with wood and gold, but did not stop making jewels in solid. From 1990 onwards, he reintroduced silver work into his workshop. The reason for this was the challenge of participating in the ESIM's "TReASHure isLAND" stand during Interieur 9054. He then got to know Alberto Alessi who showed a genuine interest for his silver work. Next came his champagne bucket (1991), a coffee pot "Café bolide" (1992)55 and a chocolate box (1992). In 1993, his career experienced a boom, particularly as far as his silver was concerned and more generally as far as contemporary silver in Flanders was concerned. "A sparkling party", which was organised by the VIZO (see above), generated a lot of interest for this art discipline, both at home and abroad. Siegfried De Buck stole the show with his "Chocolate box". This gem has meanwhile been bought by the Museum for Decorative Arts in Ghent. He finally ended up making two of them, the last one in 1995. A "Chocolate nest", which dates from 1994, was bought by the Nationale Bank van België (National Bank of Belgium). It is striking to note that he has begun experimenting with things outside his discipline, in his most recent creations, He painted a service for Royal Boch for example, at the request of "Kafétee" in Ghent56 and designed a hand-tufted carpet for Vera Vermeersch57. The carpet design developed from a new approach to his own jewellery creations. In his retrospective exhibition at the PMMK in Ostend, he presented a small series of jewels based on the theme "the spine". "Before, everything grew as an automatic evolution of forms. Nothing was directly linked to a well-defined idea, philosophy or theme. As a designer, I functioned more as a catalyst that moulded all influences from the outside world into a new form. The idea of confronting a jewel with the body is new; not in the conventional sense, but by breaking through the stereotype duality: not on, but with the body. Michèle Franken has made striking photographs of compositions of the human body with jewels58."

Johan Valcke

Bibliography

This bibliography is not meant to be exhaustive, but refers the reader to works, magazines and articles which give a good additional picture of the situation in contemporary jewellery during the period 1980-1995.

C 1984 Lieven Daenens, Hector Waterschoot, Johan Valcke, Dirk Pruoost and Hugo Schilz, Siegfried De Buck, Museum for Decorative Arts, Ghent, 1984.

C 1994 Willy Van den Bussche, Johan Valcke, Alberto Alessi, Veronika Schwarzinger and Monique E.N. Bucquoye, Siegfried De Buck, Ghent, 1994. Published by the artist.

C 1985 Johan Valcke, Attitudes. Jewellery from Britain. Schmuck aus Deutschland. Sieraden uit Nederland. Juwelen uit Vlaanderen, ICC, Antwerp, 1985

C 1980 M.R. Bentein, Wim Ibens, Metaal & Kunst. Sculpturen/juwelen. (Metal & Art. Sculptures/jewellery), Zwevegem Town Council, Zwevegem, 1980

C 1989 Willy Van den Bussche and Johan Valcke, Hedendaagse juwelen in België (Contemporary Jewellery in Belgium), PMMK, Ostend, 1989.

C 1986 Johan Valcke, "Het juweel in België na 1945" (The Jewel in Belgium after 1945), p. 15 to p. 24 in Juweelkunst in België van Gotiek tot heden (Jewellery in Belgium from the Gothic Age till today), Gemeentekrediet and Museum for Decorative Arts, Brussels, 1986.

C 1987 Johan Valcke, Joalharia Contemporanea Belga, Foundation Caluste Gulbenkian, Lisbon, 1988.

C 1979 Vlaamse kunstenaars maken juwelen (Flemish Artists Make Jewellery), Stedelijk Museum, St. Niklaas, 1979.

C 1993 Johan Valcke, Christianne Weber-Stöber, Veronika Schwarzinger, Joris de Laet, Lou Janssen, A sparkling Party., VIZO, Brussels, 1993.

C 1990 Yves Le Mignot, Triennial du bijou 1990, Paris, 1990.

C 1980 W. Van den Bussche, H. Waterschoot, Hilde D'haeseleer, L. Daenens, Rainer Goksch, Materies & Kunst (Materials and Art), City of St. Niklaas and E.S.I.M., St. Niklaas, 1980.

C 1982 Diana Hughes, Sarah Osborn, Jewellery redefined, The British Crafts Centre, London, 1982.

C 1980 L. Theo Van Looij, Sieraden. Zilverwerk. Objecten (Jewellery. Silverwork. Objects, Royal Academy Of Fine Arts, Antwerp, Temse, 1980.

B 1995 Marjan Unger, Jean Lemmens, Art Box, Waregem, 1995.

A 1992 Johan Valcke and Pierre Dupont, Hedendaagse juwelen in België. Bijoux Belges Contemporains. Contemporary Belgian Jewellery, Mardaga, Liège, 1992.

T 1989 Dagtekening. Marijke Hilhorst spreekt met Jean Lemmens (Diary notation. Marijke Hilhorst speaking to Jean Lemmens), Elsevier, year of publication ?, nº ?, p. 83, city ?, 1989

T 1990 Johan Valcke, "Jean Lemmens", in Belgisch Kreatief Ambacht (Belgian Creative Craft), p. 35-37, 26th year of publication, nº 2, Economic and Social Institute for the Self-Employed, Brussels, 1990.

T 1995 Jan Walgrave, "Onder een huid van lak" (Under a Skin of Lacquer), p. 57 in Kunst & Cultuur (Art & Culture), February 1995.

T 1978 J. Valcke, "Momentopname Siegfried De Buck" (Snapshot of Siegfried De Buck), in Belgisch Kreatief Ambacht (Belgian Creative Craft), 14th year of publication, nº 6, Economic and Social Institute for the Self-Employed, Brussels, 1978.

T 1982 Johan Valcke, "Gesprekken met zeven juweelontwerpers. Hendrik Bijl, Luuk Christiaens, Pia Clauwaert, Siegfried De Buck, Octave Landuyt, Jean Lemmens, Paul Van Hoeydonck" (Conversations with Seven Jewellery Designers.), in Belgisch Kreatief Ambacht (Belgian Creative Craft), p. 4-26, 18th year of publication, nº 5, Economic and Social Institute for the Self-Employed, Brussels, 1982.

F 1986 Jean Lemmens. Hedendaags lakwerk (Jean Lemmens. Contemporary Lacquerwork), brochure of the "White Art Centre" gallery, Rectavit, Sint-Martens-Latem, 1988.

C 1984 Lieven Daenens, Hector Waterschoot, Johan Valcke, Dirk Pruoost and Hugo Schilz, "Siegfried De Buck", Museum for Decorative Arts, 1984.


















1 We refer the reader to the following works:
1. "Hedendaagse juwelen in België" (Contemporary jewellery in Belgium", Mardaga, Liège, 1992
2. "Hedendaagse juwelen in België (ibidem), Ostend, 1989
3. "Het juweel in België na 1945" (The jewel in Belgium after 1945) in "Juweelkunst in België van Gothiek tot heden" (Jewellery in Belgium from the Gothic Age till today), Brussels, 1986.
4. "Attitudes. Jewellery from Britain. Schmuck aus Deutchland. Sieraden uit Nederland. Juwelen uit Vlaanderen.", Antwerp, 1985.

2 There are two important publications on Siegfried De Buck:
1. "Siegfried De Buck", Ghent, 1984.
2. "Siegfried De Buck", Ghent, 1994.

3 In 1971, Jean Lemmens started to work as an assistant in jewellery design at the Royal Academy in Antwerp. In that same year, Siegfried De Buck opened his workshop as an independent jewellery designer.

4 Institut des Arts et Techniques Artisanales (Institute For Arts and Crafts)

Lemmens 1


5 Pforzheim is almost legendary in the field of contemporary jewellery. Pforzheim is located at the Southern edge of the Black Forest and is a centre for jewellery art and craft which was enormously innovative and highly influential at the beginning of the sixties. Thanks to the efforts of Reinhold Reiling and Max Fröhlich, the "Fachhochschule" there, which was specialised in fashioning precious metals, played a particularly important role in the creation of contemporary German jewellery. Some time later, they innovated the concept of the jewel in cooperation with the English and the Dutch. The world-famous "Schmuckmuseum" with its unique collection of contemporary European jewels and works in precious metals is located there.

6 Van den Meulenbroecke was trained in Pforzheim. (see Hector Waterschoot, "Siegfried De Buck", p. 12, Ghent, 1984.

7 "Atelier 35" (Workshop 35) was the title of an exhibition which ran from the 1st till the 16th of March 1980 at the town hall in Temse and later at the Antwerp Royal Academy Of Fine Arts (KASK). It was a group exhibition of 19 silver smiths who had all been trained in classroom number 35 at the KASK in Antwerp. We also refer the reader to the catalogue "Atelier 35", Antwerp, 1980. Of the nineteen artists then participating, the following are still active: Pia Clauwaert, Max Decock, Wim Ibens, Els Lemahieu, Linda Liket, Pascaline Goossens, Veerle Van Wilder, Irene Wuyts (restoration) and Jean Lemmens himself. Daniel Weinberger, who stopped working as a smith in 1988, will be presenting work again for the first time at this Triennial.

8 Around 1982, Mister Vergote, then director of the St. Lucaspaviljoen, took on Dominique Van Heddegem. Later Hilde Van Der Heyden, Henk Byl and still later Pia Clauwaert were also employed as teachers.

Lemmens 2 Lemmens 9

9 "Joalharia Contemporanea Belga", Lisbon, 1988.

10 Royal Academy for Fine Arts

Lemmens 7

11 "Onder een huid van lak" (Under a skin of lacquer), p. 57, Kunst & Cultuur (Art & Culture), Brussels, 1995.

12 "Jean Lemmens", Art Box, Waregem, 1995.

13 "Jean Lemmens", in Belgish Kreatief Ambacht (Belgian Creative Craft), p. 35-37, Brussels, 1990.

14 Netsukes are small artfully carved works which are used for tying ropes in Japan. These ropes were used to carry tobacco and medicine boxes.

15 Sodium carbonate Sodalite is a blue stone which is very similar to lapis lazuli, yet never attains the same beautiful blue colour. Sodalite is mostly used for inlay work (see the catalogue of "Vlaamse kunstenaars maken juwelen" - Flemish artists make jewels., p. 10, St. Niklaas, 1979).

16 Nephrite is a green-white mineral that comes in thin, transparent slices which are tough and hard as feldspar. It resembles jade (see the catalogue of "Vlaamse kunstenaars maken juwelen" - Flemish artists make jewels, p. 10, St. Niklaas, 1979)

17 Chrysoprase is a type of green opal (see the catalogue of "Vlaamse kunstenaars maken juwelen" - Flemish artists make jewels, p.10, St. Niklaas, 1979)

18 Fossil of an extinct crustacean. (see the catalogue of "Vlaamse kunstenaars maken juwelen", Flemish artists make jewels, p. 10, St. Niklaas, 1979)

19 "Jean Lemmens", in Belgisch Kreatief Ambacht (Belgian Creative Craft), p. 35-37, Brussels, 1990

20 Up until then, Jean Lemmens has travelled to Japan four times. In 1981, he went on a three week tour of Osaka, Kyoko, Nara, Tokyo and Kanazawa. In 1983, he worked for five weeks at the Tokyo University of Fine Arts. In 1992, he worked for four weeks at the Takaoaka Lacquer Centre and in seven different lacquer workshops in the Kiso region (central Japan). In 1995, he stayed in Osaka, Kyoto, Hamamatsu and Tokyo for two weeks.

21 "Jean Lemmens. Hedendaags lakwerk." (Jean Lemmens. Contemporary Lacquer-work), brochure of the "White Art Centre" gallery, Sint-Martens-Latem, 1988

22 His first contact with the Wolfers family was with the daughter Janine Schotsmans-Wolfers in 1983, just before his second trip to Japan. She was head of the "India and S.E. Asia" department of the Royal Museums Of Art and History in Brussels. After his first exhibition in 1986 (at the White ART Gallery, editor's note) in Sint-MartensLatem, he was invited to her home and met her mother Claire Petrucci (widow of Marcel Wolfers and daughter of the curator of the Cernuchi museum in Paris at that time. From then on they were close friends, until the death of Janine in September 1991 and of Madam Marcel Wolfers in 1994. (Personal note by Jean Lemmens, 6th of September 1995)

23 "Jean Lemmens", Art Box, Waregem, 1995

24 "Diary note. Marijke Hilhorst speaking to Jean Lemmens.", city?, 1989

25 He does not introduce any conscious numerology into his work. "Only in the seven Ronin, have I opted for seven instead of forty seven - based on Kurazawa's film "The seven samurai" - because this was the film with which he became known in the West. I already knew the film as a teenager and have always been very fond of it. Moreover, it is the custom in Japan to produce things in odd numbers. A service for example, consists of five pieces and not six. I suppose this has something to with the holy numbers of Buddhism." (Personal note by Jean Lemmens, 6th of September 1995)

26 From "Jean Lemmens. Hedendaags lakwerk" (Jean Lemmens. Contemporary lacquer work), brochure for the "White Art Centre" gallery, Sint-Martens-Latem, 1988, on the occasion of the exhibition with the same title which ran from the 22nd of October till the 18th of December 1988. The White Art Centre is run by the arts patron Mr. De Kezel of the Rectavit company.

27 "Jean Lemmens", in Belgisch Kreatief Ambacht (Belgian Creative Craft), p. 35-37, 26st year of publication, nº 2, Brussels, 1990

28 "Jean Lemmens", Art Box, Waregem, 1995.

29 "Triennial du bijou", department "Belgique", Paris, 1990

30 One served as a shrine for a Liber Amicorum for Hugo Shiltz. The other served as a storage case for jewellery.

31 Note by Jean Lemmens, 6th of September 1995

32 See Siegfried De Buck, Ghent, 1994

33 Provincial Museum for Modern Art, Ostend

De Buck 10 De Buck 4 De Buck 6 De Buck 7

34 Siegfried De Buck, Ghent, 1984, p. 32-36. See also Belgisch Kreatief Ambacht (Belgian Creative Craft), nº 5, 1982, p. 13.

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35 "Momentopname Siegfried De Buck" (Snapshot of Siegfried De Buck), in Belgisch Kreatief Ambacht (Belgian Creative Craft), p. 8, Brussels, 1978.

36 Belgisch Kreatief Ambacht (Belgian Creative Craft), nº 5, 1982, p. 13.

37 Idem

38 "Siegfried De Buck", in Belgisch Kreatief Ambacht (Belgian Creative Craft), p. 11, Brussels, 1990.

39 Belgisch Kreatief Ambacht (Belgian Creative Craft), nº 5, p. 13, Brussels, 1982.

40 Belgisch Kreatief Ambacht (Belgian Creative Craft), p. 14, nº 5, Brussels, 1982.

41 Metaal & Kunst. Sculpturen/juwelen (Metal & Art. Sculptures/jewellery), Zwevegem, 1980.

42 Materies & Kunst (Matters & Art), Sint-Niklaas, 1980. See photographs of the jewellery on display.

43 Attitudes, p. 17, Antwerp, 1985

44 Hedendaagse juwelen in België (Contemporary Jewellery in Belgium), p. 8, Ostend, 1989.

45 Siegfried De Buck, Ghent, 1984.

46 Kunst en kunst maken (Art and Making Art), photo on p. 95 in Brussels, Brussels, 1983.

47 Belgisch kreatief ambacht (Belgian Creative Craft), p. 15, nº 5, Brussels, 1982.

48 Jewellery redefined, London, 1983.

49 Belgisch kreatief ambacht (Belgian Creative Craft), p. 15, nº 5, Brussels, 1982.

Lemmens 10 De Buck 1 Lemmens 11

50 Siegfried De Buck, Ghent, 1995.

51 Belgisch Kreatief Ambacht (Belgian Creative Craft), p. 14, nº 5, Brussels, 1982.

52 Both objects are depicted in the monograph Siegfried De Buck, Ghent 1994. The sculpture was first displayed during Lineart 1985 and was bought by the Flemish Community in 1987.

53 Siegfried De Buck, p. 35, Ghent, 1985.

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54 Siegfried De Buck, Ghent, 1994.

55 This coffee pot was produced in cooperation with Wiskemann.

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56 "Kafétee" is a symbiosis between a catering business and a promotion centre/meeting place for young Belgian designers. The initiative was taken by Rafaël de Swerts (furniture designer) and Marijke De Clerq (graphic artist and furniture designer). It is a snack-bar the furniture of which is composed of various experiments and prototypes made by student designers and professionals. It is located in Ghent in the Annonciadenstraat.

57 Vera Vermeersch is a high quality hand-tufted textiles company that organised an experiment with hand-tufted carpets designed by German and Flemish artists. The exhibition took place in Flanders in October-November 1995 at the Museum for Decorative Arts in Ghent.

58 Note by Siegfried De Buck, the 11th of September 1995.

























































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