Masterly The Hague is a new event that combines classic masters and contemporary design. Every designer, selected, was linked to a classical masterpiece form the collection of Hoogsteder & Hoogsteder. Esthers’ muse is Jan Weenix. It is a hunting scene with dead hare, Partridge and Sijs painted at the end of 1600. On the side of the work you can see wilting flowers, all in a lavishly romantic background.
Title of the work – immortalized
In this object the circle of life is immortalized. Flowers, leaves and seed boxes are petrified in fluid clay, frozen and buried in the material it once emerged from. This Conversation Piece is an ode to the quiet splendor of nature as Jan Weenix depicted in oilpaint.
A unique Conversation Piece has been the starting point. As a political capital, The Hague has the allure of chic banquets for royal receptions, foreign guests, ministers, etc. Impressive dinners with special table pieces of ceramics.
In terms of symbolism, the fleeting nature of life immediately appealed to my imagination. It immediately imposes itself with the prominent dead hare at the centre of the historical painting. When you observe the masterpiece closer?, you also see dead partridges, a siskin and wilting flowers. There is drama and melancholy, but it is not a sad artpiece. Rather a celebration of the beauty of (Burgundian) life.
In a more literal sense the beautiful wilting flowers in the painting appealed to me. I literally use this in my work! Real flowers and leaves, which are already dying off, I immerse in the clay they once originated from. In both my work and that of Jan Weenix, life has been immortalized. Jan Weenix depicted in oil and in my work with clay.
Transcience of life
There is an exciting link between the similarities on the one hand and the contrasts with my muse on the other. The corresponding source of inspiration is the transience of life. The translation of this by the old master in oil paint and in my work in clay. But also the contemporary interpretation forms a big contrast to the classic translation of Jan Weenix.
By leaving the design completely white unglazed ceramics, it forms a modern contrast with the baroque multicoloredness of the time of the muse. By only firing ‘biscuit’ (this is the first stove that is usually followed by the higher ‘enamel’) and leaving it completely white and unglazed, so the elements light and shadows are emphasized and also the element shape of the objects cay play a prominent part because the viewer is not distracted by colour.
Very old traditional ceramic techniques and hypermodern techniques are combined in this project. A 3-d printer that prints porcelain was used. This, for example, to do preliminary studies or to ‘print’ certain parts of my object. This is a very modern technique, which I integrated with traditional techniques.
For these objects I used liquid clay, where I put real flowers, leaves and seed boxes in baptism and let them dry. These are then fired in a traditional ceramic oven. Because the layer of clay is very thin and the real flowers and leafs or seed boxes burn away in the ceramic kiln, the work is very fragile and is fragile even after the stoke! That means that a lot of material is killed during the process.
The first phase of the process consists of selecting real flowers, leaves and seed pods that have to be carefully selected, picked and dried. Due to the vulnerability of real vegetation, little is suitable for ‘drowning’ in the clay and then burning it. So a long period of research (years of trial and error) has preceded!
Because each type of vegetation can only be harvested once a year, a process of years of research and testing has preceded it. Such as different ways of preserving (drying in sand, air drying etc.), working with various types of clay, building up these vulnerable forms and the firing process. Because all elements come out of the furnace as loose particles, the objects have been put together piece by piece.