Manon van Kouswijk, Reverse Beads, necklace, 2016, porcelain
Manon van Kouswijk, Reverse Beads, necklace, 2016, porcelain

Manon van Kouswijk, Reverse Beads, necklace, 2016, porcelain
Manon van Kouswijk, Perles d-Artistes, necklace, 2016, porcelain
Manon van Kouswijk, Reverse Beads, necklace, 2016, porcelain
Manon van Kouswijk, Perles d-Artiste, necklace, porcelain

Manon van Kouswijk’s approach to jewellery is exploratory. On the one hand her process is theoretical and visual, in which she collects, categorises, and compiles images from the past and present. On the other hand, it is also practical in that she develops work itself by experimenting with material, form, rhythm, and colour. For her graduation project at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in 1995, the archetypal pearl necklace served as the theoretical and practical basis for jewellery that can still move us. Her fascination with the pearl necklace, with its characteristic construction of elements graduating in size strung on a thread, has remained intact and she has continued to explore it in various ways over the years. Working in clay, Manon discovered new possibilities for reinterpreting this iconic piece of jewellery. She does this in a process-based and systematic manner, in which manipulating the material with her fingers and using moulds determine both the visual and tactile result. When applied to brooches, the repeated manipulation of clay gives rise to groups of ornaments that function as an afterimage of existing brooch forms and motifs. The group of necklaces entitled Perles d‘artiste acquired by the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam several years ago clearly demonstrates the entire process. For the buyer and wearer of a single piece of jewellery from such a group, the cohesion of that ensemble exists only in the mind.