From the dawn of time, all people from aii cultures have worn jewellery. Different historical periods have favoured different styles, and jewellery has been created from every conceivable sort of material—hence jewellery can be seen as a guiding light, which reflects the very history of mankind.
Pieces of jewellery carry many meanings; they are thought to have magical powers, to protect and to guard—like an amulet or a talisman. Occasionally they can convey hidden messages, or act as a badge of recognition. A piece of jewellery can also hold a secret known only to the wearer and the bestower.
Today, jewellery is worn by men and women. Only recently men became again more interested in wearing jewellery themselves.
Jürgen Franzky is an artist from Bonn who specialises in crafting jewellery. If one did not know his work, one could easi!y mistake them for archaic or exotic treasures. There is no mass–production, with no two pieces alike, making each object unique. Plates and discs in a variation of basic forms: circles, segments of circles, quadrants, rectangles, including spatial forms such as circ!ets or rings. Each object’s individual fascination is strengthened by its presentation on a dark stone or wooden plate—as demonstrated at his galleries in Bonn. This prevents each piece from being relegated to the category of mere ‘decorative accessories’. Here jewellery is a labour of love. Objects within their own light; jewellery without a functional label.
Franzky’s most favoured element is silver, with gold and select stones judiciously employed.
But it is the object’s design that really catches the viewer’s eye. The shape is strongly influenced by each step of the crafting process—which is far from conventional for jewellery, but is vital in producing the unique style of Franzky’s work. Layered, inlaid and amalgamated segments can be detected. ‘Cold’ mechanical and ‘forging’ work play an important role. Blending and moulding of the surface is reached by a high degree of heat—thus the shape is literally created under fire. This element of spontaneity, combined with the unpredictabie reaction of the material and the hot flame make a sensational combination. Experience and precision are further essential prerequisites in the creative process that goes into making each piece of jewellery.
Franzky’s jewellery without doubt carries a strong symbolism, whose significance is almost palpable. Keepers of mysteries. It’s like being on a trail of a long lost culture—like Atlantis, Mykene, Crete, Persepolis… Franzky’s jewellery has an air of treasured signet rings. Segments of runic writings are recognisable. Symbols from a long lost time contrasting favourably with today’s hectic pace.
Visitors to the gallery are drawn to the objects as if trying to unlock their secrets and reflective inquires are made. Franzky’s work might be associated with prehistoric metal art. Treasures, holy symbols, magical sculptures. The very rare use of gold underlines this hidden secret and increases the impression of myths and legends.
The silvery patina with its scattered hints of gold, forms a corresponding contradiction and reinforces the air of sleeping mystery.
Only a few pieces are adorned with carefully selected stones, whose colouring and polishing are inconspicuous, and whose and diminutive size complements the overall composition.
Through the years, Franzky’s work has grown in skill and stature, reflecting the experience and development of his ideas.
The following are a few examples from previous years:
A square amalgamated plate is decorated with only a few ‘marks’. A frame is indicated to level the surface. The lower middle is decorated with a narrow go!d triangle, pointing towards a small, blood red, ruby. A fine line connecting the two creates the impression that the stone is floating in the air. A few more ilnes look like threads floating by. The stone implies the magical eye of an unknown creature.
A cornered plate—almost square is accentuated at the edges by a boid frame. The composition is built up horizontally; a layer of stones and bricks indicating a hill. From a rift flourishes a magical flower—or is it a fairy tale bird? The moon fairy dancing in a golden cape. These images are created by a slight curvature of the surface. The darker colouring of the material gives the impression that it is flickering in the darkness.
The shape of this piece reminds one of a moon barge loaded with vaiuab!e treasures, secrets and mysterious. The bow is golden. Travelling from a distant fairy–tale shore and gliding quietly through the sea of dreams.
Again a square shape, massive and very richly decorated. At its centre is a fabulous animal with wings surrounded by a bold frame. It depicts a mysterious creature of unrecognisable origin. Two fieldmarks with golden pyramids create a sombre atmosphere. Towering above a blue stone is an opal. Its shape unaltered. This plate could be a priest’s breastplate. This piece is full of symbolic meaning.
A circlet—making a strong impression. Its surface looks broken. Each single segment is playfully arranged. This circlet is definitely meant for a dominant personality.
A silver plate subtly decorated with a few fine scratches and tiny gold elements. One might think a valuable inscription had been carefully carved on the plate. Letters from long ago—are they helping to solve the riddle, or do they convey a secret message? At first glance, you might see nothing, but then, the delicate symbols becomes visible on closer inspection. This reinforces a mystical aura.
In his early work, fine scratches as well as, a joining of the elements, seem to dominate each piece. By 1996–1997, fine lined and grouped letters occur and develop to become the most outstanding characteristic. Jewelied plates become scripted panels. Different kinds of surface—inlaid, amalgamated elements—occur. Sometimes subtle sometimes—like in 1992—rich and powerful.
An ability to choose carefully selected characters is clearly displayed.
This keeps the mystery alive—even with different styles of handwriting. Franzky stays true.
Franzky’s skill with jewellery can be transferred to objects. The first attempt was made in 1995—with a fountain. A column decorated with styled letters—which retains their impression of mystery, even when, transferred to stone.
All methods are subject to extremely high standards and are professiona!iy completed. The importance of Franzky’s work is augmented by the unspoken invitation to the viewers to let their imagination run wild. Allowing the owner to absorb the given and create their own piece of jewellery. Jürgen Franzky’s reputation is definitely growing.
Every autumn, Jürgen Franzky welcomes the public to his yearly exhibition. His gallery is festooned with a large selection of new objects. This means that not only are new pieces of jewellery shown—but that development of his ideas can be traced.
Jürgen Franzky’s basic forms, like the circle or the square are shown—all with the characteristic gold triangle, set with stones and small golden spheres. The creations of the objects are subject to constant change. Looking at Jürgen Franzky’s work from C. G. Jung’s point of view, you will get an insight into the archetypal development process.
The circle symbolises a completeness and serenity, where everywhere is equidistant from the centre. There is no beginning and no end—a timeless dimension. It symbolises inclusion and satisfaction. The frequent use of manila forms represents the search for ones own centre and the concentration on the essential.
The square conveys a feeling of space—representing the here and now. It symbolises water, air, earth and fire, the four card inai elements. Furthermore it represents the female aspects. The triangle stands for the male aspects—balancing tensions and creating harmony between various powers. Symbols speak to people on a subconscious level with both an individual and a universal meaning. For the synthesis of human consciousness experiencing of and coping with psychical conflicts has a crucial meaning. C. G. Jung calls this process ‘individuation’. In myths and legends of all cultures these problems have been described as the human struggle for autonomy and shelter in many possible variations. Typical steps in Franzky’s individuation process become obvious when looking at the changing form of design. His early work (until 1991) is very lively. The slate plate—mainly used as presentation background—was part of the composition. Lines extending ovei the borders of the piece of jewellery—incorporating the slate piate. Most of these movements conveyed disturbance – chaos and darkness. Many are purposeiess but rhythmic—energetic, creative, searching and changing iepeatedly. This is called within the individuation process—mind expanding and the search for it’s self. A very significant phase in Franzky’s development—originating in 1991—was the epoch referred to as the ‘Night sea journey’. Earlier objects show hints towards this course of direction. In 1991 it blossomed and finished. The ‘Night sea journey’ mirrors a turning point in the individual experience. !t symbolises change, separation, loss and the abandonment of old values. The ‘Night sea journey’ represents a confrontation with a painful period within one’s !ife, where purpose and aim have disappeared. It is often a phase of complete insecurity—which is only understood retrospectively. There is no retum from a ‘Night sea journey’—like Odysseus’ dark journey through Hades. A landing at a new shore is on!y possible once a part of one’s old personality is abandoned. As soon as this adventure is weathered, a new period in life can begin.
In the chronology of Franzky’s work the successful survival of the ‘Night sea journey’ made it possible to create and to fill his own artistic space. New forms and figures followed this development. The most dominate one—the warrior, who has to survive in the daily routine. Or the shield which keeps the warrior safe and helps to win battles.
New projects were started: several free–standing larger objects were created. Within these objects the symbol of the barge—used in the ‘Night sea journey’—was transformed into a moon crescent and eventually into a Taurus head. This change emphasises the integration of female aspects and shows that one’s own place has been found and occupied. The estabiishment of the self–found living space as a solid institution.
This new found confidence is recognisable in Franzky’s most recent designs. They are extremely centred and balanced. At their core they are richer and clearer. The basic elements have changed. Greek ornaments have been replaced by Egyptian symbols. The composition of the objects are straighter and clearer and at the same time display a new confidence towards the uneven and elementary. The cross is used more frequently, representing an exploration of Christian history.
Franzky’s work demonstrates the ideal stages in the Individuation process as described by C. G. Jung. But nevertheless Franzky’s own creative process is unique. On a sometimes conscious, sometimes unconscious level, personal experiences are incorporated into his work.
When the objects are presented in his gallery they receive, a non–personal symbolic character. Meaning that once a spectator responds to the symbolic meaning, consciously or unconsciously, it gives the object a personal significance, and the archetypal symbols are intelligible. This completes the composition and transforms the object to one you can wear, touch and take home as a brooch, ring or necklace.
Born 1948 in Freiburg (Sachsen), Germany
Abitur (A–level) 1970 in Bonn, Germany
From 1974 University: Geologie and Mineralogy
1975–1984 Lecturer at the Volkshochschule (School for Adult Education) in Bonn
1980–1983 Training as a Gemologist
1984 Opening of his galleries in Bonn
Beginning of 1994, admission into the Bundesverband Bildender Künstler (BBK) in Bonn; in the same year, recognition as goldsmith by the District President of Cologne
1995 Registered with the Chamber of Handicrafts in Cologne, Germany
January 1997 Exhibition in Vienna, Austria
Belderberg 6, 53111 Bonn, Germany
Phone +49 228 9085 850
Email post (at) franzky.de