/ Franz Bette:Der rote faden

Artist

Franz Bette has been considering matters of design and critically examining the composition of jewellery, especially its conceptual and artistic formulation, for over 50 years. Apart from creating his own pieces, it is of great importance to him to convey artistic possibilities in the field of general design, product design and jewellery. Because of this interest and expectation, teaching engagements around the world prove moreover the worldwide esteem for his abilities.

Born in the middle of Germany, his thinking and his work are anchored in European culture. For the exhibition in ALIEN Art Centre and for the new audience in Taiwan, he has developed a body of work which internalises his experience in Asia. For this he allows new elements to intervene in his artistic approach. His Western-influenced vocabulary of metal has been expanded by materials with Asian connotations, such as porcelain, bamboo, wood and textile. He works with these materials aware of the tradition and meaning anchored in the Asian culture; however, in examining and appropriating them, Franz Bette goes his own way according to his purpose or his intuition. Regardless of traditional working processes, his cultural influences, perceptions and feelings take the lead, bringing about a new repertoire orientated on jewellery but which also explores the possibilities of special objects.

An elementary principle and central theme of his work is loosely connected elements. This principle has been proved in its flexibility and its conceptual transference, especially in the context of this exhibition project but also as a type of link between the culture. The essential basis of Bette’s creations is visibility of structure and movement, which are always realised in new, playful variations.

In the new body of work, paper cord now appears in addition to or instead of steel wire, which in Franz Bette’s conception is usually used as a constructive element. The luck-bringing attributes were intensified by the colour red, which according to the Chinese Five Elements teaching brings luck by setting all things and elements in the cosmos into relationship. Even today the use of a red cord continues during festivals and daily life.

For Der rote faden, the gold- and silversmith and designer Franz Bette developed a new body of work which reflects his experiences in Asia. His jewellery shifts between drawing and sculpture, far removed from all monumentality.

This exhibition is organised by the ALIEN Art Centre in collaboration with the Museum Angewandte Kunst, Frankfurt a/M., Germany, curated by Dr. Sabine Runde, Senior Custodian, Curator of Applied Art from the Middle Ages to the Present at the Museum Angewandte Kunst. Exhibits are loaned from the Artist, Museum Angewandte Kunst, Schmuckmuseum Pforzheim and Deutsches Goldschmiedehaus Hanau, Germany. The exhibition catalogue is designed by Vier5, France - the visual designer of the 14th Kassel Documenta, printed and published by the internationally renowned art publisher Arnoldsche Art Publishers.