With the awarding every three years of the 5,000 Euros Friedrich Becker Prize, a private endowment by Hildegard Becker in Düsseldorf, the Association for Goldsmiths’ Art remembers the outstanding goldsmith and designer of kinetic objects Professor Friedrich Becker (1922 – 1997).
To date, Rudolf Bott (1999), Anette Walz (2002), Peter Bauhuis (2005), Robert Baines (2008), Alexander Vohswinkel (2011) and Sam Tho Duong (2014) have been honored with the Friedrich Becker Prize.
For the Friedrich Becker Prize Düsseldorf 2017, 86 artists from 21 countries competed with their jewelry, hollow- and flatware. Independent design in the highest quality of execution as well as the utilization of new materials and techniques were equally as desirable as the handling of classic materials for jewelry, hollow- and flatware design.
The jury decided to award this year’s prize to Michael Becker (b.1958 in Paderborn) of Munich. From 1982 until 1987, Becker studied sculpture and precious metal design at the Fachhochschule für Kunst und Design in Cologne under Prof. Peter Skubic. The artist has been working at his own studio in Munich since 1988. He has been represented in numerous exhibitions both in Germany and abroad as well as in public and private collections. Between 1987 and 2002, Michael Becker was honored with important prizes, lastly with the Bavarian State Prize at the Internationale Handwerksmesse München (IHM).
With Becker’s necklace, the jury honored a work of classic goldsmith’s art made of gold and lapis lazuli with a contemporary formal interpretation. The work indicates an experienced artistic personality who has been active in design for many years. The magical appearance of gold and blue is presented according to a well-conceived concept. The naturally broken surface produces a three-dimensional effect that is intensified by the variation of the individual links. A necklace with surprising views for both the wearer and the viewer that joins the past with the present.
In addition to the prizewinner, the exhibition presents an additional 42 artists from Germany and abroad. Among the selected pieces are works by well-known artists from Germany and abroad.
The jewelry designer Annamaria Zanella of Padua is represented with a notable necklace and a brooch of woven steel with color accents in bright blue. In the titanium brooch by Pavel Opočenský of the Czech Republic, the play with geometric segments and their clever overlapping is the focus. Svenja John of Berlin dedicated herself to the material polycarbonate for her delicately colored, finely detailed bracelet. Silvia Weidenbach from London contrasted 3-D printed nylon and synthetic stones in her colorful brooches. In his necklace of dichroitic glass, the Japanese artist Jiro Kamata from Munich created a lively play of colors, while Momoko Kumai from Yokohama dedicated herself to Japanese lacquer in her spatially conceived bracelets. The Frenchman Philip Sajet utilized fossilized material, amber, for his Sun Ring and gave it a radiance of its own. Bettina Speckner of Munich concerned herself with the theme of aluminum etching, and the Greek artist living in Berlin, Vivi Touloumidi, utilized pumice stone for her brooches and allowed their natural surface texture to produce the effect. In the exhibition, Annelies Planteijdt of The Netherlands presents two gold and tantalum necklaces from her Beautiful City series.
On his aluminum dish, the metal designer Andreas Decker from Hildesheim allowed blossoms in pink and yellow to bloom, their radiance enlivened by their technical refinement. In her vases, Beate Leonards of Lübeck demonstrated an exceptionally interesting handling of anodized aluminum and patinated tombac.
All of the works have an extremely innovative starting point in their designs in common. They demonstrate the possibilities for the handling of new materials in jewelry, hollow- and flatware design.