Both my work as a silversmith and etching entail grappling with the physical and chemical properties of metals on a daily basis. As I rely heavily on my sense of hearing when raising metal, I’m constantly faced with the question of how sound relates to image and corpus. This line of inquiry led me to explore the phenomenon of Chladni figures and to a critical engagement with our notions of order and chaos, regularity and chance.

The scientist E. F. F. Chladni (1756–1827) was the first to succeed in the experimental visualization of sound. He did this by drawing a bow over the edge of a metal plate strewn with sand in order to make it resonate. The sand formed specific patterns which thereafter became known as “Chladni figures”.

In my first work on this theme dating from 2002, I etched some Chladni figures into disks made of aluminium, steel, brass and copper, which I then used as printing plates for etchings. What mattered most to me was that through the act of printing, the tone I generated would manifest itself as a sound figure in the image and so take on a new quality.

In a second work of 2005, the Chladni Bowls, the object of my quest was a volume, a corpus, to house the sound visualised in the image. This process gave rise to three raised silver bowls. Lying loose in each of these hand-polished bowls is a 1-mm-thick steel disk with a Chladni figure etched into its mat surface. When the bowls are tapped, they rock to and fro without tipping over, slowly but surely returning to their own centre of gravity and regaining their equilibrium.

My Chladni Bowls are vessels that are not vessels in the conventional sense of the word. Cradling the emptiness inside them, they are at rest even without a flat base to stand on, while the steel disk closing them is not a lid that can be removed. The bowl as a receptacle for everyday use is here pure volume — mysterious and perplexing. And the sound manifested in both image and corpus evokes curiosity, questions and awe in all who see it and touch it.


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