Play of light, world of colors
Indeed, the actual medium of bringing jewelry and artefacts to life is light. Reflections, shading, shadows and movements are aspects that can enliven even the hardest of materials. Becker’s colors do the same: lapis lazuli from Afghanistan, gray dolomite from China, green granite from Siberia, brilliant red, which is only to be had in the form of pigment, and not to be forgotten: gold, whose dull-polished surface he employs in the entire gamut of dark-and-light variations, predominantly as a source of color. For Becker, choosing colors always means imposing severe restrictions on himself. Because it’s important to him that colors are permanent too, and not just painted on or liable to fade. Which doesn’t mean that incident light, the skillfully constructed cross-fading of double layers or the precisely structured frames around spaces and colored stones do not allow strips of light to fall on the landscape of stones, constantly transforming them, now shining bright, now gleaming mysteriously, and sometimes smoldering darkly.
In common parlance, the term Gesamtkunstwerk ‒ a total work of art, a synthesis of the arts ‒ is almost always associated with the idea of greatness, even gigantomania. We could, to wind up, give it another meaning here and, at the risk of sounding somewhat paradoxical, speak of Gesamtkunstwerke en miniature with respect to Becker’s work. Little Gesamtkunstwerke that, by highly artificial means, go straight to the heart of life and are in themselves message enough. No metaphors, no symbols, let alone myths. The thing-in-itself, its very idea, its materialization, its coming to life on the body of its wearer are mystery enough.
Not least of all, Becker’s works of jewelry are a medium of visual and tactile communication, sending out light signals with every movement and every shift of light. In a world rife with a flood of virtual images, an imaginative re-ordering of the concrete capacities for sensual experience is almost a political issue. What all of this boils down to is nothing short of a reconquest of our own perception, of materiality, of “thingness.” Thus, Michael Becker’s jewelry pieces are instruments in the struggle for our own sense and sensibility, for a tangible mysticism of “superficiality.”
Jürgen Wertheimer and Cornelie Ueding