How have you seen the industry change since you started?
Philip: All the processes evolved. For example, casting and forging used to be the way of achieving larger production scales. Since then, we have had the digital influence, like Computer-Aided Design and Computer-Aided Manufacturing. It is great, but it excludes the movement of hands, the handwriting, which in my opinion can never be replaced. I think the “old-fashioned” manufacturing procedure should remain. The specific weight and the magic of a handmade piece is higher than a machine-made work.
So you consider there’s a loss of authenticity in the digital process of making jewellery ?
Philip: Yes, I believe that the magic is gone. Magic is present when you look at a piece: you can admire it, but somehow, one is not able to understand it.
Hau Wen: It is different for me, because when I got into Jewellery Design, digital processes already existed. I did not have to judge. Machine-made pieces are legit, but I think it is just a different way of crafting jewellery.
Philip, do you consider yourself to be a contemporary jewellery artist?
Philip: I consider that modernity is only temporary. It is not the artist’s desire to be contemporary, but that of curators, dealers and collectors. I don’t consider modernity necessary. The industry is almost the opposite of passion for me. The will and the aim are not the same. The union between a sensible, complex human being and a piece of rough and angular metal is what intrigues me. I see the possibility of modernity in that fusion. Authenticity is a personal necessity, but losing yourself is one as well. It comes as a need to be disconnected from the period of time and the place that drives you. An artist is supposed to escape modernity in order to create an heterotopia. The only thing that is not replaceable, is time. And those are things that aren’t teachable by any tutors in any school. It is about a generosity to give the ‘infinite’, whatever that may be.
How would you describe the artistic process of Sajet compared to what you learned so far?
Hau Wen: He works with his intuition and passion. Perhaps the experience of 40 years in the industry makes his mind clearer. He is always convinced. He makes things (with fine materials) right away, and he is incredibly fast. Making jewellery is like painting and playing to him. I felt it is an extremely incisive, impulsive and distinctive way of working.