Frog or Eagle?
Arguably, no other German jeweler operates as elegantly and skillfully at the interface between fine and applied arts as Atelier Georg Hornemann from Düsseldorf. Here, creativity steeped in art history and inspired by close observations of nature converges with virtuoso craftsmanship, yielding modern Kunstkammer objects at their finest.
Established in 1973 by goldsmith Georg Hornemann, who, alongside his son Alexander Hornemann, has been running the business for many years, the company is much more than a conventional jeweller in a prime location. Numerous awards, exhibitions, and published works testify to its standing, acknowledging Hornemann as one of Germany‘s preeminent masters of craftsmanship. One example is the solo exhibition “objets d’art” at the Lehmbruck Museum in Duisburg in 2012, a pivotal event definitively acknowledging Hornemann‘s work as art.
Hornemann has maintained a longstanding association with the fair in Cologne, and his presence at the now-defunct Cologne Fine Art was consistently marked as a noteworthy occasion. Presently, he is an integral part of “Art + Object,” a small yet excellent new section of ART COLOGNE that showcases collaborations between applied art and contemporary art.
The inaugural selection of the four participants was made by the fair’s advisory board, ensuring not only a high level of expertise but also a genuine connection to contemporary art. This fusion of disciplines is not uncharted territory for Hornemann; the studio initiated collaborations with the Belgian artist Kris Martin in 2010, subsequently partnering with renowned figures such as US artist Rita McBride and Sissel Tolaas.
Thomas Grünfeld (*1956) is Professor of Sculpture in Düsseldorf and is also represented by Galerie Wentrup. Photo: Wentrup
For this year's ART COLOGNE, Hornemann decided to reignite his artistic collaboration with Thomas Grünfeld, a partnership that previously resulted in an original ring sculpture in 2017 titled "Himmel und Aäd."
Grünfeld, who holds a professorship at the Düsseldorf Art Academy, is a perfect match for Hornemann, not only due to their regional proximity but also because of their shared passion for the marvels of nature. Grünfeld, known for his prominent work series “Misfits,” ingeniously assembles parts of professionally produced animal specimens to craft realistic-looking hy-brid creatures, such as the imaginative combinations of budgerigars and chicks, foxes and cats.
The collaborative ring project with Hornemann follows a similar creative direction, playing with motifs inspired by an eagle’s head, a frog’s body, and a cat’s tail. These figurations, which are not chosen at random, raise fundamental questions about human existence.
Drawing inspiration from the philosophical pondering of the American psychologist Wayne Dyer, who posed the existential query, “Am I a frog or an eagle?” the ring prompts individuals to consider their choices. Dyer believed that each person possesses the agency to decide wheth-er they want to adopt a perspective akin to a frog, perpetually lamenting their circumstances, or soar like an eagle, directing their flight path towards their chosen destination. This contemplation becomes an integral part of the viewer’s engagement with the ring, encouraging thoughtful reflection on life’s choices.
The ring was realized in burnished silver, featuring a gold-plated beak and eyes adorned with precious stones, including tourmaline, peridot, and aquamarine. The frog’s body is lacquered in hues of green, yellow, or purple, resulting in a total of three distinct versions of the ring. Each variation is part of a limited edition of 6.
Displayed at the stand (C204) in Hall 11.1, the ring is showcased alongside other captivating pieces, including a stunning spider ring crafted by Georg Hornemann and select creations from Thomas Grünfeld’s “Misfits” series.