Does the description of Evert Nijland's poetic, new jewellery pieces need a listing of all its technical highlights? The state-of-the-art computer program - together with somebody who's mastered the software - with which you can expand a flat drawing in a third dimension? About the workshop that is able to convert complex polyamide models into silver? All the linen ribbons that have been custom-made? How plate glass had to be water cut? That his glassblower is capable of making grant gestures on a miniature scale? And finally, how Nijland, seemingly effortless, manages to merge digital innovation with traditional craftmanship...
Naturally Nijland's first concern was finding a symbol, a theme. In this collection it is the veiled strength of a closed bird's wing, with its invisible potential and captivating ability to transform from a closed shape into a flaring movement.
Wings have often been depicted in art: on angels or mythological animals - take Michelangelo drawing of Zeus in the guise of an eagle - and in studies from nature, for instance by the 16th century artist Adriaan Collaert, or Dürer's wing of a Blue Roller. (Quite a remarkable picture, by the way: world renowned, while the actual piece of parchment measures barely 20 by 20 cetimetres, while the wing belongs to a relatively small bird. Yet the image has a monumental expressiveness - a fitting analogy with the often surprising potential of art jewellery). Nijland took several drawings and etchings and copied, adapted, and expanded them. Even the subtlest hatching on the original sheets remained in tact on the silver casts that were the result of his endeavours. The next fase was the addition of generous, associative enrichments, which in itself will make each piece take flight. They can be specific visual quotes, or intended as images representing abundance or strength. In addition to all that, there is always a focus on how light can bring a piece to life, on the effect of a shiny or perhaps matt finish. The artist isn't aiming to produce a realistic, recognizable result, for he rather wants us to be seduced and intigued, inticed and stimulated.
Nijland was already well on the way with his research into the representation of wings, when the world went into lock-down in 2020. And now, more then a year later? His pieces seems to have been designed for precisely this moment in time. Is there anything more desirable than to be able to fly away from present day anxieties, the opportunity to spread your wings in search for freedom? Seen from a somewhat wider perspective you could also say: art can give you wings, where as Evert Nijland gives wings to art.
Ward Schrijver (© Galerie Rob Koudijs)