Antje Bräuer

During my studies I did an internship at the Lauchhammer art foundry, an industrial site with 300 years of history in my home region of Niederlausitz. Now, after more than twenty years, a coincidence led me back to this place, which I began to look at with completely different eyes. For over a year now, as curator of the Kunstgussmuseum, I have been intensively occupied with the history of iron and bronze casting in this company, which in its heyday supplied the whole world and took part in several world exhibitions. The raw material, iron, was found and smelted on the river “Schwarze Elster”.

“Gold I gave for iron!” The jewellery maker quickly thinks of these words, which have a patriotic background. Not least, iron was a material that radiated modesty and classic fine aesthetics.

Suddenly iron is worth more than gold? Is one material worth more than another? Isn’t the knife made of gold perhaps worth more than the one made of iron, but useless and therefore worthless? Beauty and ideal, value and usefulness are always in the eye of the beholder and are subject to constant change. We desire permanence and look for it even in supposedly valuable things.

I have used iron – and gold, both seem almost equal in their value. Added to this is the industrial technique of hot-dip galvanising. The motifs are those of the fleeting bird – one that masters the air, the flying. In contrast: the tree, rooted, yet vulnerable. The meander: an ornament of infinity.

Antje Bräuer

During my studies I did an internship at the Lauchhammer art foundry, an industrial site with 300 years of history in my home region of Niederlausitz. Now, after more than twenty years, a coincidence led me back to this place, which I began to look at with completely different eyes. For over a year now, as curator of the Kunstgussmuseum, I have been intensively occupied with the history of iron and bronze casting in this company, which in its heyday supplied the whole world and took part in several world exhibitions. The raw material, iron, was found and smelted on the river “Schwarze Elster”.

 

“Gold I gave for iron!” The jewellery maker quickly thinks of these words, which have a patriotic background. Not least, iron was a material that radiated modesty and classic fine aesthetics.

 

Suddenly iron is worth more than gold? Is one material worth more than another? Isn’t the knife made of gold perhaps worth more than the one made of iron, but useless and therefore worthless? Beauty and ideal, value and usefulness are always in the eye of the beholder and are subject to constant change. We desire permanence and look for it even in supposedly valuable things.

 

I have used iron – and gold, both seem almost equal in their value. Added to this is the industrial technique of hot-dip galvanising. The motifs are those of the fleeting bird – one that masters the air, the flying. In contrast: the tree, rooted, yet vulnerable. The meander: an ornament of infinity.