Bettina Speckner


found ferrotype, oxidized silver, white gold, photo-etching on zinc, and seed pearls
3 3/8 x 2 1/4 inches

Images shown are of the front and back sides of this work

A pioneer in using found photographs as the raw material for body adornment, German artist Bettina Speckner’s work transforms nineteenth century ferrotype portraits of people whose identities are now lost. Ferrotypes are unique images created from a layer of emulsion applied to a thin sheet of metal. Surrounded by pearls that reproduce the exact oval silhouette of the cloudy mirror that no longer reflects anything, Speckner challenges the viewer to find meaning in an historical object that has been wrenched from the flow of time. Speckner writes, ‘This work is made of multiple layers, mirrors. Somehow he is absentminded, though not lost in the world, instead lost in himself like Narcissus. In this case, though, the mirror is blind. The small, timid pearls give him a frame. Only he is there – so, loneliness.’ A graduate of the Munich Academy of Fine Arts, Speckner has received many accolades for her work, including the Herbert Hoffmann Prize, commendations for the Danner Prize, and The Prize of the State of Bavaria. She is represented in public and private collections in the US and Europe, including the Dallas Museum of Art; the Museum of Art and Design, Chicago; the Victoria and Albert in London, and the Schmuckmuseum, Pforzheim, Germany.

courtesy sienna patti, lenox, massachusetts