Hardened Tears


Exhibition of amber designs by nineteen well-known European artists. The curators of the exhibition are Wim Vandekerckhove, owner of the Villa De Bondt Gallery in Ghent (Belgium), and Sławomir Fijałkowski, professor of the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk.




The title of the exhibition  Hardened tears - include a reference to the myth of Jurata crying over the death of her beloved and the myth of the Heliades turned into poplars and weeping amber tears over their brother Phateon – however for the organizers of the exhibition, these “hardened tears” are likned first and foremost, to Gdańsk and to Poland and a typical Polish material that is amber .

The idea emerged in May 2012 in Gdańsk during the conversation between Wim Vandekerckhove – the owner of the Villa De Bondt Gallery in Ghent (Belgium) and Sławomir Fijałkowski – professor at the Gdańsk Academy of Fine Arts, well-known Polish jewellery designer. 



We have invited well-known European artists, of whom the substantial majority have never worked with amber before. All told 20 persons, whose task was to look at the gemstone with as much of an “uncontaminated eye” as possible and be inspired by it. It was, of course, a very risky move from our point of view because we did not know what the end result would be. But, at the same time, that was what made it incredibly fascinating: this uncertainty and anticipation how the artists would rise up to the challenge. I admit that I breathed a sigh of relief only when I saw the pieces. I think that the lion’s share of them is really good. Our objective has been met: new creations and ideas have been developed, but also a new artistic sensitivity has been expressed.   

                                                                                        Wim Vandekerckhove




From the very beginning, the idea behind the exhibition was about the need to artistically interpret the natural properties of Baltic amber, but also about its deep, historical symbolism, expressed in the exhibition’s very title which was borrowed from the ancient myth of Phateon. We hoped that no one would be able better than artists to uncover what was not always a conscious point of reference for the  answers to the most simple and yet the most difficult questions about the nature of the concept of value ( by no means in the economic sense of the world). They have succeeded brilliantly and as a co-originator of the project it gives me personal satisfaction that the exhibition has become a reason to discover the avant-garde quality of the Gold of the North and has helped to create a unique collection of contemporary amber are pieces. The entire project was a success thanks to many persons involved in the International Amber Association, whose aim is to promote scientific and artistic activities which deepen the understanding of amber.

                                                                                                      Sławomir Fijałkowski







Sławomir Fijałkowski

Christiane Förster

Karl Fritsch

Sophie Hanagarth

Herman Hermsen

Daniel Kruger

Stefano Marchettti

Wilhelm Tasso Mattar

Pavel Opočenský

Annelies Planteijdt

Ramon Puig Cuyàs

Wolfgang Rahs

Ulrich Reithofer

Philip Sajet

Adolfas Šaulys

Gisbert Stach

Manuel Vilhena

Arek Wolski

Petra Zimmermann




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Legnica Jewellery Festival SILVER 2020