Heir to a legacy of fine jewelry expertise, ébénist woodworking and the Fine Arts, Martin Spreng leaves, here and there on his jewelry, small winks at his life-path(s). For example, the technique inherited from an old Munich workshop via his father, which he symbolizes with the workshop’s stamp: a little goat he has safeguarded through the years . Or again, the way he approaches jewelry – which is the same way he envisaged wood design in the Xylos collective from 1981 to 2011. An approach that clearly transpires through the way he associates materials.
One notes a character trait in Martin Spreng: that of keeping a close eye on his origins – if only to better surpass them! When he transcribes a melody to decorate a wedding band, it is by engraving squares and rectangles reminiscent of German composer Stockhausen and the graphic notations of his “Piano Pieces” suite….
And although he willingly uses gold, silver and precious gems, he will want to glorify them by introducing titanium into the design. Titanium for its limitless nuances and ruggedness, but also for its lightness – which makes the pieces more wearable. A harmonious study of use, meaning, spirit and matter.
Martin Spreng’s creations are never intentionally figurative, yet much as for abstract- lyrical painters, they always seem to evoke Nature – in its cosmic, telluric or biological dimensions. Offering his own contemplation of the world in a poetic way, somehow reminiscent of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s founding essay “Nature”.
Certainly one the reasons that Martin Spreng’s jewelry always gives off a deeply lyrical vibe: the richness of shapes, the playful confrontations (colors, volumes, genres, patterns) seem to elicit a sense of the marvelous and of the dramatic.
One can compare them to the composer Mahler and his “Song of the Earth”. Much as for Mahler, Spreng’s quest for perfection isn’t akin to bare strictness: it is instead placed in the service of exalted representations of harmonious effervescence, of balanced ensembles of interdependent shapes and poetic liaisons sometimes precise to the point of disappearing (cf. the joints of the Xylos Sphere) or fracturing (cf. the gold and titanium combinations of certain rings) like fault-lines running through the designs.
Still, Martin Spreng’s lyricism is always grounded by squares of matter, and their organization. Everything makes sense. The piece of jewelry as a symbol, in resonance with the various materials that are fashioned into reflections of the artist’s thoughts, yet most definitely made to be worn! As if the aspiration to unity were somehow the ultimate quest of the jewelry designer.
One feels tempted to think that Martin Spreng interprets the original meaning of the Greek word Cosmos but takes it into an infinitely tiny dimension: is he inviting us to wear our own little micro-cosmos that has been magically – and most conveniently! – made into a jewel-size?