Following her apprenticeship as a goldsmith in Neugablonz, from 1987 to 1993, Bettina Dittlmann studied with Professors Hermann Jünger and Otto Künzli at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. From 1989 to 1991, she studied at SUNY/New Paltz, under Jamie Bennett and J. Fred Woell. Her works have been presented in solo and group shows in Europe and North America, and have been acquired by a number of museum collections.
Michael Jank studied design in Munich and engraving and photography at the State University of Oregon. His work has been exhibited frequently.
Bettina Dittlmann and Michael Jank have collaborated on the Foreverrings collection since 1998. See Le Fer Noir Trio, the join exhibition with Swiss artist, Sophie Hanagarth.
Bettina Dittlmann has fashioned the Foreverrings jointly with her partner and artist colleague Michael Jank. From a block of metal(pure gold, pure silver, pure copper), the couple forged and shapes the rings only by hammering. The surfaces of the rings have a patina of muted colours, as if they had been lying in the earth. The metal is chunky, the forms roughly hewn; the surfaces bear signs of hammer blows. During the creation process the workpieces move back and forth between the two artists. The swapping of the half-finished rings could be seen as a gesture of giving. When a ring is finished, it is impossible to say who was responsible for creating which detail, which hand made which imprint with the hammer, and which artist made which decision.
The exchange of workpieces between the two artists can also be seen as a metaphor for the social function of the ring; it is an object that is given and received. Furthermore, the ring is a sign of belonging and affection. These rings look as if they are capable of surviving a fair number of difficulties and crises. With their physical weight alone they are an eloquent expression for the seriousness of the commitment we often make in our close relationships – they are forever. Are we willing to wear these rings and to enter into this kind of undertakings?