Totentanz Ring by Claude Lévêque
The design of this ring follows the outlines of a spontaneous drawing made by the designer’s grandson, Romaric Etienne, at the age of 14. In fact, Lévêque has created many of his artworks with the assistance of friends, family, and children. Nearly all of his wall installations with neon light sentences are initially handwritten by his mother, who has a trembling hand. 2 The initial idea for this ring goes back to 2012 when Lévêque collaborated with the children of the Pierre Budin Primary School in Paris on an in situ display.
Using wire to form a ring goes back to extremely early experiments with rings, and it was also a technique favored by Viking and Anglo-Saxon goldsmiths. For these societies, metal provided all the material needed to fashion a ring. That allegorical tradition echoes powerfully in this modern ring.
This delicate ring in polished eighteen-carat gold has a hoop with D-section which forks at the shoulder on one side and on the other is slightly thicker at the end to support the openwork bezel. The bezel takes the form of an abstract image of a head shaped from wire. Inside the hoop along the shoulder is the engraved signature, “Claude Lévêque,” and the edition number, “2/10.” On the exterior of the hoop is the French warranty mark for gold with an eagle facing to the right.