New Zealand is the place where Lisa Walker has been creating jewelry for almost 30 years. Her new exhibition, “She wants to go to her bedroom but she can’t be bothered” is a retrospective of her work and describes the evolution of her practice.
Lisa will present over 200 works spanning her career from her student days until today, in the largest exhibition presented by the jeweller in Australia. Lisa’s vast body of work is a career-length conversation with the question: what is jewellery?
Lisa’s jewellery is simultaneously wearable and unwearable, precious and non-precious, skilfully and not skilfully made; it is in dialogue with jewellery’s past, as well as current social and political issues and, sometimes, it strives to be meaningless. Her jewellery is controversial in many of the moves it makes, but now, nearly 30 years after she began making work, Lisa’s radical gestures have become part of the establishment.
When asked about the unconventional title of the exhibition, Lisa commented:
“The title is about time. It touches on many aspects of life, how fast we work, the tempo of our lives, downtime, technology and the extra, or wasted time it now gives us. It reminds me too of the recent revolution of ‘mindfulness’ – the adult colouring in books you can now buy to relax with, or the yoga and meditation industries that are growing”.
We wanted to find out more about the artist. >>>
How does the world look like in your eyes?
Windy, summery, grotty, organised, calm, chaotic, boring, stressful, fucking fun, inspiring, profound, full of love, frustrating, not bad at all.
Referring to the title of your latest exhibition, what bothers you today, what is there to make us bother? What do you think the world needs these days more than ever?
Making stuff is top of the list, best spot to be. Everything else influences that act and how cool is that. A lot of life, art, culture, politics, experience, all regurgitates out into jewellery pieces, bloody lucky to have discovered that, and to be able to make my contribution to society like this.
What does the world need today?
Trump has to leave of course, and we need more leaders like Jacinda Adern.
What makes you stay in favor of contemporary jewelry as your very own form of expression, what challenges you to create these provocative adornments?
Jewellery is a giant place with many lifetimes of information to discover and delve into. Art and craft creates interest for me, poses questions, on it goes.
How do you see the evolution and adoption of contemporary jewelry?
Someone said to me the other day perhaps contemporary jewellery might die. This was said as a frustration at the possible closing down of another educational jewellery institution here in New Zealand. But nah that won’t be the case. We do need a lot more attention and more wonderful clients, and how awesome would it be to get mega prices for our work, but we have a rich, active scene. Making good work, that’s the most important thing.
What is the most provocative part when it comes to creating contemporary jewelry, the idea, the wearer, the material, the process?
The idea, material, process are all part of what I do. I juggle those three in all my pieces. They all provoke each other. Regarding the wearer, my job is done once the display of the piece in the gallery or museum is complete. What happens next has nothing to do with me anymore. The choices a wearer will make once they own a piece – which clothing, which event, the interpretation they have of the piece, the reasons they bought it – are their own stories.
Where is the artist present today?
Everywhere of course – in music, theatre, sculpture, painting, architecture, ceramics, fashion, textiles, film, design and so on. Whether you look at low or high culture, mass production or popular culture, our mark is everywhere and we comment, contribute to and influence many areas of life.
How do you define beauty?
Beauty has varied throughout time, various cultures and the vast different perceptions of the world. Beauty has been described and depicted through pictures and concepts penetrating our minds. So I cut and pasted that from the Huffington Post. The writer then goes on to say beauty is happiness, which is nonsense of course. Beauty can be ugliness or negativity. I relish in the search for beauty in my work. Occasionally I purposefully make a beautiful piece that I think many people wil love, other times I do the opposite. It’s interesting to make a piece where beauty is the sole intention.
Lisa Walker exhibition is open until 4th of May, 2019.
Photo credit: Jacqui Shelton for the install images & Lisa Walker for the top image.