TheNewDowse celebrates the Unwearable

Published: Tue 3 Nov 2009 12:12 PM
For Immediate Release
3 November 2009
TheNewDowse celebrates the Unwearable
Provocative exhibition marks New Zealand jeweller’s return from Germany
Trading in her soldering torch for the fast draw of the glue gun, Lisa Walker has spent the past 15 years living and working in Germany where her jewellery has evolved to beyond the realm of practicality. TheNewDowse celebrates the achievements of one of New Zealand’s most internationally successful jewellers with Unwearable, a survey exhibition that traces the dramatic changes in Walker’s practice since the early 1990s - a tantalising transition from the traditional and wearable to the non. Unwearable opens on 12 December and coincides with Walker’s return from Germany with her family to live in Wellington.
An original member of Auckland’s Workshop 6 jewellery workshop, Lisa Walker left New Zealand in 1995 to further her jewellery studies in Munich with leading jeweller, Professor Otto Künzli. At that time she was known in her homeland for her beautifully crafted brooches that resembled seashell-like forms. In Germany, Walker abandoned metal for the unpredictability of found materials and eventually even abandoned the jeweller’s concern for ‘wearability’ to pursue possibilities beyond the confines of the practical.
“Unwearable is a provocation,” says curator Damien Skinner, “It matters when a jeweller chooses such a confrontational title for an exhibition of work from the past 15 years. Some of Walker’s jewellery is pretty unwearable, but the fact that we keep asking ourselves what would happen if we put it on is important. That is the connection to jewellery that Walker holds as central to her practice.”
Skinner says the title of the exhibition pulls in two directions. Some of the most recent works strain at the limits of ‘wearability’ in size and intention. They bring to mind earlier European jewellery experiments that prodded function and the relationship to the body in order to liberate jewellery and align it with investigations into other art practices. Being ‘unwearable’ though doesn’t mean leaving behind the realm of jewellery. Skinner notes that in a more ironic sense, Unwearable defines a body of jewellery made in the last two years under the title The Shapes I Used to Like, which is Walker’s most refined production – a clarifying of her purpose and a turning away from the ‘bad girl’ posturing of her first ten years in Germany.
Lisa Walker was born in Wellington in 1967. From 1988 to 1989 she studied Craft and Design at Otago Polytech Art School and in 1992 was a founding member of “Workshop 6”. In 1995, Walker moved to Munich where she studied under Professor Otto Künzli and was awarded the Meisterschülerin (Head student) in 2001. In 2004 she gained a Diploma from the Munich Arts Academy and was part of the event “Im Laden des Goldschmiedes” at Munich’s Luitpold Lounge. Walker has exhibited widely in Europe, including Amsterdam, Barcelona and Berlin, and in America, Japan, New Zealand and Australia. Her work is held in collections in Germany at the Schmuckmuseum in Pforzheim and the Danner Stiftung in the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich, as well as in New Zealand at the Auckland Museum, Te Papa and TheNewDowse. Walker is married to jeweller Karl Fritsch and they have two children.
Unwearable is a touring exhibition that was previously exhibited at Craft Victoria, Melbourne. An impressive limited edition monograph, Lisa Walker – Unwearable was published in 2008 by Cologne and New York based Darling Publications. Lisa Walker and Damian Skinner will present a talk at TheNewDowse on Saturday 27 March at 2pm, full details on
Lisa Walker: Unwearable
12 December 2009 – 25 April 2010

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