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The Language of Things: Meaning and Value in Contemporary Jewellery

Coming soon
24 Feb – 24 Jun 2018
Free

But if the Crime is Beautiful... Strangers to the Garden, 2016, Lauren Kalman, inkjet print. Courtesy of the artist and Sienna Patti USA

But if the Crime is Beautiful... Strangers to the Garden, 2016, Lauren Kalman, inkjet print. Courtesy of the artist and Sienna Patti USA

Yuka Oyama, Cleaning Samurai, 2014.  Courtesy of the Artist.  Photo: Diego Castellano

Yuka Oyama, Cleaning Samurai, 2014. Courtesy of the Artist. Photo: Diego Castellano

Lauren Tickle, $63.00 US Dollars, Currency Converted, 2016, US currency (two and one dollar bills), silver and monofilament. Courtesy of the artist and Sienna Patti, USA.

Lauren Tickle, $63.00 US Dollars, Currency Converted, 2016, US currency (two and one dollar bills), silver and monofilament. Courtesy of the artist and Sienna Patti, USA.

Christoph Zellweger, Excess 2550, 2012, hand blown glass. Courtesy of the artist.

Christoph Zellweger, Excess 2550, 2012, hand blown glass. Courtesy of the artist.

Gerd Rothmann, Die Goldene Nase (The Golden Nose), imprinted from J. Teunen, 1984, gold. Courtesy of the Artist and Ornamentum Gallery, USA.

Gerd Rothmann, Die Goldene Nase (The Golden Nose), imprinted from J. Teunen, 1984, gold. Courtesy of the Artist and Ornamentum Gallery, USA.

Neke Moa, Mauri Stones, 2016, pounamu, paint. Collection of The Dowse Art Museum. Photo: Toni Taylor

Neke Moa, Mauri Stones, 2016, pounamu, paint. Collection of The Dowse Art Museum. Photo: Toni Taylor

Sharon Fitness, I found an old light socket in a cupboard at work (just stick a pin on it and call it a brooch), 2015. Photo: Caryline Boreham. Courtesy of the artist

Sharon Fitness, I found an old light socket in a cupboard at work (just stick a pin on it and call it a brooch), 2015. Photo: Caryline Boreham. Courtesy of the artist

Precious things aren’t always made from precious materials—and jewellery is no exception.

The intimacy of jewellery worn on the body gives us a unique way of showing who we are and what’s important to us. This exhibition expands on our associations with adornment: drawing out how ideas of value have changed in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

The Language of Things features over 100 artists from Europe, America, Asia, Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand whose work reveals how personal meaning develops from the often unusual materials and processes used in the field of contemporary jewellery. Visitors can expect to see beautifully crafted, wearable pieces as well as installation, photography and video, including a necklace made of scissors; a woman covered in brass leaves and a screening of jewellery appearances in films over the last 80 years.

At the heart of the exhibition, will be an installation by Berlin based Yuka Oyama called Helpers—Changing Homes, made especially for The Dowse during her Te Whare Hēra Residency. Featuring a video of a performance of wearable jewellery made from cardboard ‘moving’ boxes: her installation playfully mimics hermit crabs swapping shells to find new ‘homes’ which are a better fit. Through it, Oyama helps us think about immigration and how the objects we carry with us help create a sense of home.

The contemporary jewellers in this exhibition make pieces that comment on social, cultural or political matters through the materials that they choose to work with. Their themes include the shifting perception of precious materials such as gold, vanity, gender stereotyping, associations with place and our relationships with accessories, the environment and each other. Using our inherent understanding of jewellery as a symbol of personal expression to explore these ideas, The Language of Things also prompts us to reflect on how we ‘read’ the materials that surround us in daily life.

Contemporary jewellers in The Language of Things include Bernard Schobinger; Conversation Piece (duo), Daniel Kruger, David Bielander, Dorothea Prühl, Gerd Rothmann , Gijs Bakker, Helen Britton , Jiro Kamata, Karl Fritsch, Lauren Kalman, Liesbet Bussche, Lisa Gralnick, Mia Maljojoki, Moniek Schrijer, Noon Passama, Otto Künzli , Renee Bevan, Sharon Fitness, Susan Cohn, Suska Mackert, Ted Noten and Zoe Brand.

The Dowse is grateful to all the artists and supporters who have made this exhibition possible especially The Rotasa Collection, USA ; The Powerhouse Museum, Sydney ; The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, USA and CODA, The Netherlands. Exhibition sponsors and partners include Creative New Zealand, Blumhardt Foundation, Massey University, Asia New Zealand Foundation, Goethe-Institut, Handshake, Fab Lab Wgtn, and Allied Pickfords.

*** The exhibition dates published in the 2018 New Zealand Festival printed brochure listing are incorrect. The correct dates are as per this page. ***