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What is close to your heart?

Author: Alex Grace, Communications and Relationships Manager

The world of contemporary jewellery is coming to Lower Hutt, and bringing a curious and valuable collection of objects with it. From a necklace coated in two dollar bills, to a golden cast of a nose and mauri stones carved from pounamu—The Language of Things: Meaning and Value in Contemporary Jewellery at The Dowse Art Museum, 24 February – 24 June 2018 will invite visitors to take a closer look and think about exactly what makes jewellery valuable.

Director of The Dowse Art Museum, Courtney Johnston says, “The Language of Things features over 100 artists from across the world—including Europe, America, Asia, Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. In bringing together these important works, this exhibition shows off the many faces of international contemporary jewellery and invites visitors to reflect on what jewellery can say”.

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

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

Curator Sian van Dyk said, “I’m fascinated by contemporary jewellery that explores emotional value. And, following the opportunity I received from Creative New Zealand to travel to Schmuck and Munich Jewellery week in 2015, I wanted to bring the world of contemporary jewellery back to The Dowse and carry on our history of nurturing this expressive art form.

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

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

“Through this show I want to unpack the value of jewellery, over and above its monetary worth. I’d like to invite visitors to ponder the works on display and consider the unusual materials they are made from. I’m especially focussed on the connections we form with seemingly everyday objects and how we ‘read’ their meaning.”

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.

At the heart of the exhibition will be an installation by Berlin-based artist 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 sculpture made from cardboard ‘moving’ boxes, her installation playfully mimics hermit crabs swapping shells to find new ‘homes’ that 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.

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.

The exhibition also features iconic works by international contemporary jewellery heavyweights such as Otto Künzli, Dorothea Prühl, Gerd Rothmann, Suska Mackert, Gijs Bakker and Susan Cohn and alongside jewellery by artists from Aotearoa New Zealand. Auckland jeweller Sharon Fitness will hire actors to bring her works to life during the weekends of the exhibition, while recently acquired work for The Dowse collection by Upper Hutt resident Neke Moa will also be on display.

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

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

Courtney Johnston says, “This show is a timely reminder for us to consider what is precious and what we hold close to our hearts, both figuratively and, in the case of contemporary jewellery, literally.”

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

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

This exhibition is accompanied by a programme of events and performances beginning with a special open day featuring talks by Daniel Kruger, Lauren Kalman and Susan Cohn. In April 2018, Otto Künzli will travel to New Zealand to give a series of lectures and tutorials in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin and appear as a key note speaker at The Dowse symposium “Unpacking the language of things”. More details to be released through our website and Facebook page.

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

For more information, interview requests or images, please contact
Alex Grace, Communications and Relationships Manager
Alex.Grace@huttcity.govt.nz ǀ 022 624 2152

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 website. ***

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