Lisa Walker: Unwearable is an exhibition which surveys the work of acclaimed Munich - based expatriate New Zealand jeweller Lisa Walker from 1992 to the present.
Unwearable is a provocation. It matters when a jeweller chooses such a confrontational title for an exhibition of work from the past four years. What's the angle here? What is Walker's game? If you are at all familiar with Walker's jewellery, you won't be surprised. The word 'unwearable' does what all the best jewellery in this exhibition does when you consider putting it on - it is an aggressive challenge on a material, conceptual and sometimes even practical level that is consistently framed through jewellery history and the common denominator of wear, of function, that keeps jewellery ticking over.
Lisa Walker: Unwearable promises to be an exciting and innovative installation for Objectspace. The title of this 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 which prodded function and the relationship to the body in order to liberate jewellery and align it with investigations taking centre stage in other art practices. Being unwearable, though, as Walker's work yet again demonstrates, doesn't mean leaving behind the realm of jewellery.
If in the past Walker's jewellery was unwearable, it was in a white hot fury. Now it is unwearable in a cerebral, cooler manner. Unwearable? Well, perhaps, but Walker's work has never been more confident of its location and motivation as jewellery.
Lisa Walker is a leading New Zealand expatriate jeweler who has been based in Germany since 1995. Walker's work is held in leading public and private collections internationally and nationally, including the Auckland War Memorial Museum, The New Dowse and The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. The subject of an impressive monograph in 2008 by Cologne and New York based Darling Publications, Lisa Walker is an important international figure in contemporary jewellery.