Rubbish from my workshop floor, 2008
Can you be a successful craftsperson without being skilful? “I’m not really a technical expert in anything”, claims jeweller Lisa Walker, and many of her pieces certainly look like it. This is jewellery that seems to leave all traditional notions of skill behind. If you are drawn to a brooch like this one, it is not in admiration of the handiwork that lies behind it, but something else. In this piece some rubbish has been fiercely – or perhaps just randomly – glued together. Many of the artist’s other works comprise ready-made objects that have been deconstructed, mutilated and re-assembled in a variety of ways. Often it seems to have been done with a sense of humour, but in some cases there is a darker
undercurrent of destruction and frustration. A fellow countryman of the artist, New Zealand art historian Damian Skinner, has coined her jewellery “an uncomfortable practice”.
Our relation to simple objects as symbols, and as carriers of meanings and memories, is a recurrent theme in Lisa Walker’s jewellery. What is often underlined is the state of flux that both objects and their symbolical meanings find themselves in. On the title page of the catalogue documenting Lisa Walker’s diploma exhibition at the academy in Munich in 2004 one reads that the collection comprises not only finished pieces of jewellery, but also “pieces that may become jewellery”. Objects are here seen as restless, wild, and with an uncertain character. Being knowledgeable about and sensitive to these aspects of objects is a skill that is manifest in every detail of this artist’s jewellery.
Lisa Walker (b. 1967 in New Zealand) is a jewellery artist. She lives in Munich.
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