Tuesday 26 May 2015

The largest collection of contemporary New Zealand jewellery will be on display at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki from 18 July to 1 November 2015.

Wunderrūma: New Zealand Jewellery is curated by two of New Zealand’s most prominent jewellers, Karl Fritsch and Warwick Freeman.

The exhibition shows treasures the curators found in their exploration of adornment in Aoteaora New Zealand. It includes works from more than 75 contemporary artists, as well as Māori taonga (treasure) and Pacific and historical jewellery.

Objects made from stone, wood, bone and precious metals sit alongside less traditional works such as a necklace made out of cigarette butts, a motorbike helmet decorated with Māori pattern, a brooch made from a kingfisher bird and a sheepskin necklace.

The inclusion of artworks by artists Colin McCahon, Len Lye, Michael Parekowhai and Rohan Wealleans, also extends the traditional notions of jewellery.

Wunderrūma originated when the curators were invited by Galerie Handwerk in Munich, Germany, to create a show for the international jewellery symposium Schmuck in 2014, a tour supported by Creative New Zealand.

For the Auckland Art Gallery exhibition, more than 100 photographs, paintings and objects from the Gallery’s collection have been added by Fritsch and Freeman in order to further the study of adornment.

Wunderrūma binds the German word wunder (wonder) with the Māori word rūma (room). The title suggests Wunderkammer, or a cabinet of curiosities.

While contemporary jewellery is at the core of the exhibition, fine art and industrial and historical sources which have influenced jewellery making are also included.

Auckland Art Gallery Director Rhana Devenport says Wunderrūma is an ambitious New Zealand project.

‘The exhibition shows how unique New Zealand is in its approach to jewellery and it will continue to stimulate discussion about the development of adornment in this country.’

Auckland Art Gallery Principal Curator Dr Zara Stanhope says this exhibition contributes to the Gallery’s aim to support innovation in art and ideas.

‘The new and augmented Wunderrūma shows the Gallery’s work in supporting the investigation of creative practices, to offer audiences new ways of engaging with our culture and its material forms,’ she says.

The show was developed and toured by The Dowse Art Museum in Lower Hutt and supported by Te Papa Tongarewa.


About the curators:

Karl Fritsch (born in Sonthofen, Germany) studied at the Goldsmiths' College in Pforzheimin, and then at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. He now resides in Wellington and is one of New Zealand’s most recognised contemporary jewellers.

Warwick Freeman (born in Nelson, New Zealand) is largely self-taught and began making jewellery in Perth, Australia. After returning to New Zealand he became a partner in the highly successful jewellery co-operative Fingers. Following this he has become recognised as a leader in contemporary jewellery practice in Aotearoa.

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