Lisa Walker Exhibits Some Uncomfortable Jewellery
World-renowned artist New Zealander Lisa Walker, 52, sees potential in everything, from shoes, Lego and mobile phones, to egg beaters and dead animals. A new show on now at RMIT Design Hub Gallery in Melbourne looks back at her 30-year career.
Walker has drilled a hole through the screen of a 1999 Apple iBook laptop and pulled a rope through it. That’s a necklace. And so is a stuffed squirrel on a skateboard. So are five old mobile phones, strung together on a plaited cord. Nine stilettos, connected in a loop, form a bracelet. And little Lego men, bound together, are jewellery too.
The intriguingly titled ‘She wants to go to her bedroom but she can’t be bothered’ is a 30-year retrospective of Walker’s practice as a jeweller. You could wear everything in this show, even the old rotary telephone. Plenty of it is impractical and unorthodox, and far from conventionally beautiful. But it’s all – technically – jewellery.
“I learned a long time ago that within [jewellery-making] I can still include a lot of other information,” Walker says. “Art, my life, politics … lots of other stuff can enter the work.”
A string of taxidermied ducklings is a necklace too, cute and fluffy, but dead. The Discomfort stretches far beyond the physical.
Some of Walker’s earliest work is on display too, from her university days at Otago Polytechnic in Dunedin. These pieces are more recognisable as adornments. Rings are made from wire and gold, and you can actually tell where your finger might go. But they’re still experimental, and completely Walker’s own.
“Everything can be worn,” Walker says. “It would be a bit uncomfortable. Your neck would get sore. Old [iBooks] weren’t light.”
She wants to go to her bedroom but she can’t be bothered is on at RMIT Design Hub Gallery until 4 May.
Original article by Will Cox, Broadsheet, February 13, 2019.
Photo by Jacqui Shelton.