Jewellery’s ‘bad girl’ Lisa Walker displays precious mettle


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Most attention-grabbing up to date jewelry has questioning at its core. Lisa’s simply doing it probably the most explicitly.

Kate Rhodes, curator, RMIT Design Hub

Earlier than lengthy, guests are strolling round, one hypnotically tearing tape right into a looping necklace prepare, one other making a crude masks out of a cardboard field with two holes minimize out. It could look like they’re tapping into their internal little one, however Walker’s inspiration dates again a lot additional.

Fischli and Weiss bracelet (2016)

Fischli and Weiss bracelet (2016)Credit score:Lisa Walker

“It goes again to the origins of jewelry – when you concentrate on prehistory and gathering what’s at hand and stringing it to kind a chunk of jewelry,” says Kevin Murray, a panellist on the workshop and co-author of Place and Adornment – a historical past of Australasian up to date jewelry.

“We might not have shells and seeds as a lot because the detritus of recent life. It could appear fairly off the wall – actually – however it’s additionally genuine to the origins of decoration.”

Even on the earth of latest jewelry, which prides itself on difficult conventional notions of skilled craftsmanship and infrequently steers away from valuable supplies resembling gold and silver, Walker stretches the transient.

Pendant (2010)

Pendant (2010)Credit score:Lisa Walker

Arranging 4 pairs of stiletto heels right into a circle to kind a bracelet clearly includes talent. However what about drilling a gap via a clam-shell Apple iBook and threading rope via it to hold round a wearer’s neck?

“That actually upset so many individuals,” says jewelry designer Susan Cohn, who leads one of many 13 weekly public workshops (certainly one of which features a seance) curated round Walker’s exhibition. “Lisa severely challenged the elitism of latest jewelry, which is what up to date jewelry began out doing. She upset it, which was actually pleasant to observe.”

In 2010 Walker acquired the Francoise van den Bosch Award, thought-about jewelry’s Nobel prize. Her success unclasped Europe’s maintain over jewelry.

“She’s been in a position to interact with the worldwide summit in Munich and remodel it, and switch it the wrong way up in a really Antipodean trend,” says Murray. The northern hemisphere is not the important place to be, he says.

Cohn says: “She’s [now] a part of the institution, however continues to be the ‘unhealthy lady’. She nonetheless doesn’t do issues fairly the way in which everybody else does [and offers] a beneficial reminder to take dangers.”

Like Duchamp there’s a choice concerned. It’s not simply something – it’s extremely chosen, utterly determined.

Lisa Walker

Walker’s 30-year physique of labor is a career-length dialog asking, “What’s jewelry?” says RMIT Design Hub curator Kate Rhodes: “Most attention-grabbing up to date jewelry has questioning at its core. Lisa’s simply doing it probably the most explicitly.”

If Walker’s work appears carefully aligned with artwork (stuffed figures recall Mike Kelley’s abject sculptures, whereas A Fart and a Pearl recollects Piero Manzoni’s well-known can of Artist’s Shit) it’s Marcel Duchamp’s Readymades with which she shares specific affinity.

The place Duchamp introduced on a regular basis objects into the gallery and thus reworked them into artwork, Walker transforms objects into jewelry by placing a series or clasp round them and sporting them on the road.

In Here is a Fart and a Pearl (2009)

In Here’s a Fart and a Pearl (2009)Credit score:Lisa Walker

“Like Duchamp, there’s a choice concerned,” Walker says. “It’s not simply something – it’s extremely chosen, utterly determined.”

Her work can be humorous and playful. Simply as she has tackled the jewelry world’s preciousness, she’s ready to be knocked off her personal pedestal.

“I’m ready for somebody to create the ‘F— you, Lisa’ piece,” she says.

She needs to go to her bed room however she will’t be bothered (Lisa Walker retrospective) and All The Jewelry (program of workshops each Wednesday) are at RMIT Design Hub, Carlton, till Might four.

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