Matters of Life & Death

7th July - 25th Sept 2011

Invitation to the exhibition

Invitation to the exhibition





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Matters of Life and Death

An exhibition that explores the responses of nine international jewellery artists to the proliferation of natural disasters and man-made destruction in our world.

Matters of Life and Death includes sculptural work, jewellery and film, curated in a way that makes religious, political, artistic and fashion statements asking questions about life and death, light and dark, sobriety and humour.

Visitors will not only be confronted by the striking jewellery they will be provoked into considering the following:

How would it feel to have a wolf trap clasped around your wrist?

Sophie Hanagarth, this year’s winner of the Herbert Hofmann prize, the world’s most prestigious contemporary jewellery award, presents Trap, wrought iron bracelets that resemble wolf traps with sharp, articulated claws. Says Hanagarth, ‘They are jaws, dentures or mouths worn on the arm. They absorb us, eat us or suck us. By the mere act of putting on these bracelets, our hand is gobbled down, devoured, an extremity of the human body is captured.’ The pieces are brutally beautiful surprisingly sensual and extremely wearable!

Do you dare wear Carbon and Horsehair?
Agnes Larsson combines these unlikely yet elemental materials to create dramatic neckpieces. Carbon is a basic material existing in all living things but which we also consider to be dead, burned and charred whilst horsehair is a natural material that has connections to the body and life. Agnes says, ‘In my pieces I see opposites like alive and dead, darkness and light, surface and depth, fragility and strength.’ 

Can severed swords become jewels to adorn the body?
Bernhard Lehner describes his jewellery as ‘symbolic disarmament’: weapons deconstructed – literally sawn apart - and then reformed as pieces of provacative jewellery, instruments of destruction recreated as desirable decoration for the body.

But Matters of Life and Death isn’t all about doom and gloom. If you’re worried that our exhibition is going to bring you down, we’ve also selected jewellers whose work is energetic, creative and joyful to lift the spirits including colourful post apocalyptic mosaic tree brooches by Samantha Queen and vibrant, creative avant garde work by Lina Peterson that injects a literal ray of sunshine.

Finally, humourous highlights courtesy of Akiko Kurihara whose playful punning pieces charm and engage and Peter Vermandere with gargoyle inspired pearl pins enigmatically titled ‘emotions for the advanced’.

Says curator Kath Libbert, ‘I wanted to curate an exhibition that reflects on destruction both natural and man-made, as this is a huge preoccupation in our world at the moment, but also an exhibition that explores the possibilities for regeneration, hope and humour. We’re also inviting visitors to be photographed wearing a piece that moves, excites, revolts…and to record their response on our ever growing Chain of Thought which will become an integral part of the exhibition. We hope you will feel compelled to make a visit, it’s a matter of life and death! ’

There will be a Collectors Event with keynote speakers to accompany the exhibition in September. For details please contact the gallery.