Precious items can have an important role in ritual and performance, with connections to sacred and intimate body parts; be it a handmade vessel we drink water out of, a comb we brush our hair with, or an elegant ring passed down from generations. They can be made of rare materials, be well-crafted and artisanal, but more vitally tend to have emotional significance or spiritual importance, something that is passed on and carried through us, evoking the memory and presence of loved ones.
Enjoy Contemporary Art Space’s upcoming exhibition Bling Ring asks five craft-based artists, working across contemporary art, sculpture, jewellery, garment-making, performance and embroidery to create artworks that are underscored by personal notions of preciousness.
Louie Zalk-Neale (Ngāi Te Rangi/Pākēha) uses native tī kōuka fibres to create thin, delicate ropes that are multipurpose: worn as decorative garments on the body and suspended in the air, exploring transformation as it occurs within spirituality, gender, the living world and Māori mythology 'queerness as the most natural thing'.
Nââwié Tutugoro replicates the form of traditional Kanaky combs into soft pillow-like sculptures, looking at ways in which the head and a person's name becomes both sacred and commonplace. Following on, artist and jewellery maker Jenny Takahashi Palmer presents a sequence of exquisite hair-related artefacts that reflect her own Japanese heritage, new collaborations and new experiments into woodcarving.
Ming Ranginui (Te Ati Haunui-a-Pāpārangi) shows her signature style though an intricately adorned and wickedly funny art installation, remixing the language of artefacts found in pop culture references and a teenager’s bedroom.
Finally, Rotterdam/Naarm-based artist Clementine Edwards shows new and old work that examines her understanding of ‘material kinship’, and the relationships found mingled across objects through found and gifted items, glitter, and 'low value' craft materials.
Curated by Vanessa Mei
What makes something precious? What is your relationship to preciousness? Talking all things on heirlooms, rituals, sacredness and adornments, ‘traditions’ around body parts, performances and crafts as tools for artists to draw on.More info
This group exhibition kicks off Enjoy’s programme under an all-new team of staff, curated by Vanessa Mei, inviting contemporary craft practices to take centre stage within a non-profit art gallery, examining what is sacred and frivolous up close. We would like to thank The Chartwell Trust for the financial support that has made this exhibition possible, and Creative New Zealand for their continuing support.