23 Jun 2014

This content is tagged as Multi-Artform .


Ambitious exhibition of New Zealand jewellery and taonga returns to the Dowse

The largest exhibition of contemporary New Zealand jewellery to ever be shown in Europe is currently on show at the Dowse Art Museum from 21 June through to 28 September 2014. 

‘Wunderrūma: New Zealand Jewellery’ includes the work of more than 75 contemporary New Zealand artists as well as taonga Māori, Pacific and historical jewellery from Te Papa Tongarewa. The exhibition was shown earlier this year at Galerie Handwerk in Munich, Germany to coincide with the
international jewellery symposium Schmuck.

‘Wunderrūma’ is curated by Warwick Freeman and Karl Fritsch, two of New Zealand’s most prominent jewellers, and supported by New Zealand institutions The Dowse Art Museum and the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa as well as government arts agency Creative New Zealand.

Courtney Johnston, Director of The Dowse Art Museum says that touring the exhibition to Germany was an ambitious undertaking for The Dowse but in keeping with the organisation’s ongoing commitment to the craft/object art dialogue in New Zealand and internationally. “The Dowse is known historically for supporting the development of contemporary jewellery in New Zealand. It was an obvious decision for us to partner in such an important presentation of New Zealand jewellery at Schmuck, the world’s most prominent jewellery symposium.”

The title ‘Wunderrūma’ plays on the European tradition of the Wunderkammer (wonder room or cabinet of curiosities) and the te reo Māori transliteration of the word ‘room’. While contemporary jewellery is the centre of the exhibition, historical, Māori and Pacific collections, fine art and industrial sources which parallel and influence contemporary jewellery making are also included. 

The exhibition encompasses the work of more than 70 jewellers ranging from early exponents such as Kobi Bosshard through to a new generation of jewellers including current student Fran Carter. Works made from precious metals sit alongside less traditional works such as a necklace made out of cigarette butts by Frances Stachl. The inclusion of pieces by artists Colin McCahon, Len Lye, Michael Parekowhai and Rohan Wealleans as well as Māori taonga extends the discussion of adornment. 

Co-curator Warwick Freeman explains, “Jewellery can be found in many different places and practices. ‘Wunderrūma’ is not a history of New Zealand jewellery, or pronouncement on contemporary making in this country. Instead, it reflects what two artists see from their viewpoints (local and international) when they look at adornment in Aotearoa New Zealand.” 

The exhibition is accompanied by a publication with a new text by Fritsch and Freeman discussing the development of the exhibition and photographs of the works included. A curated assortment of existing and new pieces of text in the publication will give the reader a range of ways to explore the history of adornment in Aotearoa New Zealand. 


Media enquiries and images: 

Katrina Smit

T: 04 5601477

MOB: 027 7777 127

E: katrina.smit@huttcity.govt.nz          

High resolution images of work in the exhibition and interviews with the exhibition curators Karl Fritsch and Warwick Freeman as well as included artists are available upon request. 

Curators’ biographies 

Karl Fritsch (born in Sonthofen, Germany), studied at the Goldsmiths' College in Pforzheimin and then at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. Subsequently he has travelled around the world exhibiting and presenting lectures in in Europe, America, Asia and Australia. He now resides in Wellington and is one of New Zealand’s most recognised contemporary Jewellers. His jewellery can be found adorning bodies throughout the world and is also collected by public institutions including in the collections of The Dowse Art Museum, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe (Museum of Art and Crafts) in Hamburg, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. 

Warwick Freeman (born in Nelson, New Zealand), is largely self-taught and began making jewellery in Perth, Australia. After returning to New Zealand he joined Lapis in 1977, a co-operative jewellery workshop and a year later 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 .Warwick regularly exhibits in New Zealand, Australia, Europe and the USA. His works are cherished by jewellery lovers all over the world, and held in the collections of institutions including the Pinokothek der Moderne in Munich; the Houston Museum of Fine Arts; the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra; the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney; Auckland War Memorial Museum; The Dowse Art Museum; and the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. 



Support for this exhibition is provided by 

Creative New Zealand www.creativenz.govt.nz

The Dowse Art Museum www.dowse.org.nz

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa www.tepapa.govt.nz

The many generous makers, private collectors and public institutions who have made their work available for this international project. 

Support for the publication is provided by Creative New Zealand.


Photo: Moniek Shrijer, 2014 Schmuck and Talente recipient. Photography by Mark Tantrum.

Title: Ambitious exhibition of New Zealand jewellery and taonga returns to the Dowse
Venue: The Dowse Art Museum
Date: 21 June 2014
Info: Free admission