12 January 2010


One of the jewellers I greatly admire is Warwick Freeman. Ive always found his work to be problematic. But also jumping over those problems- which may well be part of the pleasure. 
When I visited NZ, it really put his work in a different context for me ( the 'natural' one?- you know, 'what are you when you're at home?'). Up until then, the context was for me, next to Otto Künzlis and Karl Fritschs on the shelf at Gallery Funaki. In the gallery context, the Freeman pieces fit in well; finely crafted, substantial, mysterious, pleasingly oscillating between abstract and recognisable - and walking that tightrope between nz cliché and transcendant object...
By substantial, I mean, big! heavy, and massive (as in dense), but immanently wearable (yes I believe that is the right word). Good claws, impressive carving. Remember to turn over a Freeman brooch, and try out the hand-made mechanism- always cleverly simple and really well made. Truly inspiring. 
I recently read Given:Jewellery by Warwick Freeman (text by Damian Skinner), which addresses the issue of appropriation of maori identity and such.

'Whether the ‘found’ is a material’s structure or an emblem of a culture’s self-presentation, Given: Jewellery by Warwick Freeman is ultimately shaped by the often controversial cross-cultural interaction that is inevitable in a settler society like Aotearoa New Zealand. Something might be found, but it isn’t always understood as freely given. The eddies of culture, the ways in which various – often conflicting – identities and stories attach themselves to objects, to jewellery, is ultimately Warwick Freeman’s most important subject.'

 I still dont know what to make of the subject- but Warwick makes plenty.

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