Mint colored monoliths dominate the central space at Galerie Ra. They are an island of towering cliffs, pressing down upon you as you enter. They amplify a feeling already present in Lisa Walker’s work – of weight and scale, of superabundance, of overwhelming excess. Not the excess of lavishness, but of being buried in the flotsam and jetsam of consumer society. Walker’s concurrent exhibitions, the result of her 2010 Françoise van den Bosch Prize win, at Galerie Ra and the Cobra Museum of Modern Art, pack in a whopping 80+ works, 35 of which cover these mint structures and the aubergine colored wall behind. Her materials consist of the detritus of modern life, of her own life. But these are not strictly personal works. The stuff has universal appeal. The no longer useful Macbook, broken toys, tchotchke’s, and things that were only useful to a point, like mediocre paintings, souvenirs belonging to others, or disposable containers. They are parts, discards, things that reside in a state of half usefulness. You don’t really need them, but you don’t want to throw them away either. The imagined state (and I am sure that it is purely that) of Lisa’s studio could be an episode of Hoarders.
Sieraad is a Dutch word commonly used for “jewelry”. Though it literally means “ornament” or “adornment”. SIERAAD: International Jewelry Art Fair’s goal is to adorn, but also to educate. This year SIERAAD is celebrating its tenth anniversary. The show began in 2001 with twenty-two artists showing on an indoor tennis court in Enschede. In 2011 there were 100 participants from 10 plus countries. The show has grown significantly in a decade, but the idea has stayed the same; create a marketplace platform for contemporary jewelry where participating independent professional artists will present and sell their work to the public themselves. The model is similar to the American Craft Council or Smithsonian Shows, or even DIY craft shows like Renegade. The public can buy direct from the artist, make a connection to the maker and thus the work. Also like those shows the public pays to enter, as do the artists for their spaces. The main difference is that SIERRAAD is specifically for jewelry. Co-founder and organizer of SIERAAD Astrid Berens believes in the power of the personal touch. “At SIERAAD you connect with the artist. You listen to the story of the maker and, as the wearer, you can add your own story. It is in this respect that SIERAAD Art Fair stands out among the usual fairs with gallery presentations.”