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November 6, 2011 / kristindagostino

Ilse-Marie Erl

Ilse-Marie Erl

Latest comment from Anna Miles:

Brooch No. 3

This brooch I felt I knew well but didn’t have enough time to really appreciate. I own an amber version of this brooch that Marie gave me a long time ago. The amber brooch which like the newer red one is made of car headlight plastic came from a series of work called Bright lights and Concrete which is interesting for Marie’s inclusion of a palette of urban materials. By choosing these materials she was in some ways opposing herself to the conventions of the ‘Bone Stone Shell’ tradition of local jewellery. I guess an earlier challenge to this convention of gathering non-precious organic materials came from one of those ‘Bone Stone Shell’ insiders, Warwick Freeman, who had already begun to disassemble the tradition in his 1980s neckpiece that includes discs of pink and lime Perspex.

My understanding is that Marie made a series of geometric formed brooches employing car headlight set in silver for an exhibition of jewellery for and about men at Fingers. (I thought this was MAN, 2003, which also included Alan Preston’s snake-like, sperm-like mother of pearl brooches, but think I am mistaken). There was a desire on Marie’s part at least to make jewels that would be worn by men, however after the event she felt that the only men who bought or wore these jewels were men who were highly initiated to the wearing of contemporary New Zealand jewellery, so in some senses regarded the result as a failure.

Flash forward 8 years and Marie is undertaking Masters study at Unitec and in the course of her contemplations of the memorial role of jewellery and theories of the counter monument, she becomes involved in making her own counter monument in Oakley Creek, a memorial to the Waterview homes destroyed to make way for a motorway extension. Ironically Marie uses a fragment of car, the vehicle that has led to the motorway, to memorialise each home destroyed by its path. The red brooch I was now wearing was made at the same time as Marie implanted the same size cores of car headlight plastic in trees in Oakley Creek. I found this interesting and started wearing my amber brooch again at this time, as it seemed to have now acquired a whole new meaning. Like the red brooch included in Brooch of the month, the amber brooch was now connected to the story of a motorway extension that has cut through and caused the demolition of a neighbourhood. In another twist, Marie had obtained the headlight plastic for her Waterview Counter memorial from a West Auckland car wrecker in return for one of her brooches. She has a photo of the guy wearing his brooch. In a sense she has achieved something she set out to when she first made these works for Fingers, she has made a jewel for a man who is not a contemporary New Zealand jewellery aficionado.

Flora’s jewel had made me more scrupulous in my attention to Marie’s and I became preoccupied with its formal features, in particular the silver rim that the headlight plastic is set in. In this case the rim project quite substantially and casts a shadow on the red plastic contained within. I wondered if the design would be better if the silver rim was flush with the plastic as the polished concrete brooches Marie has made are. I remain fascinated by the rigorous geometry of Marie’s work. In the context of this story of jewels once intended for men that are now associated with homes lost to make way for a motorway, this brooch makes you wonder about the ways a formal vocabulary associated with ‘triangle, circle square’ Bauhaus has proved extremely mobile.

4 Comments

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  1. Eloise Kitson / Jun 29 2011 9:09 am

    Delighted to be a wearer after hearing about this project and then observing the whole collaboration over the last couple of years, yay! The first response to Ilse-Marie’s piece was from my nearly 14 month old who spotted it immediately after my coat and scarf were removed. He became determined to get a closer look. After several attempts to remove it from my jumper he settled to handling it as is where is, then went for the typical response of someone of his age group, he tried to taste it (without success) – I hope not a response I can expect from others! This is an immensely wearable piece and I shall enjoy wearing it for a month. I am tempted because of the brooch’s wearability to challenge myself to wear it everyday – I have really thrown down the gauntlet now…watch this space.

  2. Ilse Marie Erl / Jul 12 2011 6:06 pm

    This broach might look familiar to people accustomed to my work and I would like to put this rather humble looking piece (and its wearers) into its new context with this excerpt from my thesis:

    My recently completed Masters by Research project took me from the insular environs of the jewellery workbench to the social environs of urban Auckland where I examined methods of process-driven making, participation, collaboration, the ‘performative’, and social value. Through research I was drawn to a revised and expanded arena where jewellery processes may relate to an entire social body, rather than being limited to the creation of objects pertaining to a single body.

    This investigation of social value and meaning latent in contemporary jewellery practice engaged me in unanticipated notions of preciousness. The research culminated in the creation of a counter-memorial in the Auckland suburb of Waterview, a neighbourhood in which 115 houses and a park will be destroyed to make way for a state highway extension. Guided by discourses on counter-memorials articulated by theorist James E. Young, and the work of practitioners such as Jochen Gerz and Rachel Whiteread, I responded to a community confronted by major urban development. Processes typically employed within my jewellery making practice, were transferred and applied within the setting of a public walkway. 115 elements (core samples from homes to be destroyed or reflective car head and tail light plastic) were implanted, without official sanction, in trees in the northern end of Oakley Creek Walkway. Remnants of places where people once lived or the machine that led to their destruction have been transposed to function not only as a geological information system, but as social, historical and political signifiers. A trail of trees has been activated as a locket of community memory, and might now be understood as public jewellery.

    Ilse-Marie Erl

  3. Brian / Sep 13 2011 9:35 am

    Wearer 2 – Brian Wood

    After reading the comments from Eloise I set myself the goal of wearing the brooch every day. I almost succeeded! It is a piece that I felt very comfortable with and proud to wear. Along with that it just seemed to go with whatever I was wearing and had no demands of its own.
    I received a lot of positive comments & feedback from people – perhaps because I do not often wear jewellery (prior to B.O.M Club) people noticed…. and commented.
    One comment which I particularly enjoyed was at the Auckland Art Fair. “Are you sold” referencing the red dot one often sees next to art works. I like this piece its scale, bold, bright reflective nature, compact, intricate & very well made.
    . . .
    A little sad to be passing it on.

  4. Wearer Anna / Nov 6 2011 10:00 am

    This brooch I felt I knew well but didn’t have enough time to really appreciate. I own an amber version of this brooch that Marie gave me a long time ago. The amber brooch which like the newer red one is made of car headlight plastic came from a series of work called Bright lights and Concrete which is interesting for Marie’s inclusion of a palette of urban materials. By choosing these materials she was in some ways opposing herself to the conventions of the ‘Bone Stone Shell’ tradition of local jewellery. I guess an earlier challenge to this convention of gathering non-precious organic materials came from one of those ‘Bone Stone Shell’ insiders, Warwick Freeman, who had already begun to disassemble the tradition in his 1980s neckpiece that includes discs of pink and lime Perspex.

    My understanding is that Marie made a series of geometric formed brooches employing car headlight set in silver for an exhibition of jewellery for and about men at Fingers. (I thought this was MAN, 2003, which also included Alan Preston’s snake-like, sperm-like mother of pearl brooches, but think I am mistaken). There was a desire on Marie’s part at least to make jewels that would be worn by men, however after the event she felt that the only men who bought or wore these jewels were men who were highly initiated to the wearing of contemporary New Zealand jewellery, so in some senses regarded the result as a failure.

    Flash forward 8 years and Marie is undertaking Masters study at Unitec and in the course of her contemplations of the memorial role of jewellery and theories of the counter monument, she becomes involved in making her own counter monument in Oakley Creek, a memorial to the Waterview homes destroyed to make way for a motorway extension. Ironically Marie uses a fragment of car, the vehicle that has led to the motorway, to memorialise each home destroyed by its path. The red brooch I was now wearing was made at the same time as Marie implanted the same size cores of car headlight plastic in trees in Oakley Creek. I found this interesting and started wearing my amber brooch again at this time, as it seemed to have now acquired a whole new meaning. Like the red brooch included in Brooch of the month, the amber brooch was now connected to the story of a motorway extension that has cut through and caused the demolition of a neighbourhood. In another twist, Marie had obtained the headlight plastic for her Waterview Counter memorial from a West Auckland car wrecker in return for one of her brooches. She has a photo of the guy wearing his brooch. In a sense she has achieved something she set out to when she first made these works for Fingers, she has made a jewel for a man who is not a contemporary New Zealand jewellery aficionado.

    Flora’s jewel had made me more scrupulous in my attention to Marie’s and I became preoccupied with its formal features, in particular the silver rim that the headlight plastic is set in. In this case the rim project quite substantially and casts a shadow on the red plastic contained within. I wondered if the design would be better if the silver rim was flush with the plastic as the polished concrete brooches Marie has made are. I remain fascinated by the rigorous geometry of Marie’s work. In the context of this story of jewels once intended for men that are now associated with homes lost to make way for a motorway, this brooch makes you wonder about the ways a formal vocabulary associated with ‘triangle, circle square’ Bauhaus has proved extremely mobile.
    – Anna Miles

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