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Jewellery captures Antarctic exploration

Jewellery exhibition captures Antarctic exploration

Jewellery by
Kirsten Haydon
Images pictured (from left to right):
ice tour, necklace, oxidised silver, copper and enamel; ice buttons, enamel and copper; ice moves, brooch, enamel, reflector beads, silver and steel. Images by Jeremy Dillon and reproduced courtesy of the artist.

Media Release August 2006

Jewellery exhibition captures Antarctic exploration

Melbourne-based jeweller Kirsten Haydon could never have imagined the profound impact the Antarctic would have on her work when she was an Antarctic Arts Fellow to the frozen landscape in 2004.

Eighteen months after the experience, Haydon says she is still transfixed by the environment – the massive ice landscape having changed the way she thinks. “It is really profound the way it has influenced how I now see colour and the way I approach my work,” she says.

“Because everything is so white, everything else stands out. You really notice the human impact and how it translates to the rest of the environment.”

The first show of her Antarctic work opens at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu on 11 August. room with a view is a new experience of jewellery that Haydon has created by adapting ideas of exploration and referencing it to her own relationship with the Antarctic.

Haydon was the first jeweller to visit the Antarctic and she says it was an “incredible experience” that she would love to repeat. She now wants to travel to the Arctic and then through her work compare the two ice landscapes.

“I had this amazing image of the Antarctic landscape in my head but after being there, it still feels like a complete unknown. No research prepared me for what it was like. It is like the Antarctic is on its own,” she says.

For Haydon, jewellery is a personal and sentimental medium. “Historically, many objects were fashioned in the form of miniature representations of landscapes and icons and have been used to remind people of journeys and experiences.

“Tourism was a phenomena that began in the late 18th and early 19th centuries but there has never been much jewellery made specifically relating to the Antarctic because it has not been a place that many people have experienced.”

Haydon says she is now creating these objects through her exhibition pieces – necklaces, brooches and buttons. She wants visitors to become “the explorers” and experience their own Antarctica.

The works will be displayed in black and white rooms. In a darkened section of the gallery space – to be viewed by torchlight – will be jewellery created from luminous visy beads used in road marking fired into enamel at high temperatures to form a reflective optical illusion visible in the dark. “Enamel is a traditional medium for jewellery, its white lustre taking on the characteristics of ice glinting in the night light.”

Juxtaposed is a video projection of a journey in a Hagland which combines Haydon’s interest in ideas of exploration with a new way of viewing object art.

Displayed in the adjoining white space are enamel geometric shapes, some with delicate drawings of landscape fragments and birds.

room with a view takes its name from a scenic lookout near Mt Erebus and the IMAX Crevasse.


room with a view by Kirsten Haydon is in Christchurch Art Gallery Tait Electronics Antarctica Gallery from 11 August to 3 December 2006.
Admission: Free.


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