Wunderrūma binds the German word wunder (wonder) with the Māori word rūma (room). The title evokes 'Wunderkammer', or a cabinet of curiosities – massed collections of objects including artworks, cultural artefacts, natural history samples and more.
Combining work created by contemporary New Zealand artists, Māori taonga (treasures), and Pacific and historical European jewellery, Wunderrūma: New Zealand Jewellery encapsulates the treasures that leading jewellers, and the exhibition's curators, Warwick Freeman and Karl Fritsch found in their exploration of adornment in Aotearoa New Zealand. The exhibition resulting from their investigation – eclectic wonder rooms of carefully selected things – has contemporary jewellery as its core and includes historical, customary, fine art and industrial items of influence.
In 2014, the exhibition was shown at Galerie Handwerk in Munich, Germany as Wunderrūma: Schmuck aus Neuseeland before returning to New Zealand for its presentation at The Dowse Art Museum in Lower Hutt.
Reworking the original exhibition, Freeman and Fritsch have drawn from Auckland Art Gallery's extensive collections of historical, modern and contemporary New Zealand and international art to expand on the original themes with artworks that share direct or metaphorical relationships with the jewellery pieces.
Wunderrūma: New Zealand Jewellery was developed and toured by The Dowse Art Museum, with the support of Creative New Zealand and the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.
Text extracted from Auckland Art Gallery Toi O Tāmaki website.