“Te Papa is delighted to acquire the Smiley Series by Peter Deckers, an influential teacher and contemporary jeweller who lives in Wellington, New Zealand. Deckers, in this series, uses visual art and manipulation techniques to query perceptions in value through the individually made brooches produced between 2009 and 2015.
Deckers is also important as a senior jewellery tutor at Whitireia since 1989; his influence has helped push the new generation of jewellers forward through direct contact and engagement with senior international jewellers through the ‘Handshake’ Projects."
The Smiley series expresses the concepts of perception in ‘value’. This is a reoccurring strand in my work. It relates to how ‘value’ is perceived, mediated and utilised. In jewellery this is one of the aspects that separates the monetary from the artistic. The ’smile’ has many societal values. The ‘mouth gestures’ in this series came from famous icons that were manipulated and deconstructed. Its original ‘value and its representation’ has been altered through different set of circumstances: time, politics, investments, provenance and ownership, general appreciation, its reputation and fame, its souvenir status and now this with its digital and physical manipulation, function and (dis-)placement. This series reads as semi-recognisable narratives. Some of the questions I explored are how much a famous image or icon can be reduced or manipulated without losing its recognition or (de-)value and therefore its meaning…. In general my work scans ideas around the use and misuse of “value” in particular how it is moderated and manipulated. My work uses mixtures of non-valuable and valuable materials in order to reformulate and/or disrupt its value’s hierarchy. Peter Deckers 2015