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Jewellery & Metal (MA)

Lili Murphy-Johnson

Lili Murphy-Johnson (b. 1992, London) is an artist who works in the intersection of jewellery and performance. Her practice is vulnerable, comedic and risk-taking. She explores ideas of purpose, value and objectification.

Graduating from Central Saint Martin’s BA Jewellery Design course in 2015, Lili went on to train as a traditional jeweller with Shaun Leane, The Great Frog London and Castro Smith. Today she uses these skills in unconventional ways within her practice to question value.

In 2021 Lili was awarded the Griffin Scholarship to study for an MA in Jewellery & Metal at the Royal College of Art. Her work has been exhibited at Goldsmiths Hall in London and Munich Jewellery Week, and has sparked media coverage in the Guardian and the Financial Times. Lili was also recently selected for New Contemporaries 2023.

Degree Details

School of Arts & HumanitiesJewellery & Metal (MA)RCA2023 at Truman Brewery

Truman Brewery, F Block, Ground, first and second floors

Lili wears a large doorstop shoe to hold open a door for the public in canary warf.

My practice is driven by questioning and playing with power that exists within objectification, in particular the dominance that can result from excessive submissiveness. I enjoy opposites, contradictions and playful experiments on more serious underlying concepts and topics.

I am interested in the value of labour, how it is measured and changeable, always in flux. I find that the way the meaning or value of an object can disappear or alter depending on who is viewing it is compelling, and in my practice I experiment with this.

I work between performance art and jewellery, poking at the meaning of being ‘correct’ in our behaviour and interactions. I tend to use humour and subversion to work through my ideas and am drawn to moments in which humour can become awkward and tension can be felt.

As of May 2023, you can buy luxury handmade jewellery in H&M, Claire's, Accessorize, Primark and Next.

Cheap jewellery is being purchased from high street shops.

Replicas are being carefully hand-made with matching materials using labour intensive traditional jewellery making techniques.

The luxury fakes are being put back into the original packaging and secretly returned onto the shelves of high street shops for customers to unknowingly buy.

After Acting Like a Doormat for Many Years I Will Become a Doormat
Doormat Half Marathon
Doormat Retail Therapy

In order to learn more about objectification, I made myself into a doorstop holding various doors around London. I am interested in the idea of self-sacrificing in order to feel safe and in control.

Lili is wearing a large doorstop shaped grey rubber show and is holding the door open with it at the london assay office
Becoming a doorstop for the Assay Office
Lili is wearing a large doorstop shaped grey rubber show and is holding the door open with it at st. pauls cathedral
Becoming a doorstop for St. Pauls Cathedral

This performance was in response to the language and assumptions I had experienced around 'being in the workshop'. I am interested in the idea of there being a correct way to use time or environments. I am also interested in the irony of how hard it is to do nothing.

Getting Some Time in the Workshop

The Griffin Scholarship