A few weeks ago I exhibited with re:collect and our Cabinet of Curiosity at the Wenlock Poetry Festival. The Cabinet of Curiosity is part of a touring exhibition that started it's life at Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery and is visiting heritage venues in England and some in Wales. We change the contents of the Cabinet and our artwork within it to reflect the heritage of the different venues.
One of the themes re:collect were working with at the Poetry Festival was collections. After visiting the 'Magnificent Obsessions, The Artist as Collector' exhibition at the Barbican in London I was fascinated by the collection that was exhibited in Andy Warhol's room. Part of his collection contained kitsch cookie jars and another part was cardboard boxes. Warhol was an obsessive collector and regularly bought things that were sent to him in cardboard boxes. Some of these boxes he opened and some he didn't, Warhol obviously liked the thrill of buying things but then discarded some soon after purchase. There was also a quote in the information about Warhol from the poet Sylvia Plath 'I love the thinginess of things', which seemed apt for the Poetry Festival and sums up a love of 'things' that gives us into the need to possess them.
Also in Warhol's exhibition space were some of his Brillo Soap Pads Boxes. This lead to me making and screen printing four miniature boxes to go in our Cabinet of Curiosity printed with the words: 'Things'; 'Collect'; 'Art' and 'Words'. Referencing Andy Warhol's work I screen printed them in similar colours and placed them around the cabinet:
re:collect received some funding from the Arts Council in order to tour the Cabinet and we were very interested in using it and the contents to interact with our audience at the Festival. I placed some small pieces of printmaking paper in the Cabinet and invited visitors to either write some words about or draw something in the Cabinet that inspired them:
I then placed these little notes around the objects in the Cabinet that they related to:
One lady who kindly wrote a note for me said 'thank you for giving me the experience to be be able to write something'. Many visitors wanted to spend a lot of time exploring our artwork and the cabinet contents, sparking lots of memories and thoughts.
A man left a note in Greek which was from the Iliad and is Hector's speech as he goes to war:
Jean Atkin is the 2015 Poet in Residence for the Wenlock Poetry Festival and she was also in the Priory Hall with her wonderful typewriter:
I invited Jean to take a look at our Cabinet of Curiosity and write some words/short poems on the small pieces of paper and place them in the cabinet:
Mary Williams, a local poet was exhibiting with us at the Festival and write a great poem about a 'Cabinet of Curiosity' which included a line about a trilobite fossil so I had include my blind embossing of a trilobite fossil: