My Collection(s)Posted: February 11, 2017
During our two weeks of travel we were asked to make a collection that we could present to the rest of the group. I was unsure of what I wanted to collect at the beginning of the project and hoped something would inspire me along the way. I’m too stingy to actually spend money on a material collection and the cost of the trip was enough for me, so that was out of the question. In the end, I ended up with a collection of what I would consider failed collections or incomplete collections…
In the Cardiff Museum I noticed the male genitals were often censored on many of the sculptures and any form of the aroused phallus was rarer still. I wanted to see if this was a commonality across all museums but quickly found this not to be the case… the Ashmolean alone had 3, or 20+ if we count the individual penises of the ‘Dish with Composite Head’. It became difficult to bring order to the images, how could I display them by size/arousal if one object had multiple erections? I would have probably needed to take photos of all sides of an object which is something I didn’t realise until after.
Gay Imagery Collection
The next collection I attempted was a gay imagery collection; artworks showing overt homosexual overtones. I considered this collection a failure not on my part, but on the museum’s; I only managed to find 3 separate pieces, 2 of which are over 2000 years old. Perhaps this would still be a collection worthy of showing in order to highlight the under representation of the contemporary LGBTQ community across the 20 museums we visited.
In an attempt to have some sort of physical collection I tried to produce some sketches in each museum. On the first week I took my 200+ page A4 sketchbook with me but quickly came to realise the impracticality of having to carry it around along with my 2 pencil cases, which, upon entering the museum I would often have to take out of my bag and carry around individually. The next week I specifically bought a lightweight A6 sketchbook but still found it difficult to find the time to draw or commit myself to drawing a particular artwork as I was always looking for the ‘perfect’ thing to draw. If I were to present these sketches I would potentially order them by time taken (if I had actually recorded it) or on how successful I feel the end result was, perhaps even allowing others to change the order giving me someone else’s perspective?
Cycladic Figurine Collection
During our trip I found these Cycladic Figurines at the majority of the museums. It was almost as if they were following us on our journey; From the very first at the Ashmolean in Oxford, to the Hepworth in Wakefield. It was interesting to see and compare the different layouts and descriptions that each location gave, with the most comprehensive being the Ashmolean. Perhaps if it wasn’t for this in depth insight at the very beginning of the trip I wouldn’t have found the figurines so inspiring and therefore wouldn’t have been looking out for them at the later locations. It’s also interesting to note that the Hepworth’s figurine had no reference to the paint that was traditionally used to decorate it, which is probably a reflection on Hepworth’s interest in the object as a pure form rather than anything it was decorated with.
What I’ve learnt from this exercise is that starting and actually continuing a collection is really quite difficult. Upon returning to Cardiff, I realised that there were so many missed opportunities that just didn’t cross my mind at the time of being there. I suppose all collectors feel like this to some extent; their collection will be missing something to make it complete or there will always be that one piece that managed to slip through the collectors fingers. Perhaps consciously gathering objects with the intent to start a collection will never create an authentic feeling one. When we think of Ken Stradling or Anthony Shaw, they are described as ‘incidental collectors’ so maybe it is infact the collections that happen subconsciously that have a better chance of growing further with conscious investment.