The Imaginary Museum

The Tetley, Leeds
7th - 23rd March 2014

Referencing the book 'Museum Without Walls' by Andre Malraux, Artist Book Collective invited artists to submit new or existing images relating to the idea of the museum/archive. Each of the selected images was created as a multiple edition A6 postcard. Responses to the brief included taxonomies, museum methods and display, exhibition plans or blueprints and the role of photography as archival material.

The work references the archive or museum in both form and content, and the collating of images allows audiences to create their own imaginary museum from the postcards. In presenting the work in a museum postcard format, the exhibition explores the multiple nature of these museum images and the potential democratisation of artworks through the use of the multiple.

The work was presented in a custom made postcard rack for visitors can select and collate their postcards before paying a donation into a nearby honesty box. Any money raised from the exhibition is split between the artists involved.

Alice Bradshaw
Museum of Contemporary Rubbish; HOARD, Photography, 2012

Alice Bradshaw collected every item of rubbish from her art  practice during 2012 that would have otherwise been thrown away. In defining what is related to her practice as an artist, she kept the rubbish produced through activities such as the physical production of art objects, posting, transporting and exhibiting work, researching and visiting events and exhibitions.

Each item of rubbish has been photographed and catalogued in chronological order (month by month) and analysed. A total of 745 items have been collected and processed in this way.

Amelia Crouch
Untitled (Primitive Physic), Installation (detail), 2011

Untitled (Primitive Physic) is the documentation of a work created in 2011 for the exhibition 'Hunter Gatherer' at PSL. The work explored different ways of categorising objects and the organisation of knowledge, particularly in relation to shifting understandings of the body and subjectivity. Objects are linked together based on visual similarity or idiosyncratic associations, encouraging the viewer to imagine their own links between these items.

Charlotte Victoria Furness
The Bad Faeries Tooth Collection Kit, Sculpture and Photography, 2011

The kit contains:
a spool of yellow thread

a rusty needle
a bottle of ether
a tooth collection bottle

Chris Taylor
Family Archive, Found Objects and Photography, 2014

This image of 6 egg cups represents a small part of a much larger collection of similar objects found at flea markets and in charity shops.  The collection is an attempt to rebuild a memory of such items that the artist had daily contact with as a child. Whereas the original egg cups had been purchased as utilitarian objects, mass-produced, and eventually discarded as fashions changed and ‘the family’ dispersed, these orphans were rescued from stalls and shelves, a link to the past and an element of nostalgia - the family is reunited.

Emilio Macchia
Bits & Pieces — Charles Nypels Archive, Silkscreen Print, 2012

This work forms part of an ongoing project which is an attempt to define the research potential that may emerge from analysis of aspects of the Charles Nypels Archive at the JvE Academie.

Heather Chou
The Whitworth, Photography, Laser Transfer, Ink, 2014

The work was created in response to the print archive at the Whitworth Art Gallery. It was originally a photograph taken during the viewing of the gallery’s print collection but was then recreated as a unique print of the collection as a whole. 

Jeni McConnell
Thirty Instruments, Photography, 2013

2 labels from Thirty Instruments Loaned by Ladies project, 2013, focusing on the nature of archives and classification systems.

Joanna Brown
Twentyeight Fingers, Bronze Sculpture, 2012

Twentyeight Fingers is a collection of casts of the index fingers of creative people including visual artists, musicians, writers, animators, architects and poets; highlighting the diversity of creative thinking and practice. The piece includes the cast index fingers of Alan Bennett, Richard Billingham, Raymond Briggs, Sir Terence Conran, Richard Deacon, Tacita Dean, Ludovico Einaudi, Tracey Emin, Lord Foster, Antony Gormley, Sir Nicholas Grimshaw, Mona Hatoum, Susan Hiller, Anish Kapoor, Richard Long, Hugh Masekela, Roger McGough, Morten Morland, Alice Oswald, Nick Park, Cornelia Parker, Tom Phillips, Mary Quant, Ed Ruscha, Michael Sandle, Edmund de Waal, Vivienne Westwood and Benjamin Zephaniah.

Jon Eland
Reconstructed, Photomontage, 2014

This image examines how the museum removes things from context to create a subjective view of history, using the battle reconstruction (or re-enactment) as inspiration. Incorporating re-enactment photographs taken by the Shire oak photography collective alongside a gallery attendant who is a member of the collective, the work explores the nature of the photographic and performative reconstruction in relation to the historical truth of the museum. 

Kate Morrell
Animal, Vegetable, Mineral?, Drawing, 2014

'Animal, Vegetable, Mineral?' is part of a series of drawings produced for an upcoming exhibition of new work titled 'Pots before words'. These works explore the tensions between the subjective and objective in the interpretation and display of archaeological evidence.

Katya Robin
Bucket List, Photography, 2014

A selection of buckets from Katya Robin's publication 'Bucket Lists 1-4'.

Laurie Woodruff
Trivialogue, Photography and Digital, 2014

A digitally compiled photo-montage of a seemingly trivial collection of unrelated objects.

Louise Tett
Accretion, Photography, 2014

This work seeks to subvert the usual taxomonies of collection and display. Butterflies are usually the preserve of the elite lepidopterist; collecting, preparing and laying out caskets of alluring bodies. This collection has been meticulously cut from a vintage book and then stuffed into ordinary jars, sorted by the most basic of human family recogntion, men/women/babies/single. 

Manya DoƱaque
Museum of the Senses and Non-archivable Material, Photography, 2013

The photography series Museum of the Senses and Non-archivable Material was produced in response to the way in which museums and archives are usually designed to collect artworks that have a more permanent nature and employ permanent materials in their construction. 

Richard Shields
Attendance Figure, Water Colour Pencil on paper, 2009

Attendance Figure was originally made in response to Contents May Vary's Issue 3 brief, 'Does the Spectator Run the Show, edited by former CMV member Liz Murphy. The marks are based on the tally system once used by myself as an invigilator to count footfall throughout Manchester's 'CornerHouse' galleries. The image is chosen based on its figurative subject and the high level of visitors that flock to see it, even when it was stolen.

Silvie Fisch
Lake Treasures, Found object and photography, 2012

These jewelled ladies shoes were amongst hundreds of objects that appeared at the bottom of Leazes Park Lake in Newcastle upon Tyne when it was emptied as part of a restoration project more than ten years ago. Not only do the artefacts give insight into more than a hundred years of local history, they also spark our imaginations as to how they ended up in the lake. 

Theresa Easton
Two Thousand Insects, Printed paper and re-claimed wooden type tray, 2012

Two Thousand Insects refers to a reference made in Robert Spence Watson’s ‘The History of the Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle-upon-Tyne (1793-1896)In his account of the development of the society and library, Watson refers to the Societies growing collection of natural history objects that range from Egyptian mummies, an Australian wombat and two thousand insects. Easton takes this incidental detail in Watsons account and creates a series of folded books containing at least two thousand insects and sets them into a wooden letterpress type tray, referencing the traditional craft of book making.

Trevor Borg
LandlineGlass bottles, labels, soil, 2013

Collection of soil samples over a period of time from a specific patch of land in Malta. Time is embedded in soil samples and can be seen in moisture content, texture and colour of soil.

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