A big question I have been thinking about for my dissertation is, how the setting of an object dictates if it is art or not. This is because art is usually displayed in the traditional white wall gallery space which often makes a work art because its in a gallery. But the works in the exhibition Found at the Foundling Museum plays on both the object and the setting in the show. The exhibition is set in a Georgian-style mansion in Bloomsbury, the museum displays the remains of the Foundling Hospital, which was created in 1739 to care for abandoned babies. The museum permanent collection includes works by Hogarth and letters and compositions by Handel. Unlike many contemporary art exhibitions in museums which is mainly about interpreting and responding to the vast museums collections the curator of Found Cornelia Parker plays along with the works to create a juxtaposition with the museums collection. The works main theme in improvising found objects and making them art. Parker’s own work is about defining a meaning in objects that already exist. This coincides with the found object which is almost always a sign, something that has a bigger significance than its ordinary appearance seems to permit something that acts as a symbol if only it can be interpreted.
The exhibition has over 60 pieces of work but I am going to go into detail on 3 of these as the artist have used the object in a way which I want to explore over the coming year. The first is Mike Perry his 3 prints titled ‘Mor Plastig’ (2012) which is welsh for plastic sea are items which he had found washed up on the beach near his house in wales. He then created micro landscapes which were to document both humanity’s impact on nature and natures impact on the man made. This documentation was from images of the found object which gives us the impression that the artist made these grids but because they were found the cultural significance is more. The second piece was by the artist Gavin Turk his sculptures deal with issues of authorship, identity and with the ‘myth’ of the artist and the ‘authorship’ of a work, Turk’s engagement with this modernist, goes back to the ready-mades of Marcel Duchamp. His work on display was ‘Nomad’ (2002) which at first seems to be a old used sleeping bag scrunched up. Turks titling of the work suggests that it a sleeping bag once used by a homeless person and which he found and now displaying. But the work is a bronze casting which is painted to look like the object he found. This interpretation of the object is something I am planning to do during the course of the year but instead of making it look the same I will make the new ‘Found’ object perfect to create a contrast. The room in which Turk’s work was displayed was the old governors meeting room this room which looks lie a 18th century dinning room creates an unlikely place for the work to be displayed but this juxtaposition makes this work more interesting as its setting completely contradicts where you would usually find a homeless persons sleeping bag. The final piece of work I am going to talk about is ‘Unfurled Fiver’ (2016) by Richard Wilson the work is two pieces one a crumpled up five pound note and then a series of photograph of a aeroplane putting back together, this is more of a process based piece and was completely different to everything else on show, the documentation of a object being destroyed then putting it back together was another way an object can be art, the concept came from Wilson unfolding a screwed up fiver and wanting to do a same thing to an object.
‘Nomad’ (2002) Gavin Turk
‘Unfurled Fiver’ (2016) by Richard Wilson
‘Mor Plastig’ (2012) Mike Perry