The Buried City

The Sacred and The Mundane

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Dawn Brooks  Jade Montserrat  Steven Potter
Susan Slann  Susan Timmins  Karen Thompson

with film and photography by

Sat 12th April – Sat 17th May 2014

Thurs to Sat, 11.00 am – 4.00 pm
Admission is free

Most of us accumulate all sorts of bits and pieces – souvenirs to mark family occasions, holidays, friendships, special events, memorable experiences; postcards, photographs,  gifts, books, notes, trinkets, letters and the like. These assorted remnants offer clues to  our cultural background, circumstances, history and identity, reflecting our range of  interests, activities, preferences, aspirations and things that happen to us by  design or chance.

We tend to value and preserve some things more carefully or consciously than others,  and our methods vary according to character, disposition and means influenced by the  technology of the day. Some derive satisfaction from systematically editing and filing  photographs or mementos in albums, or recording the minutiae of daily thoughts and  experiences in diaries or blogs, perhaps sharing these with the world. At the opposite  extreme, others give little thought to cataloging an ever-increasing conglomeration  of stuff in their possession. Whatever our tendency, whether veering towards order or  otherwise, it will reveal as much about us as the content itself. Personal taxonomy can,  arguably, be more interesting than formal and professional methods adopted by those  repositories dedicated to research, collection, conservation, classification, interpretation  and display.

The postcard, bus ticket or scribbled note that falls out of a book, marking a forgotten  pause in our reading, can revive powerful and vivid memories of an experience long  since buried in our subconscious. Nobody else has access to these associations and,  if we choose to reminisce and share our story then memory and association is translated  into history and its interpretation.    If personal possessions are imbued with associations, which reside uniquely in our  memories, this gives rise to a fascination and poignancy in speculating on the origins,  purpose and history of items encountered within formal museum contexts. Objects  presented as such are, of course, removed from their original context. Their ability to  function as intended no longer really operates. Interpretation through classification  may be an attempt to redress the loss of context or function and to plug the gap where  memory and association might occur.

This exhibition brings memory and association to the fore as an alternative way to reinterpret a small  number of objects from Scarborough Museums Trust’s collection, selected by six artists and myself.  Each person chose independently, with no predetermined notion of the range or type of items to be  brought together. The resulting ‘collection’ is assembled and displayed through an approach  reminiscent of the Surrealist technique, ‘the exquisite corpse’, rather than attempting to  epitomise a museum collection.

A single work by each artist is included, but not placed adjacent to their selected object,  to underline the aspect of visual association in curating the exhibition. We have commissioned  film and photography by Webb-Ellis especially for this exhibition.    Stuart Cameron, Director of Crescent Arts    We are grateful to Scarborough Museums Trust for their assistance by allowing  access to their collection, thereby enabling us to present this exhibition to coincide with  Museums at Night 2014.