Research point – artists who have used collections to inform their work.

Grayson Perry – Tomb of the unknown craftsman

I was lucky enough to visit this exhibition at The British Museum when it was on. A fascinating insight into the thoughts, mind and motivations of this interesting artist.

Perry was given access to the physical archives of The British Museum over two years and allowed to select his favourite pieces spanning millennia, that then informed some new work as well as complimenting already existing works. The exhibition was spread over several rooms and each was interspersed with a mixture of historical artefacts from the museum collections as well as perry’s work. What stuck me most whilst exploring the exhibition was that in some cases it was quite difficult to decided which was which. On closer inspection though the truth become clearer. Small emblems of perry’s work reveal themselves, a motor bike or Alan Measles.

The purpose of the exhibition is to show that all objects can inspire people in many different ways, that a potter isn’t just inspired by pots but by a whole array of different items. With the exhibition he has shown that we can view artworks hundreds of years old and put them in a context that still makes sense to us today.

Cornelia Parker

The Distance (A Kiss with String Attached) (2003)
Inspired by Auguste Rodin’s – The Kiss

In 2003 Cornelia Parker was asked to take part in the Tate Gallery’s Triennial. Rodin’s The Kiss had been a fundamental part of the Tate sitting in the Rotunda. Moved and inspired by the sculpture Parker had a feeling that it was too simplistic, it talks of love to the viewer but nothing more, none of the extra complications that come with love.

Also referencing Duchamp’s installation of string, Parker wrapped Rodin’s The Kiss sculpture in string. In a deliberately provocative act Cornelia Parker wrapped the two heads concealing the actual kiss from viewers. By so doing Cornelia Parker added extra complexity to the sculpture, showing us that the things that bind us together can also suffocate us.

Ironically when it was shown it was sabotage by a someone with some garden shears who removed the string.