Magnificent Obsessions: The Artist as Collector
12 September 2015 – 24 January 2016
A celebration of the intriguing personal collections of leading artists, placed in the context of their work.
Skulls, indigenous masks and novelty cookie jars are just a few of the strange and wonderful objects featured in this exhibition. Exploring the personal collections of post-war and contemporary artists such as Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst, Martin Parr, Peter Blake and Arman, these compendiums reveal aesthetic inspirations, creative props and hidden personal passions.
The origins and processes of these accumulations are as diverse as the artists themselves. Warhol was well known for his daily visits to junk shops and antique fairs, unearthing mass-produced memorabilia that often served as source material for his screen prints, whereas Hirst began collecting natural history items as a result of his infamous work with animal specimens.
Peter Blake attributes his obsession to a craving for ownership after the displacement he suffered as a World War Two evacuee. His vast hoardings of bric-a-brac have played an intrinsic part in his creative output, and have also led to a fanatical approach to cataloguing – his archive contains countless plan chests painstakingly organised with material pre-cut and ready to use in his collage works.
The disply provides a fascinating journey into the creative psyche, spanning the parameters of considered methodical research and passionate, idiosyncratic collecting.
Photographer Martin Parr's unusual selection of Soviet space dog memorabilia is a definite highlight, spanning from cigarette cases to clocks.