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Thursday, 9 April 2015

Obsessing over The Artist as Collector at Barbican Art Gallery

It's a rarity to peek into the personal and private lives of popular artists and perhaps that is why Magnificent Obsessions at the Barbican Art Gallery is so thrilling. In this new show running until May 2015 curator Lydia Yee exposes the inspirations, reference, mementos and investments of fifteen post-war and contemporary artists from the popular Warhol to the lesser known American visual artist Pae White through their usually private belongings.

Situated in the fascinatingly formed Barbican Art Gallery each artist's collections are displayed alongside a piece of their more recognisable work questionably influenced by their personal collections - Hirst's skulls and taxidermy reflected in a shiny piece from the Butterfly series whilst oddly Martin Parr s postcards surround a cabinet of soviet space dog memorabilia - clocks and cigarette cases emblazoned with Strelka, Belka and Laika. 

Then there are the almost childish collections Edmund De Waal's archeological specimens and Andy Warhol's quirky cookie jars  and toys, elephants from  the collections are personal and loved. So much so that are insider tells us that one artist misses theirs. 

The show makes its audience question what a collection is, there's the odd room full of the exhibition crates an in joke by the team or a simple storage solution? The Dabovan's collection of oddities seems messy, unorganised and uncomprehensive whilst (Japanese artist) appears organised yet sporadic perhaps reflected. The artist's collection differs from that of the systematic collections of  John Soane or Wellcome who's scholarly and precise approach has formulated some of the biggest collections in UK's museums. However there is no doubt that alot of loveand some of themselves has gone into the collections, they are obsessive, personal and private. the show certainly provides a fortunate look into the lives of artists and glimpses at who they really are and what makes them tick is a real pleasure to see. 

Magnificent Obsessions: The Artist as Collector
Art Gallery

12 February 2015 - 25 May 2015

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