In thinking of home as a collection, this exhibition utilises the Wunderkammer, or cabinet of curiosities as a framework in which to read the domestic. Fittingly, an oversized display case was devised for the exhibition, housing the maker's works and referencing childhood fascinations with collections displayed in cabinets out of reach. The subject matter of such a collection is both eclectic and personal, bound up with memory and imagination. As Walter Benjamin suggested, collecting is a depository of memories where "every passion borders on the chaotic, but the collector's passion borders on the chaos of memories." 4
Stephen Brookbanks' works invert the usual scale relationships between modelled architectural representation and the objects of architecture's making. The makers world of memories is manifest in an intricate field that surrounds and suspends the object. To a stranger, Brookbanks found objects would have little if any value. In suspending these objects within an intricate and fragile structure however, they are visually inculcated with a sense of worth. Layers of memory and nostalgia latent in the objects are suggested to the viewer through the articulation of the fields surrounding them.
Developed surface drawings emerged during the eighteenth century as a new way of representing interiors, one that instead of privileging the site, building or planning, applied a new subject matter; ‘the room.' Jessica Barter's ceramic slip-casts draw upon this technique as a mode of visual investigation into the interior. The establishment of systems of organisation and compartmentalisation is as instinctive to human nature as is accumulation and collecting. Barter's works interrogate the shelves of a medicine cabinet, casting the objects in plan and elevation.
Busch talks about the medicine cabinet as a place of contradictions, "its contents articulating confusion about how we confront our fragilities. It manages to accommodate pleasure and pain, beauty, well-being, nostalgia and up-to-the-minute technology. It expresses all the assurance and sufficiency that come from taking care of ourselves, from individual choice and responsibility for one's own health. A small tableau for self-examination, it is a place of mixed messages." 5
The Crafted Container engineers a confrontation between the inertness of domestic objects and the richness of world's latent within the objects themselves. Without the objects of memory and desire, the things that one collects, displays and hides, a place is not a home. It is in the comfort of objects that one's self is connected to a space, that space becoming their own.
1. Bachelard, Gaston. The Poetics of Space. Boston. Beacon Press, 1994.
2. Archer, John. Architecture and suburbia from English villa to American dream house, 1690-2000. Minneapolis and London. University of Minnesota Press, 2005.
3. Busch, Akkiko. The Uncommon Life of Common Objects. New York. Metropolis Books, 2005. pp21.
4. Benjamin, Walter. Das Passagen-Werk, Vol 1. (Ed. Tolf Tiedermann). Frankfurt am Main. Suhrkamp, 1982.
5. Busch, Akkiko. The Uncommon Life of Common Objects. New York. Metropolis Books, 2005. pp140.