Magnificent Obsessions: The Artist as Collector

Why do artists collect? How do they live and work with their collections? What is the relationship between the objects artists collect and the works they make?

Throughout history artists have collected objects for professional and private reasons – as studio props, sources of inspi-ration, references for their work, personal mementos and, even, investment. Magnificent Obsessions: The Artist as Collector presents the fascinating collections of fourteen post-war and contemporary artists. Their holdings range from mass-produced memorabilia and popular collectibles to one-of-a-kind curiosities, specimens, rare artefacts and works of art. For some artists, the passion for collecting has complemented and informed their artistic interests, and for others it has hindered their ability to work.

Collections have traditionally been amassed with the objective of building and transmitting knowledge. Artists too share this aim, but towards more subjective ends. Unlike museums, artists do not typically take a scholarly approach to col-lecting, nor do they seek to assemble comprehensive or representative collections. Reflecting personal obsessions, their acquisitions are often made in tandem with their own work and on a visual basis. Many artists live with and make use of their collections, while others keep them under wraps or in storage. Some artists are connoisseurs, carefully shaping their collections, and others accumulate hoards of objects, never letting anything go.

Don’t miss your last chance to see the exhibition in the Barbican Centre, Silk Street London, EC2Y 8DS

The Artist as Collector : Until 25 May 2015

Text : Adam Csoka Keller

Categories: Art
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