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27 June - 23 August 2008
curated by Sylvia Grace Borda
For the 100th centenary exhibition hosted by the Naughton Gallery, Queen's University Belfast students have developed work related to the portrayal of memory, collecting and cultural materialism. In preparation for the exhibition, students were introduced to Lecturers, Sylvia Grace Borda, from Photography and Visual Art, Sinead Morrissey, from Creative Writing, and visual artist and curator, J.Keith Donnelly, who all invested time to broaden the students? production strategies in the creation of visual and textual works. The students elected to work collaboratively under the collective term, 'Picture Text', ie. exploring the intersections between the linguistic and the visual in order to re-interpret and re-collect. This process was aligned with the material consciousness of Victorian 'cabinets of curiosities' and the scholarship related to the University's own collections.
Under the exhibition title, re-COLLECT-ing , students have re-interpreted how older traditional museum and teaching displays presented objects for their sense of wonderment. The university collections, which date from the school's foundation, encompass silverware; medical and scientific apparati; musical instruments; rare books and manuscripts; archaeological artifacts; anatomical, zoological, and entomological specimens; as well as, magic lantern slides.
In this centenary exhibition, the viewer can reflect on collecting practices, and importantly how new connections can arise between contemporary artworks and objects of learning and science. Indeed, as in the time of cabinets of curiosities, audiences are invited to reappraise the object and the notion of collecting.
In conclusion, in providing new opportunities for students to engage with arts creation, research, and public presentation, there is an equal balance of history, theory and direct application so that students can position themselves in relation to contemporary and historical aesthetics. The student work arising from the 'Picture-Text' has succeeded in achieving and a positioning of new audiences at both national and international levels. Not least, this significant year illustrates that inspiration continues to thrive a century on from the University's foundation.