The exhibition explores the personal collections and obsessions of a number of key postwar and contemporary artists among other: Arman, Edmund de Waal, Damien Hirst, Sol LeWitt, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Pae White, Howard Hodgkin and Andy Warhol. We have transformed the Barbican Art Gallery into an assemblage of 13 distinct rooms, each exploring a particular relationship between the artist’s collection, their own artwork and the atmosphere of the places where they display their collection.
Each room tells a story. For each space we have recreated the scale and atmosphere of the studio or domestic environment of each artist, building replicas of their own display vitrines, tables and cabinets, or using colours, specific materials and antique furniture. The objects themselves are presented as found in the artist’s own space, on top of tables, on bookshelves, inside vitrines, filing cabinets, cupboards or shelves, evoking the very personal nature of their obsessions.
On the ground floor, a sequence of large rooms is seamlessly integrated with the semi-open plan space of the gallery. New walls blend with existing gallery walls in a way that visitors can’t tell what’s new, turning the focus onto the atmosphere and objects in each room.
Carefully placed doors and windows frame views across the space and guide visitors through the exhibition.
Each artist’s collection can be interpreted as a self-portrait. Their unconventional ways of presenting their collections add to a fascinating portrait of the artist’s everyday life.
“Magnificent Obsessions, magnificent show”
Katy Barrett, Apollo Magazine