EV+A Invited - Limerick 2006

Encounters with Objects

A new work commissioned by EV+A.

The Hunt Museum collection is a diverse group of objects, many of which were in use as domestic objects in the homes of the Hunt family. The idea that these objects were in a private house, treated as personal possessions, and in many cases used in accordance with their original intended usage, contrasts with their inevitable removal from usage as they become museum objects; yet they remain objects which visually convey the idea that they were made for physical use.
The objects have changed their identities a number of times: made with specific intentions, which may be considered as their primary identity (1), mostly they then became stored, lost, hidden, used as decorative, treasure or grave goods (2), until their acquisition by the Hunt family (3), in many cases then reverting to their primary uses. On passing to the Hunt Museum they acquired a new identity as museum objects (4), for study or contemplation, referencing their roles at (2).
Encounters with Objects comprises documented physical interaction with objects from the collection, in which the objects are treated as tools fulfilling the original purpose for which they were made. The work, a video, 8 photographic prints, and a number of text labels describing the experience of using the objects, tests the nature of the objects by re-using them in accordance with their original intended usages, including shaving with a Bronze Age razor, drinking from an 18th century cup, and combing hair with a mediaeval ivory comb.

The work references a view of time as a helix along which points of repetition may be perceived creating lines of connection. It tests many ideas whose physical focus is the collection, including the nature of the projection of presence conveyed within the body of preserved objects, the nature and extent of the museumís engagement with the objects, and how this relates to the Hunt familyís engagement with their collection.