Bridgette Ashton’s Artificialia cabinets had been touring Cornwall since February showing at Newlyn Art Gallery and Lostwithiel Museum. I was able to catch up with them at their final destination earlier this month at Auction House Redruth.
The work was all about mineral collecting or rather the idea of mineral collecting from the viewpoint of the ‘spectacular’ rather than the scientific. A collection of ceramic and cardboard ‘fake’ minerals each with their own individual elaborate plinth stood together in tall presentation cabinets looking like some kind of fairground wunderkammer immodestly displaying their embellishments of glazes and lustres, sequins and flock. A series of prints in letterpress and linocut supplemented the cabinets promising some kind of specialist insight into the world of mineralogy but actually propping up the artifice of the sculptures.
An essay by Ben Street in the accompanying catalogue summed up the work nicely “These are monuments not to what we’d like to remember, but what we, for all our wrong-headedness and doubt, imagine the world itself to be: this thing we hardly know but cannot be without”.
The exhibition ran from February to April 2022 and was supported by Arts Council England.
To view the digital artwork go to artificialia.digital/