Unknown, and Unknowable?
Readers of the blog will know that the Archives and Museum’s recent show at the Bethlem gallery, Unknown and Unknowable?, featured work from the collection by anonymous artists. In curating the exhibition it was interesting to consider how we respond to art with little or no context, no title or date and no clue, other than our own perceptions, as to what we are ‘supposed’ to see, what it’s about or whether it’s ‘any good’?
There were no titles or attributions for the works in the exhibition; the labels merely represented the thoughts and questions they prompted in the minds of the curators. Visitors were then invited to record their own reflections, responses and suggested titles for the works on display.
This striking image attracted the most comment:
Examples of other comments and alternative titles:
A Royal Academy Entry
The strange observerSet in stoneAngels dancing
Ghostly fairies in the dell
An appeal for helpYou see my outside self. Only I see my inside self.
This I find the most moving piece in the show.Prayers before bedtime
A perfect nightTables turned!Ophelia beforeSilent deliberaton
An evening with Dr Smith
Further reflections from blog readers would be welcome.