Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Losing and Finding

The Mary Greg Collection at Manchester Art Gallery is mostly in storage. Since Collections for the Future was produced, a team has been looking into what should be done with such items. The Mary Grey Collection is just such a being - it is historically important, but as a social history collection it doesn't really fit in with the gallery.

So a different kind of interpretation was instigated. This resulted in 'Mary Mary Quite Contrary'...

Mary collected 'curiosities of bygone times'. Many of them have lost histories. The gallery also holds the correspondence that Mary had with the gallery over the period of her life. The array of material is astonishing. How best to engage with this?

The production of the blog Mary Mary Quite Contrary was part of a handover of curatorial control of the collection to the public. This really has begun with the contributions and interpretations of artists Hazel Jones and Sharon Blakey.

These seemingly insignificant objects, keys, spoons, tarnished and worn, the detritus of the everyday, are thus reformed as meaningful...almost magical. They build up a picture of the woman, the real person behind the collection, but also a picture of the museum and it's identity. Who and what we are are thus formed and reformed. The table of artefacts which Liz Mitchell, Alex Woodall along with Hazel and Sharon presented generated so much interest...I think a lot of people may soon be making visits to Manchester!

1 comment:

  1. You did great job summing this up as it went on.
    I am sorry I missed the other speakers.