Lost and ‘Found’ at the New Art Gallery Walsall

CuratingtheContemporary (CtC)

Paul Chiappe, Untitled 48, 2010, Pencil on paper

Aiming to investigate the histories and narratives of other people’s images and embrace broader themes such as loss, memory and mass cultural experiences, FOUND features seven artists, all of whom work in photographs, postcards and magazines collected from flea markets or the depths of the internet and archival collections.

It’s a fascinating premise which provides much food for thought in an exhibition pointing towards the larger construct of ‘collective memory’ and how history and memory are presented and understood.

The work of two artists, Ruth Claxton and Paul Chiappe, is particularly striking. Chiappe produces meticulous pencil drawings of class photos, yearbooks and plays – important moments in the lives of strangers. Often mistaken for photos, his drawings blur the boundaries between fiction and reality. In essence, they seem to recall how self-conscious attempts to preserve memory (photographs, memorials and anniversaries) have given way to the spontaneous social remembrance of our…

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