Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Inventions for Living

Image courtesy of Oxford Brookes University
The case in the south-east corner of the first floor (Lower Gallery) plays host to a varied and imaginative series of changing displays by external partners. These displays all take an aspect of the Museum's collections as their starting point but throughout the VERVE: Need / Make / Use project, we're particularly interested in work that explores considered design, ingenuity, craftsmanship, and functionality. Currently the case is hosting 'Inventions for Living' by Oxford Brookes University Art Foundation students - a joint exhibition with Oxford's Museum of the History of Science - exploring why humanity has created design solutions for certain everyday needs. 

"Being given the opportunity to exhibit our work in this amazing museum has been a very exciting experience for all of us and has given us a taster of life as a practising artist. Personally, I have never been to a museum full of such a variety of artifacts displayed in such tightly packed vitrines. These cabinets of curiosity make the museum feel like something out of Harry Potter and you can't help but expect half of the objects to come alive. What also makes this place so magical is the story allied with many of the artifacts, some of which are more poignant than others. In particular, a lot of us found the idea behind the shrunken heads extremely shocking. Tales of voodoo dolls and black magic also resonated with many of us. One of the interesting aspects of our exhibition ‘Inventions for Living’ is the variety of responses to the title: ‘Need, Make, Use’. Such a range of avenues have been explored, from video installations to objects of extraordinary craftsmanship. This is clearly a reminder of the ever-changing artistic domain that we live in. It is great to see the exploration of 21st-century media, yet also classically built sculpture, which in my opinion will cease to lose credibility, even in our era of Modern art."

Image courtesy of Oxford Brookes University

"On behalf of all of the Oxford Brookes art foundation students, I would like to thank Pitt Rivers for providing us with this fantastic opportunity and also all of our tutors for spending hours of their time discussing the ideas and concepts behind our work. The title of the exhibition hints at the fallible nature of 21st-century materialism, as although we believe we ‘need’ something, it seems apparent that as soon as we acquire our desired object we ‘use’ it at our disposal. The growth of consumerism and excessive consumption is something we should all be made to think about and I hope this exhibition can be appreciated for its ability to make us consider the true meaning of what it is to ‘need’."

Hannah Marshall, Fine Art Foundation student, 2014

Inventions for Living is FREE on the Lower Gallery, until 23 March