The nature of collecting

As part of the On Collecting art project Kayleigh King and Sian Bush look at the nature of collecting itself, the human desire to collect display and tell stories with objects and images, but also as an obsessive-compulsive behaviour.

Kayleigh King

Inspired by my grandmother who was an avid collector of pill boxes I was interested in how everyday items end up in museum collections. What determines if an object is worthy of preserving and displaying? Is it value due to age, ownership or what it can tell us of our culture?

These personal keepsakes, charged with memory, indicate an obsessive collection of one type of object, they speak not only of the person but also of a culture. Their individual value in unknown but once part of a collection the artefacts afford a status greater than their individual parts.


Kayleigh King

By recording them as photographs in a grid and displaying them on mass they lose their personal qualities and take on an institutional format.


Kayleigh King

Sian Bush

My main inspiration for this piece was a collection of paper based writing and imagery that spanned from the 1940s to the present day donated to MoDiP by Tim Coward.

It included newspaper clippings from the Second World War, train tickets and small trinkets. I loved that objects relating to important aspects of history are given the same authority as a sugar cube or a camping receipt. I used the ideas of consumerism, compulsive hoarding and personal archives versus museum archives and I attempted to convey the passion of collection and the eventual turn around, where possessions begin to own and take over the collector's life.