Magnificent obsessions – what will you collect?

Went to the Barbican exhibition, Magnificent Obsessions, last week. Really intriguing idea behind it – what do artists themselves collect?

For some, it was clear to see how the collections served as an inspiration, a tool for their own works. Like Damien Hirst and his collection of skulls and taxidermy. For an artist obsessed with mortality, life cycles, death and decay, this made sense.

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Image courtesy of the Barbican website

But others just seemed to collect items based on some primordial need (I guess that’s why obsession). No carefully curated thoughts, placements or link with their work. It was just something that seemed to seize them.

My personal favourite was Edward de Waal’s netsuke collection (more on netsukes soon). They were tiny but a world of intricate details meant you could spend hours analysing┬áthem.

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Image courtesy of Barbican website

I don’t collect anything. I think it’s partly a reaction from growing up in a crowded flat, stuffed with people and things. But also, it’s due to the amount of times I’ve moved in London – the less you own, the easier it is to pack up and leave. It might be two years since I’ve last moved but I can’t seem to rid myself of this mindset.

But one day (when I have a bigger space, oh, that little thing called money), I’d love to let myself go mad. And what will I collect? For starters:

1. Books – coffee table books, books on art (Butoh masks, Japanese wood block paintings, Indian dance), books on Asian spas

2. Mexican religious paraphernalia (don’t ask)

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3. Paintings of geishas, courtesans, harems

What will you collect if you had the space, time and money? Send me a tweet or drop me a comment below.

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