Tender Flesh was produced in conjunction with Lincolnshire Archives’ Miscellaneous Donations collection, also known as ‘Misc. Don.’ This collection contains a range of paper-based artefacts, reflecting the multi-stranded definition of what an archive can be. For this exhibition, the ‘Misc. Don.’ collection acted as a catalyst for the featured artists’ work; the classification bringing forth a prospect and excitement of the unknown.
The exhibition, curated by Sophia Kyprianou, explores the relationship between how an archive is defined, how it is categorised, how it is used by a multitude of people, and how artists respond to archives and archiving.
My own work responded to the three notebooks in the Miscellaneous Donations collection. The oldest appeared to be a pharmacist’s notebook dated approx. 1700 and contained ‘recipes’ for remedies for a wide range of ailments; the second notebook featured a series of Geographical questions and was dated 1834 and the third was a farmers notebook from the early 1900’s itemising sales and purchases of produce. Whilst examining these items and deciphering the content I was struck by the similar materiality of these books spanning over two hundred years; in particular the vulnerable quality of their spines. Filming the normally overlooked spaces between the pages with a microscope revealed a landscape of fibres, flaking animal glue, fragments of quill, insect limbs, hand-wrought pins and knotty twine. Connected to us by their unravelling materiality, these objects somehow become reminders of our own mortality.