Magnificent Obsessions

A fascinating new exhibition opened at the Barbican back in February. Entitled Magnificent Obsessions: The Artist as Collector, it reveals the fourteen post-war and contemporary artists included in the show as inveterate collectors of all sorts of objects ranging from mass-produced memorabilia to rare artefacts and natural history specimens. But why did these artists collect what they did, and how  has it informed and inspired their work?

The exhibition presents a selection of objects from the collections of each artist alongside at least one key example of their work to provide insight into their inspirations, influences, motives, and obsessions. Each collection is installed in its own space, and the displays take their cue from the aesthetic style of the artist’s home or studio environment.

Do you collect any particular types of objects? If so, do they influence your own work, or are you more likely to look for ideas in the media or museum collections?  If the latter, we have a wonderful collection of artworks and posters here in the Archives that we hope will prove a source of inspiration for design students.