The Magnificent Obsessions Of Artists
Londonist Rating: ★★★☆☆
Lots of people love to collect art, but what do artists themselves collect and how does it influence their work? This is the premise behind the current exhibition at the Barbican Art Gallery.
It's pulled together vast collections of items and eccentricities that range from Hiroshi Sugimoto's anatomical drawings to Martin Wong's collection of Chinatown souvenirs. Some of the collections will come as no surprise to fans of the artist's works — for example Damien Hirst's collection of skulls and taxidermy animals or documentary photographer Martin Parr's tacky souvenirs.
Some of the more eccentric collections belong to Hanne Darboven with a seemingly random assortment of items, and Peter Blake and his very creepy assortment of dolls.
The strongest parts of this exhibition are where the collections make you approach the artist's work in a new light. This is most evident with Howard Hodgkin and his collection of Indian paintings. One of his signature abstract works hangs nearby and it's clear to see how the colours in the Indian paintings have influenced his own work.
Unfortunately this revelation is not common to all the artists here, though we did learn that artists love to collect kitsch — the amount of porcelain and ceramic dolls and animals on display is surprising.
This is a fun collection of random items that most visitors will enjoy exploring, though we wish it had been able to offer greater insight into the work of the artists.
Magnificent Obsessions: The artist as collector is on at Barbican Art Gallery until 25 May. Tickets are £12 for adults, concessions available.
For collections of the older variety, make sure to visit Cotton to Gold at Two Temple Place.
For more art to see in London, see our top 10 openings for February.
Last Updated 16 February 2015