Collections, Inventories and Other Obsessions

Sylvette Babin

Ever since artists have sought to bring art and everyday life closer together and turned the “mundane” into an important material of their practice, collecting — a part of many people’s activities — has frequently been transformed into an artistic gesture. The collection of worthless objects, of diverse traces, or even concepts, has become the raw material of numerous artistic productions in which the observation and dissection of the real, inventorying and archiving play a dominant role. For many artists' this is not just another project, but rather a distinct tendency. It is evident that the staging of everyday and private life has not lost its attraction over the years; on the contrary it is displaying a renewed vigour, especially since the advent of new technologies and social media. Many artist inventories are thus collections of images made possible by the profusion of digital photographs uploaded on the web, which has undoubtedly become an inexhaustible supply source for image gleaners.

However, the object has not entirely disappeared from the collections regularly proposed by artists. The current issue is a testimony to this and it can in a way be viewed as a cabinet of curiosities where one will discover the traces and archives of these practices, which at times border on the obsessive. There is perhaps something contagious about this, for I myself got caught up in the game by inventorying and cataloguing the collections of several esse colleagues and friends. Let us also point out that the magazine’s graphic design is once again directly inspired by the theme. This time around it provides readers with a methodical grid, which they will certainly have fun in deciphering.

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