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.

Smurfs, Boxes, Labels, National Geographic magazines, Bottles, Bottle openers, WoodType, Books, Parking numbers, Polaroids, Vintage T-shirts 

Athletic team jerseys, Lucky Strike packs, Spring/fall coats, Telephone notes, Macramés, Bow ties

Correspondences since the 1960s, Idols from various religions, Painted sculptures from Saint-Jean-Port-Joli found in bazaars and garage sales, Reproductions of male statuettes from various cultures, American gay magazines from the 1960s and 1970s, Contemporary art works, Wooden postcards, “Industrial” made in Germany vases, Saint-Joseph du Mont-Royal statuettes and oratory trinkets, Masks, Three ducks

Wine corks, Old tools, Rocks

Buttons, Rocks, Coins

Anatomical models, Halloween packaging, Masks, Magazines, Light Toys , Vinyl records

Bottles, History books

Dictionaries, Tablecloths, Street metal and other small rusty items 

Stamps, Official First Day Covers, Show programs , Letters, Stationery paper, Postcards, Agendas, Notebooks

Shopping lists found on the street, Chinese fortune cookie sayings, Plastic bulls

Found miniatures , Photographs, Nail polish, Weather Channel photographs, Coffee cups, Restaurant placemats

Flyers found on the street, $1 vinyl records, Handwritten notes, on paper, Catechism books, Value Village paintings

View Master, Show tickets, Old buttons, Pins, Pieces of fabric, Old English teacups, Vintage soda pop glasses, Hotel/motel stationery, Product packages, Mustard jars with playing card motifs, Chopsticks, Japanese paper, Postcards, Metal boxes, Articles about New York City, Lettraset, Swatch watches, Rocket Dog shoes, Bits of paper found on the street

Personal ads (paper or virtual), Trophies, Cookbooks in which the food is unappetizing, Fast food promotional brochures, Souvenir plates, Souvenir spoons, Gossip magazines with Guy Cloutier on the cover, Gossip magazines with Nathalie Simard on the cover, Colonel Sanders spin-off products, Artworks found in the garbage, Cheesy badges, Unfunny joke books, Nice ties

Plane and train tickets, Travel souvenirs, Foreign money, Photographs of mushrooms , Children’s toys, Worn-out clothes, Shells

Typewriters, Travel luggage, Shoes, 1960s dresses

White or beige rabbit figurines, White cat figurines, Old hats, Dried flowers, Dead plants, Cinderella by-products, Pebbles and rocks from California, Old pearls and marbles, Scarves and shawls, Photographs of obese women found on the web, Bridal accessories, Any pink coloured object

White beaches, Photographs of shoes suspended on electrical wires, Old papers, Recipe books

Handkerchiefs, Wool skirts, Kimonos, Hats, Gloves, Animation films, Paintbrushes

Bazaar knick-knacks with anthropomorphic features, Bits of cardboard for drawing on, Hairpins and ribbons, Photographs of motifs and ornaments, Cultural event and art gallery leaflets, German and English vocabulary words, Key words and photographs of things to be investigated 

Rocks, pebbles, shale rocks , Fossils from Gaspésie, Rosaries, Coffee bowls, Candlesticks, Rag and knitted dolls, Citrus fruits left on the kitchen counter, Strange seeds and plants , Handwritten letters received between 1974 and 1996, Black coloured logbooks 

Rusty nails

Sylvette Babin
This article also appears in the issue 71 - Inventories

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