“Just because we have to make our own rules, doesn’t mean we cannot break them”  – Matthew Darbyshire


My starting point after the first presentation was to look into the list of key words presented to me. The first of which was Matthew Darbyshire.

I came across an essay written by Matthew Darbyshire in a book called The Best Is Not Too Good For You. This book looked at an exhibition called by the same name at the Whitechapel Gallery in London, artists such as Blake, Picasso and Warhol were part of this contemporary art show.

In the essay Darbyshire discusses his work and in particular his work with collections. He works with a wide range of clients and their personal collections, rearranging and ordering them in his own personal style, Darbyshire says that his fascination with this type of work started during his degree show when he created a piece called San Miguel which treated the Argos catalogue as a collection “as a mean to reflect on [his] anxieties about economic globalisation and the cultural homogenisation that is a consequence of it.”. He explains some of his projects are more serious and more challenging than others. he can go from taking all the bootleg renditions of In the Air Tonight by Phil Collins for an artists space washroom to rearranging the Tyne and Wear museums ethnographic, archaeological and social history collections. He has also travelled further afield to places like Turin to produce polystyrene families of some of the works in the Galleria d’Arte Moderna. Darbyshire keeps museums at the heart of his collection practice stating that he enjoys taking the museum items and taking them out their context to create a piece more socially relevant to today.

In terms of criteria, Darbyshire has no distinctions between the politics and object selections in his work. He says that if physical support is needing to be added to an object, he would not have selected it in the first place. He cannot stand the “store designs” that would permit us to do this. He work is deliberately disordered and untidy, his object need not have any classification and must vary in height, time, amount, abstraction  and depth.  He also have no particular way to arrange the pieces, each is individual and must work when placed together. Although they have to have their own space and atmosphere, we can override the way in which the object piece together to create something less fluid. He states that most of us have trouble even arranging something that is physical so the virtual is almost impossible, his hands on approach is trying to renew his belief in “art’s true social potentials”.

I found Darbyshire’s work extremely interesting and it is something I have taken on board for my self discovery. His views on collections were thought provoking and to see how he made a career out of arranging collections belonging to museums and also more humorous requests is intriguing. His views on the creation of art and how we can really create our own criteria and also break boundaries and rules (even our own) has given me a alternative insight to art in this day and age.Overall an inspiring artist.


An Exhibition for Modern Living, 2010

Source: http://www.contemporaryartsociety.org/resources/artist-to-watch-matthew-darbyshire/attachment/300_0799kieron-mccarron/


Contemporary Art Society, The Best Is Not Too Good For You: New approaches to public collections in England, 2014, Contemporary Art Society, London


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