Contextual LEVEL6

Derby Museum and Art Gallery

On the 27th of February 2022 I went to Derby Museum and Art Gallery, primarily to look at their natural history section, although they also have various art pieces, including a collection of Joseph Wright paintings, and at the time they also had an exhibit of Claude Cahun’s work.

My work this year has been very centred around various parts of our environment and nature, growth, and decay. I went to the museum to collect images and inspiration from their specimens, which include a selection of animal bones, which were the starting point of my work this year.

From this trip I collected images to work from to ad visual variety to my work, as previously I was limited to skulls in my collection and images from the internet, which I didn’t want to use due to the possibility of copyright issues. It also gave me the opportunity to explore the variety of skulls and insects which I could use in my work., as the museum also has a wide variety of insect specimens.

The Notice Nature Feel Joy collection shows almost 2,000 specimens from their natural history collection.

At the time the museum was also hosting a touring exhibition of Claude Cahun’s work, containing 42 contemporary giclee prints made from scans of Cahun’s original photographic self-portraits, as the majority of the negatives have been lost.

“Born Lucy Schwob, she adopted the pseudonym in 1917 to free herself from the narrow confines of gender. At the beginning of her career she was aligned to the Surrealist movement and was friends with André Breton; however she distanced herself both politically and physically after fleeing France on the eve of Nazi occupation.

Cahun settled in Jersey where she embarked upon her defining photographic series, in which the subversion of traditional portraiture and the constructed nature of identity and gender are pressing concerns. In these now famous images, Cahun anticipated the performative work of contemporary artists such as Cindy Sherman.

This Hayward Touring exhibition is in collaboration with Jersey Heritage and was first presented at the Women of the World Festival 2015, Southbank Centre.”

Although the work was interesting to see and explore it was not particularly relevant to my current line of work but was relevant to my own experiences with gender expression.

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