Artificialia : Fake Minerals & Fancy Plinths
Exhibition : Friday 1 - Saturday 9 April
Open 11am - 5pm Fri-Sat (or by appointment)
Opening event Saturday 2 April, 2pm - 6pm. All welcome
ARTIFICIALIA: Fake Minerals & Fancy Plinths is a new work by artist Bridgette Ashton which will be shown across Cornwall as a touring exhibition.
Three wooden cabinets house what appear to be elaborately presented geological specimens but which on closer inspection reveal themselves as mineral-like objects made of ceramics, cardboard and plywood.
Some of the works reference JH Collins’ 1871 ‘Handbook to the Mineralogy of Cornwall and Devon’ in which the author describes and lists rocks and minerals found in the region. The three locations of the exhibition – Newlyn, Lostwithiel and Redruth – have been chosen for their importance in the history of Cornish mining and mineral collecting. Newlyn held significance for mining until the 19th century with mineral dealer John Lavin’s shop and museum in the nearby Egyptian House in Penzance supplying ‘show’
specimens to important collectors.
Ashton became interested in the fact that (according to collector Sir Arthur Russell) “ Lavin was not above passing off a certain number of faked specimens”. Lostwithiel was
home to 18th-century mineral dealer Richard Talling’s ‘Fancy Repository’ selling specimens from local and
wider Cornish mines. Redruth, once the centre of the Cornish mining industry, had many important mineral
specimens discovered in its mines.
Blair Todd, curator of Newlyn Art Gallery commented “having followed Bridgette’s practice since her participation in our ongoing residency exhibition in 2008, we are delighted to be hosting her Artificialia cabinet in our ground floor space at Newlyn Art Gallery”.
The exhibition will be accompanied by an online presentation – Artificialia Digital – where virtual visitors will be able to examine 3D images of the work from their mobile device.
The exhibition ARTFICIALIA: Fake Minerals and Fancy Plinths is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and has been made possible with generous support from FEAST Cornwall & Redruth High Street Heritage Action Zone.