Library Interventions. The Agents Respond: Gin Dunscombe

Library Interventions : Sharon Kivland

Gin Dunscombe : Time and Death

Inspired by Sharon Kivland’s apparent fearlessness (witness the séance at domobaal gallery) in co-opting or investigating the paranormal and incorporating it into her artistic oeuvre, and the preoccupation with time which is evident in much of her work, I will research time and death in the Leeds area. Given the long local tradition of clock making and all matters horological since the industrial revolution, I will investigate how this is reflected in Leeds Art Gallery’s collection, enquiring what can be learned from the archive and the artefacts held there. Are the three-dimensional objects associated with death – the urns, the graveyard clocks, the sculptures, the headstones, the mausoleums – regarded as art and consequently conserved as such? Who made them and what is their history? What are the associated myths and stories? What records exist of the artists and artisans involved in their creation, and in the development of funerary practices and artistic practices associated with death? And what of the paperwork – the obituaries, the epitaphs, the weekly newspaper death announcements, often in rhyme? How have they been preserved, and what was the role of printmakers in this? In short, how has the city and the surrounding area commemorated death and recorded this commemoration through time? Do any works in the collection of Artists’ Books in Leeds Art Gallery library contain references to time and death, which are subjects of particular interest to many artists? These and other questions are likely to result in a pragmatic historical journey, which can be made magical by the unexpected that frequently occurs in the interstices of a research plan. Kivland’s work, based on archives and collections, as well as her chronicling of the present, bears witness to this. Her special contribution is the way she appropriates publicly available information and images and makes them her own by applying her poetic sensibility to what she discovers, bestowing her unique interpretative twist and then representing it for the viewer – or reader – or listener – to enjoy. My responsibility in this creative project is to present a report on my research which contributes to another opportunity for Kivland to do this.

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