In the New York Review Daily, Jenny Uglow reviews “FOUND,” an exhibit of ninety-four works at the Foundling Museum, once a hospital for abandoned children.
The sense of loss and of what it means to be “found” is very strong at this institution and the sculptor and installation artist Cornelia Parker—who has been the Hogarth Fellow at the museum for the past year—has curated an extraordinary show that feeds on deep strands of feeling with wit and warmth. In her brief she asked for new or existing works, or an object that people had found and kept for its significance. The only definition that she gave was that “in order for something to be ‘found,’ it has to at some point in its history have been ‘lost.'”
Some of the objects are displayed in the gallery, but others are scattered through the building, nudging against eighteenth-century furniture and portraits of men in wigs. Among Parker’s own contributions (which include deleted passages of Jane Eyre, and fragments of Jimi Hendrix’s staircase), hanging at the top of the stairs is a photograph of an American Civil War “pain bullet” given to soldiers to bite on during amputations. Ragged with teeth marks, the bullet was unearthed at Vicksburg and buried again in Freud’s London back-garden in 2003, as part of Parker’s Different Dirt: Found in America, Lost in Britain. That show too balanced despair and discovery, in Parker’s prints of objects she bought on eBay, found by amateurs with metal detectors, like simple lost thimbles, rendered precious by time, resurrected, recorded, and buried again.
For more information, visit foundlingmuseum.org.uk.
40 Brunswick Square,
London, United Kingdom