Ink

Simon Gould, UCL Museums and Collections

Ink Flyer

3rd November – 11th December 2010
12 – 6pm Wednesday – Saturday
North Lodge, UCL, Gower Street
London WC1E 6BT. Free Admission

This exhibition was an eclectic collection of 120 museum artefacts, artworks, texts, films and other items all relating to the history and substance of ink. It was about ink and not merely of ink. With few exceptions, the exhibition draws extensively from the remarkable teaching collections, personal archives and the work of staff at UCL.

Contemporary artworks by Madi Boyd, Samuel Keyte, Ruth Maclennan, Janne Malmros, Jo Volley and Barry Sykes sit alongside a Roman ink well, a fossilised squid, a 15th century German prayer book, a miniature Hampton Court Maze made of ceramic ink, a plastic unicorn, Francis Galton’s fingerprints and many many more.

Every day a ‘live respondent’ will inhabit the space, including Guardian cartoonist Martin Rowson, artist and poet Ansuman Biswas and calligrapher Paul Antonio. They responded to the exhibition, producing an object that was added to the ever growing repository of ink.

Where would we be without ink? Without a university from which to draw the extraordinary objects in this exhibition. Ink is all around us, seeping, permeating, spreading. We trust ink to register our births and our deaths. We eat ink, squid and cuttlefish blackening our pasta. We smell the sweetness of ink as it corrodes unforgivingly through ancient parchment. We hear ink as its tackiness is rolled smooth across a printer’s plate. We fear the red ink of the teacher and the black inked border of the mourning card and we are empowered by the permanence of election ink that helps to bring about democracy. We ink our bodies proudly with tattoos to shout out our identity. Others are marked to rob them of theirs.

This was the first time the recently refurbished North Lodge was used for a public exhibition and the curators worked with Mobile Studio architect practice to transform the building into an intimate and highly distinctive space.

INK was curated by Simon Gould and Rhiannon Armstrong.

This project was supported by UCL under the Beacons for Public Engagement programme - funded by the UK Higher Education Funding Councils, Research Councils UK and The Wellcome Trust.

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