Untitled by Unknown was a student-curated exhibition that engaged – and encouraged engagement – with some of the lesser-known works from the extensive School of Art Collection at Aberystwyth University.
Gifts and bequests have ensured that the School of Art collection is a legacy to the community and to the nation. Although many anonymous objects in our collection are rarely exhibited, they are neither forgotten nor kept out of sight.
The objects on display included miniature paintings, engravings, watercolours, drawings and photographs. Spanning several centuries, the objects also differed in cultural origin and subject, which ranged from Aberystwyth to Algeria.
The exhibition was not meant to show an array of astounding works by exceptional artists. Instead, it entered into a debate about what should be on display and how it may be shared.
Who determines the worth of visual culture, and what qualifies as exhibitable matter? Does our appreciation of artefacts as art depend on our knowledge of the identity and the intentions of a certain maker?
While some of the works had been on display in the past, Untitled by Unknown was the first exhibition at the School of Art dedicated specifically to the theme of curating and displaying objects of visual culture that poses art historical challenges by virtue of being difficult to classify, attribute to a verifiable maker or to date definitively.
Assisted by School of Art senior curator Neil Holland and Dr Harry Heuser, the module coordinator of Curating an Exhibition, the student curators conducted extensive research into the works on display. Their efforts revealed a number of secrets, but many mysteries remain.
Curators: Jessie Davis, Karolina Hyży, Justyna Jurzyk, Kate Largan, Charlotte Raftery, Laura Roll, Elizabeth Salmon, Melissa Sarson, Belinda Smith, Julia Steiner, Stephanie Uriarte Troye, Veera Vienola, Eleri Wood; with support from Harry Heuser (text and concept) and Neil Holland (staging and design)
Most works shown in the exhibition can be found on our collection database. Just click on the object number:
Follow the link below to see what students on this module curated in 2015!