Installation view, BRONZE AGE c.3500BC – AD 2017, Hauser & Wirth, Frieze London, October 2017.  Courtesy the artists / estates and Hauser & Wirth.

BRONZE AGE C. 3500 BC - AD 2018

Lewis Gardens
Colchester, United Kingdom

Phyllida Barlow * Louise Bourgeois * Martin Creed * Alberto Giacometti * Diego Giacometti * Subodh Gupta * Eva Hesse * Jenny Holzer * Thomas Houseago * Matthew Day Jackson * Hans Josephsohn * Bharti Kher * Anna Maria Maiolino * Paul McCarthy * Gary McDonald * Fausto Melotti * Henry Moore * David Smith * Simon Starling * Ricky Swallow * André Thomkins * Will Thompson * William Turnbull * Mark Wallinger * David Zink Yi


Firstsite, Colchester is delighted to announce its next exhibition, BRONZE AGE c. 3500 BC – AD 2018. An iteration of Hauser & Wirth’s satirical museological presentation at Frieze London 2017, the show has been curated specifically for Colchester – the earliest recorded Roman town in Great Britain.


BRONZE AGE c. 3500 BC – AD 2018 recreates a fictional Bronze Age presentation from a forgotten museum. Conceived and originated by Dr. Neil Wenman in collaboration with Mary Beard, Professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge, the exhibition focuses solely on works made of bronze or from the Bronze Age period. These include artefacts on loan from regional museums and private collections nationwide, sculptures by artists including modern masters Louise Bourgeois, Alberto Giacometti, Henry Moore, and Fausto Melotti, along with Phyllida Barlow’s bronze cast paint sticks, Subodh Gupta’s bronze Mona Lisa, a cast bronze fist by Martin Creed, and Mark Wallinger’s spectacles.


The artefacts and artworks are separated into six themes: Domestic Life, Decoration & Adornment, Fertility & the Body, Religion & Burial, Trade & Agriculture and War & Battle, mimicking the curatorial choices of historical museum exhibitions.


Contemporary works of art and historical artefacts are mischievously mixed with miscellaneous bronze items purchased from eBay. Masquerading as archaeological finds, these invite us to ponder how the significance of an object can be dictated by context. Moving away from the traditional white walls of an art gallery, the presentation challenges expectations and highlights the power of display.


Institutions that have loaned works and objects to BRONZE AGE include: Bruton Museum, Somerset; Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery, Shrewsbury; and David Roberts Art Collection, London. At Firstsite, objects have been incorporated from the ‘designated status’ collection of the Colchester and Ipswich Museums. A unique addition to the presentation at Firstsite will be the Berryfield Mosaic (c. AD 150), which will be located at the entrance of the exhibition. This mosaic masterpiece was discovered in Colchester in 1923 where Firstsite is now located, and is permanently installed within the gallery floor.

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