The Forest Is The Museum
30 November 2019 – 30 March 2020
10am – 4pm daily
The culmination of Abigail Lane and Lala Meredith-Vula‘s residency at Fineshade Wood recontextualises lost property collected in the forest, the artists working with Forestry England to reflect the human presence within these woods as well as our ongoing relationship with nature and managed natural spaces.
Our possessions follow us and the process of losing, finding, and handing belongings into a lost property point is familiar worldwide. Each of the ninety items which now comprise The Forest is the Museum collection were considered important enough to carry into the forest by someone and, once lost, identified by a passerby as something worth an attempt to reunite with its owner. Most items have little monetary value, but tagging and cataloguing the collection re-empowers these objects, imbuing each with new value and significance.
Notably, many of the objects are plastic, a material which survives long past our individual human lifespan and arguably beyond that of many of our natural spaces.
The installation and accompanying photographs project our current existence into the future, treating the everyday artefacts of our recreation as future archaeological specimens or articles of evidence.
This exhibition features the beginnings of a new body of work in collaboration with Loughborough University‘s Studio of Light, with artefacts from the collection forensically photographed and presented as incredibly detailed platinum prints, a highly specialised photographic and reprographic process that dates back to the 19th century.
Abigail Lane’s work addresses the idea of the museum; our need to make sense through histories, stories and memories, albeit with the often arbitrary source material from which things have to be pieced together. Abigail is interested in the way we create order, and also how confusions result in a museum context, the failure to be sure or complete.
The Forest is the Museum is Fermynwoods Contemporary Art’s programme of artists in residence at Fineshade Wood, taking place between 2018 and 2020, situating itself in the surrounding environment as well as The Arches, a project space and artist studio renovated by the Forestry Commission to celebrate their 100th anniversary and Fermynwoods Contemporary Art’s 20th.
The Forest is the Museum was specially commended as part of the 2019 Nick Reeves Award by the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management’s Arts and Environment Network in association with the Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World, in celebration of outstanding contributions in the field of environmental arts.