Installation, 2004


At the Ulster Museum, I created new temporary displays by covering with canvas three previously inaccessible roof spaces and using posters to document the technicians installing the work, as these were free of museum display standard controls.

‘Of central importance to the work was the fact that the state of the canvas surface was modified over time as rainwater from the courtyard's leaking roof seeped onto the blank surface creating an abstract form. This may be regarded as an undesirable stain, or an evocative imperfection, confirming transcience... Cottell's work draws attention to the boundary between that which is observable and deemed to be worthy of attention, and that which is not. The mechanisms through which this difference is discerned – chance, time, but also the instrumentality of value systems governing perception – are corollary to the judgements involved in history-making itself. The work unsettles our suspension of disbelief in the museum space, whereby we exclude from our vision things that are in evidence, but which not intended for our attention: everything becomes potentially active. Cottell's piece challenged the preserved state of the artefact – by suggesting the vitality of the 'unclean' in the museum experience.’

Julie Bacon’s Phd University of Ulster ‘Re-collecting the Poetry and Politics of Archival Spaces: An exploration of Performance and Installation Art in the Museum’

Commissioned For

‘The Suicide of Objects’


‘The Suicide of Objects’, curated by Julie Bacon, The Ulster Museum


Photography: Fran Cottell
Detail: imagery from poster displayed in the museum
Installation: Catalyst Arts


Catalogue: ISBN 0-9549082-0-1

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