Lost Vitrines.

Piper, Keith ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8551-5630 (2007) Lost Vitrines. [Show/Exhibition]


Piper's ongoing visual art practice is concerned with the interrogation of specific sites, artefacts, historical narratives and cultural practices in order to decipher the framing criteria in prevailing discourses on racial difference, and to trace their formation through an excavation of imperial memory.

‘Lost Vitrines' was a site-specific set of artworks commissioned by the Victoria and Albert Museum to be located amongst the permanent collection in their Eighteenth Century British Galleries. It formed part of an exhibition entitled ‘Uncomfortable Truths', which included artists Yinka Shonibare and the American Fred Wilson, and was commissioned as a response to the bicentennial of the abolition of the Atlantic Slave Trade.

Through detailed research into the methodologies of display employed to frame and contextualize the existing objects within the Museum collection, and in consultation with the conservation department of the V&A, Piper fabricated a series of objects and books which replicated the visual and aesthetic codes of the historical artefacts displayed in the galleries. These fabricated objects challenged the expected visual codes associated with the Georgian and Regency ‘enlightenment' period by juxtaposing them with iconography and texts evoking the institutionally absented memory of the slave trade.

Piper's objects were placed in a number of museum vitrines – the ‘lost' vitrines of the project's title, which were then positioned throughout the galleries. The aim was to open a dialogue around systems of encoding the memory of a historical epoch from the established archive, and to explore the extent to which alternative or counter narratives of an epoch can be strategically effaced in the public sphere. The projection of ‘lost' narratives back into the museum space emphasized their previous exclusion.

Piper's work was referenced in various reviews including The Independent (9/2/07) The New Nation (12/2/07) Metrolife (21/2/07) and the Museums Journal (1/4/07).

Venue Details

  1. Lost Vitrines.
    • Location: Victoria and Albert Museum.
    • Dates: 2007

Item Type: Show/Exhibition
Research Areas: A. > School of Art and Design > Visual Arts
A. > School of Art and Design > Visual Arts > Diasporas
Item ID: 477
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Repository team
Date Deposited: 14 Nov 2008 13:36
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2016 14:11
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/477

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