A ceramic installation within a museum context which developed ideas about the overlap between archaeology and
psychoanalysis by exploring the relevance of archaic objects to a contemporary artist and the significance of the emotional attachment that humans project onto objects. This project engages with current debates within both the broad spectrum of visual culture and, more specifically, the discipline
of ceramics, about the relationship between the artist and the museum and the use of installation within the discipline.
Brown’s response to the everyday nature and intimate scale of the Petrie Museum’s collection of Egyptian artefacts resulted in
an installation of small-scale clay figures placed on everyday kitchen chairs surrounded by grave goods which were inspired by
contemporary amulets such as teddy bears and mobile phones. These comprised 8 ceramic figures on chairs, 300 ceramic,
wax, faience and bronze amulets. These were accompanied by a group of appropriate Egyptian artefacts in order to emphasise
the continuity between past and present. Brown visited the collection regularly for two years making records through drawing
and note-taking prior to making the artworks. Through this methodology she developed a conceptual approach to the
representation and presentation of her ideas through casting processes and installation.
The Petrie Museum is a key international research resource and Brown’s project is one of several artists’ responses to this
unique collection. Others include Mark Karasick, Magdalene Odundo and Sarah Beddington. Brown’s Collective Traces project
was supported by an AHRC grant (£5000). It was subsequently adapted for the Egyptian galleries at the Manchester Museum in
an intervention entitled ‘After Life’, where it will remain until 2009.
The catalogue text for ‘Collective Traces’ was written by curator and former Egyptologist, James Putnam, who was a key
speaker at the well-attended seminar held during the exhibition. Brown’s paper from this event was published in the Australian
magazine Ceramics Technical (No 23, 2006), thereby establishing the research in an international context.