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Objects in Stereo

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Photograph of a gallery exhibition space showing large photographic prints mounted on the walls and free standing display boards. The colours of the room are light whites and yellows. Three people are exploring the space. One visitor wearing an orange t-shirt, sits on a gallery folding chair holding a stereoscopic viewer to their eyes, focusing on a photographic print on the wall depicting a ceramic angel figure, shown in duplicate. Another visitor to the right wearing a green jumper is also looking through a stereoscopic viewer at a print on the wall. In-between them another visitor in a denim shirt is looking at a large photographic print of a museum storeroom.
Objects in Stereo, exhibition, Artworks: Jim Naughten. Gallery photos: Steven Pocock. Source: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

‘Objects in Stereo’ is a new exhibition by British photographer Jim Naughten, whose work explores historic collections through a  combination of stereoscopic and large-scale photography. The exhibition presents a new perspective into the practice of keeping a collection and asks what it means to keep and care for museum objects.  

Naughten uses stereoscopic photography, a technique that makes two-dimensional images appear three-dimensional. Using specially created viewers, you can see the stereoscopic photographs in 3D, showing these usually unseen objects in beautiful detail. 

For ‘Objects in Stereo’, Jim Naughten visited Blythe House in west London which, until its recent closure, was home to objects from the collections formed by Henry Wellcome on long-term loan to the Science Museum Group. 

Naughten was one of the last artists to access the building and the collections stored there, and his images offer a glimpse of objects usually hidden from public view. His large-scale photographic views of the storerooms reveal the architecture of the building, and of museum storage itself. These images show relationships between individual objects in store, and question how these kinds of spaces might shape our encounters with them. 

There are also ways to engage with the exhibition that don’t rely on seeing the 3D effect. You can look at the photographs as regular images without a viewer. Close-up images on the resource table offer detailed views. 

‘Objects in Stereo’ encourages us to look closely at museum objects usually hidden from view. It reminds us of the complex relationship between seeing and understanding materials in museums’ collections. 

The exhibition is curated by Ruth Horry and Emily Sargent.

Exhibition guide

A digital exhibition guide, with audio description, British Sign Language, and captions and transcripts is available to use on your own phone or device. You can access the guide using QR codes in the gallery. The guide includes a highlights tour with the artist, curator and conservator.

About the artist

Black and white photograph of Jim Naughten

Jim Naughten

Jim Naughten is an artist exploring historical and natural history subject matter using photography, stereoscopy and painting. He was awarded a painting scholarship to Lancing College and later studied photography at the Arts Institute of Bournemouth. Naughten’s work has been widely featured in exhibitions across Europe and the US, including solo shows at the Imperial War Museum and Horniman Museum, and group shows at the Royal Academy of Art and National Portrait Gallery in London.