Tins Get Star Billing At University Of Brighton Exhibition

By Zoe Adjonyoh | 07 March 2005
Shows a photo of a series of colourful toy tin robots in a glass display cabinet.

Courtesy University of Brighton.

An exhibition of printed tin called Tin Stars is running until March 15 in the foyer of Brighton University's Faculty of Arts & Architecture.

Paul Clark, Communication's Co-ordinator of Art and Architecture at Brighton University is retiring this year at the age of 65. After 30 years service he has managed to curate an exhibition dear to his heart, of, wait for it, pressed tin memorabilia.

Shows a photo of two crushed tin beer cans made into clocks, side by side.

Photo: Zoe Adjonyoh. © 24 Hour Museum.

Partly a nostalgic trip down memory lane and partly an exhibition demonstrating the influence and importance tin has had culturally on British society, this tiny exhibition houses four glass cases, brimming with a range of artistic endeavours produced of tin. Many of the items included are functional such as clocks and robotic toys, while others are purely aesthetic.

"This is the culmination of an idea that I have been fostering for many years," says Paul Clark, "I’ve always thought about doing such an exhibition and knew of many artists who used the medium— such as Ian Logan, Lucy Casson and Andrew Kingham— but this is the first time, thanks to generous support, I have been able to bring together such a robust collection."

Shows a photo of a collection of different sized, shaped and colured forms of packaging made from tin, including biscuit, tea and toffee tins.

Courtesy University of Brighton.

The exhibition is divided into four separate sections. Without such headings it would be difficult to distinguish between the items' defined roles, as the general public's eyes may not be as discerning as the enthusiasts'. Nonetheless, there is an interesting array of tinware — an artform that all can enjoy.

Tin as Art features tin used as a creative medium by Lucy Casson, Paul Clark, Andrew Kingham and Nicholas Hallet . Tin Utilitarian includes a wide selection of printed tin plate used for packaging, advertising and storage as well as modern tin artefacts made in India from recycled tin.

Shows a photo of a large tin clock made in the style of a mantlepiece clock.

Photo: Zoe Adjonyoh. © 24 Hour Museum.

Tin Toys houses a selection of toys dating from the early 20th century to the present day, while Tin Gifts shows off pop art-inspired examples from the huge tinware revival of the 1960s. Many of these are attributable to Ian Logan, a leading designer from this period onwards.

Some visitors will remember the Oxo and branded tobacco tins, still available today, while others will appreciate the giftware section displaying items you might well see in your granny's cabinet, such as tea, biscuit and toffee tins.

Shows a photo of an assortment of different figurines made from tin.

Courtesy University of Brighton.

The novelty items such as a sterling collection of red pillar boxes (a whole cabinet is dedicated to these) create a sense of nostalgia but the cramped space between cases makes optimum viewing pleasure difficult.

The exhibition has landed in the foyer because there is a two-year waiting list for the main gallery space. It is placed instead in the illustration students' wing of the faculty where it's drawing a modest but enthusiastic audience.

"There has been a very positive response," says Paul, "since the items on display are very evocative of childhood toys and everyday household items in the 1970s and 1980s, particularly the Ian Logan designs."

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