Distance No Object

Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle 2004-5

A Priceless Boon - Distance No Object, Lubaina Himid
A Priceless Boon – Distance No Object, Lubaina Himid

The exhibition Distance no Object is a reflection on the strange desire to collect and display beautiful objects from another time zone, across contemporary landscape, into a series of endless tomorrows, while simultaneously marvelling at the massive and extraordinary buildings designed and then miraculously built to contain them. We tried to reflect in the artwork the procedures of collecting exchanging wrapping transporting storing displaying and preserving. The result is that often the practical and the impossible seem to mingle with the mystical and the economical.

The paintings, sound work, photographs, drawings and installations are objects in and of themselves but can be experienced as containers of ideas, examples of process, hypothetical musings as well as potential dream strategies. The museum is the context but so is the audience moving through it.


The exhibition and intervention Distance No Object pays homage to the process of collecting objects from far afield, of bringing them together in order for the flow of humanity’s generations to make sense of and to place value in them. In the early discussions with the artists who have contributed to Distance No Object – The Bowes Museum was seen in many respects as a 19th century symbol of Noah’s Ark, home to a myriad of objects spanning many centuries, presided over by John and Josephine Bowes as Mr and Mrs Noah. The artists have explored the idea of Museum as a massive container of cultural artefacts that were at one point individual objects, but are now part of a public collection.

Adrian Jenkins Director

Galleon Shack - Distance No Object
Galleon Shack – Distance No Object

Given that the context for this exhibition/intervention is the gathering, transporting, display, care taking, restoration and sustainability of public collections ; to understand what happens in back rooms and boardrooms or who works hand in glove with whom to make it possible, could bring to light more questions than it is comfortable to answer. The more you know about how a thing works, the more you marvel that it works at all.

Lubaina Himid Guest curator


Artists : Lubaina Himid, Susan Walsh, Mark Parkinson, Patricia Walsh.

This was a lively exhibition by Lubaina Himid and other leading contemporary artists. A mixture of painting, furniture and installations, responded to the magical history of The Bowes Museum.

See also http://makinghistoriesvisible.com/distance-no-object/

Distance No Object book

Distance No Object was a Making Histories Visible project

Distance No Object