The art of lost and found

Chris BishopThere's art. And then there's the sort of art that comes in inverted commas. And now art of the latter kind has gone on show in an exhibition called Lost & Found where the exhibits are exactly that.Chris Bishop

There's art. And then there's the sort of art that comes in inverted commas. And now art of the latter kind has gone on show in an exhibition called Lost & Found where the exhibits are exactly that.

A lost property bureau has been set up in the Shakespeare Barn at King's Lynn Arts Centre. Items brought in by the public are catalogued in a giant ledger, before being placed on display.

One of the first to arrive, as the doors opened on Saturday, was a child's hobby horse which had seen slightly better days. Gardener Iain Taylor and teacher Kristina Jaz admitted they had previously tried less high-brow ways to dispose of it.

"It was my cousin's old toy from the 1970s," said Mr Taylor. "We tried to sell it at car boots but people were just walking past, no one was interested in it." Miss Jaz added: "We even left him out by the wheelie bin but they wouldn't take him."

One of the next to call at the bureau was Elizabeth Nockholds, portfolio holder for arts and leisure with West Norfolk council, which runs the Arts Centre.

"I've brought this old medicine bottle my father found on his allotment years ago," she said.

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As old comics, a poisonous plant, a shard of 15th Century pottery, the remains of a hob-nail boot and other curios began to fill the shelves, Arts centre manager Liz Falconbridge said: "It's very different and very inclusive.

"We're keen to get the public on-side. The performance element makes it quite interesting."

Donors are interviewed about their items, which are carefully handled by white-gloved curators before they go on show.

Karl Foster, one of the dozen or so artists who came up with the concept, said part of the idea had been to make art more accessible.

Mr Foster, a Norwich-based sculptor and lecturer, and lead artist Richard Layzell watched attentively as exhibits arrived. Some came without much in the way of explanation. Others had stories to tell.

Artist Lyndall Phelps chose a picture of herself as a little girl with the father she lost when she was just 14, in her native New Zealand.

Today's EDP will be joining them, along with this reporter's slightly-chewed pencil and a copy of the e-mail sent to photographer Ian Burt, with details of the assignment.

Lost & Found runs until February 20. Admission is free from 11am - 4pm, Tuesday to Saturday. Those lending an item can even enjoy a cup cake while they wait for it to go on show.