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The show, now staged at Firstsite, is titled Bronze Age c. 3500BC–AD 2018. It is a satirical take on an exhibition of historical artefacts, mixing together ancient, modern and contemporary pieces. It presents them as elements of a fictional museum show, which runs from March 17-October 28.

By creating unusual combinations, the show focuses out how the significance of an object can be dictated by context.

It was created in collaboration with Mary Beard, recently of BBC’s Civilisations, who voices the audio guide (available on iTunes) for the show.

“I thought the playacting, whimsical nature of the project sounded like a bit of fun and while we’ve approached the presentation as a satire, it’s also a way to reinvigorate how people think about history, archaeology and museum display,” Beard says.

Among the pieces exhibited as museum-pieces are true historical artefacts, contemporary works of art and miscellaneous bronze items purchased from eBay. A number of works appear on loan from institutions such as Bruton Museum, Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery and David Roberts Art Collection. Artists represented include Louise Bourgeois, Alberto Giacometti, Henry Moore and William Turnbull.

It was first staged at Hauser & Wirth’s stand at Frieze London last year where sales included a Hans Arp sculpture ticketed at $1.1m. 

Frieze Bronze Age
The earlier staging of the exhibition Bronze Age at Hauser & Wirth at Frieze London last year.

Firstsite director Sally Shaw says that “while it was initially conceived as a satire on museum exhibitions it has grown into something much more than that, inviting the viewer to approach history and archaeology from a fresh perspective”.