This was an enlightening visit, discovering such as rich resource as the Fitzwilliam Museum; I was particularly impressed by the range of permanent displays and the reference library and I expect to return on many future occasions.
During the visit though I concentrated on the three temporary shows:
1. Grey Matters: Graphite - the video installation, Burst by James Eden & Olly Rocks, of graphite filled gallons being burst and the resulting patterns being made was almost mesmerising - it was a shame that there was such a definite break between each instance where the whole screen went black. I would also have liked to see some of the actual paper pieces displayed as part of the show. I also wondered what proportion was being shown in the video - how many other instances were there [if any] that were deemed not to work, that did not make engaging patterns of graphite on the paper.
2. Prints - The prints which have been engraved after the paintings of M. Chardin... have become fashionable prints, which... have dealt a blow to serious prints... The public enjoys seeing the events which occur daily in their own homes, and do not hesitate to give those preference over more sophisticated subjects. [Quoted in Roland Michel Chardin, 1996 p.238., as used in Fitzwilliam online resource accessed 2012-02-15 (http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/dept/pdp/onlinepublications/other/chardin_handlist.pdf) The range of print makers and interpretations of the work of a single artist [painter] was well worth contemplating. It supports the augment that each viewer in a sense makes their own picture from the work that is shown.
3. African Head rests - Ttiumph, protection and dreams: The East African headrest in context [although East African was somewhat stretched to allow the inclusion of Egyptian example]. It was intriguing to study these artefacts - some over 4000 years old some far more recent, and in many cases the antiquity of the items was quite deceptive - some over 4000years seemed more intricate and ornate than those that were a few hundred years younger - which seemed counter intuitive.