The Emotional Life of Objects


Linda Judge, Howard’s Shoes, 2014, Acrylic on linen, 1500 x 1020mm, (Image courtesy of the artist)

In the wake of her husband’s sudden death Linda Judge painted his personal possessions. “Initially I believed that if I painted his things it would stop me forgetting who he was and then maybe, it might be easier to throw some of his things away. But this wasn’t the case and I still have most of his books, shoes and records (which I sometimes listen to).” Judges painterly inventory of her husband’s belongings are a profound memorial and reminder that in the end it is our objects and the memories held in the minds of others, which outlive us. Judge’s series is part of an exhibition and participatory art project that ask audiences to contemplate our intimate relationships to the objects around us. Why do some things become special? How might objects offer comfort in times of loss, facilitate self-understanding and assist our remembering?


Robyne Latham, Cloak, Bronze, 2013, 185 X 300 X 300mm, (Image courtesy the artist).

The Emotional Life of Objects combines artwork by seven Melbourne based artist’s with audience contributions to examine the relationship between objects and emotions, memory and history. Featuring work by Clara Bradley, Andrew Turland, Elizabeth Rich, Nicholas Mellefont, Linda Judge, Georgina Cockshott, and Robyne Latham, The Emotional Life of Objects is a collaborative project between Art Therapist and Curator Kate Richards, with Penelope Lee of the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions. The exhibition extends the Centre’s investigation of personal and communal experience of emotions across time, by examining the emotional relationships of people to things.


Andrew Turland, Video Still, Neo Vanitas, 2012, Digital Media, 7:37, (Image courtesy the artist).

Audiences are invited to contribute to the exhibition through the sharing of personal meaningful objects and their stories. The curators will convene a series of workshops and gallery-based activities to engage audiences in discussing and casting their personal objects. The outcomes will form a growing display within the exhibition. By situating the personal artefact alongside the art object, the gallery will operate as an affective and active site for contemplation and remembering. Through acts of documentation, collection and display the artists, curators and audience collaborate to examine intimate and collective experiences of the emotional life of objects.

The Emotional Life of Objects will be held at the George Paton Gallery, The University of Melbourne, Wednesday 4th – Friday 13th May. Closing Event, Wednesday 11th May, 5 -7pm, all welcome.

An experiential workshop will be held at the Melbourne University Arts Lab on Wednesday 4th May, bookings required. For further information please visit,

Public are also invited to participate in an audio interview with the curators reflecting on their object. With permission, this will become part of the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions ongoing project. Please contact: to arrange.




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