A Troving review of Birmingham’s most unusual art gallery

Trapped between a building site and a Travelodge, in the heart of the Jewellery Quarter seems a strange location for an art gallery. However, this is indeed the home of Trove the most charming and unusual gallery in Birmingham. A former factory converted into a gallery purely by filling the empty space with exhibits. This is an art gallery where the venue itself feels a lasting piece of art in its own right.

Perhaps its artistic credibility is created by the doomed nature of the building, which after holding off developers is finally due to be redeveloped into offices this summer. With this in mind the latest show ‘the geometry of the object being plated’ by Alastair Levy and They Are Here meditates upon the concepts of death and renewal.

The interior of Trove is unapologetically industrial, with a broken floor and scattered piles of bricks adorning the interior. Simple shrine-like exhibits such as white flowers dipped in pots of different coloured inks, gave nods to both the buildings past, at the same time as acknowledging its tragic future.

The central frame was a small pile of dirt in the centre of the building, in which a small freshly plucked weed from outside invited the viewer to question the place of nature in our urban lives.

Is there a place for nature in our urban lives?

The show continuously contained veiled references to the impending air brushing of the Trove building, with one section of wall covered in Tip-ex relating to the inability to the modern world’s makeover of the past. A further nod was found in the form of discs made from mousemats patterned upon the floor.

Fusing the concepts of urban life and its approach to the past was an interactive piece of performance art in the form of the Magpie. This consisted of a woman with a single feather affixed to her head becoming fixated with anything that shone. An unnerving experience given my only shiny object was my belt buckle.

A minimal exhibition, but one that was profound in the questions it posed. Posing questions that reverberate far further than the building that art venerates, this exhibition fuses the local with the universal truths that connect us all. The building maybe on life support, but its spirit is still flourishing.

About the author

James Reevell is a Birmingham based culture writer. He is co-editor of Arts and Culture at Redbrick Newspaper. He is also co-curator of EXYZT graffiti art gallery. Approaches culture like a kid approaches sweets, is easily distracted and is normally found in a bar talking rubbish. Follow him on Twitter @JamesReevell.

One Response to “A Troving review of Birmingham’s most unusual art gallery”
  1. Mark says:

    Great article, particularly liked the mousemats on the floor. Never seen anything quite like it!

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