Charity shop finds turned into Coventry city centre art exhibition

If you think you’ve seen a new charity shop open in Coventry city centre – you’re partly, artily, right.
The Charity Shop Tour Shop is open in an empty shop at 19 Hertford Street, just off Broadgate.
It consists of items from Coventry-based artist Lorsen Camps’s The Charity Shop Tour project, and responses to them by artists Dave Gray, Jamie Randall and Ben Rowe.
The tour took place in 2003 and involved Lorsen travelling around the country visiting 1,306 charity shops in six weeks, and then producing a book about the project. The exhibition marks the tenth anniversary of the tour, with the additional works added to it. The items have all been carefully documented and you can read what they all are, and which shop and town they were sourced from.

The items are displayed on furniture from two Coventry charities, but arranged very differently to the average charity shop.
Items are grouped by theme, or ironic attachments. Little squadrons of action heroes, long forgotten from TV series or films, stand ready to go into battle, arranged neatly and by size. A model of the Statue of Liberty stands next to Mickey Mouse posing as the Statue. A cabinet of china animals is guarded by a brave-looking duck.
Lorsen has added some of his own works to the exhibition. These include a model of a knitted poodle doorstop etched on to a dressing table mirror, and a fetching wall adornment called Love Me, a green creature made from sequins.
In another frame from a charity shop he’s created an image of a rocking horse from scraper foil. He is also still adding to the exhibition, with a new strange, round etched item.
There are also several nail and thread works he has made, of the type often seen discarded in charity shops, and which bring back memories of the inside of school art rooms in the 1980s.
Dave Gray has taken a sea painting from a charity shop and added in a robot emerging from the sea. Ben Rowe has created some MDF sculptural items on a sci-fi theme, and Jamie Randall has made a red-eyed lion in a light box, looking like stained glass.
In the middle of the room there are more pieces of furniture and a strange suspended carrot.
It is the carful placing of the items which principally makes this interesting, and worthy of a detour.
*Lorsen’s exhibition is on until August 10. Not far away at the Pluspace Gallery at the Meter Rooms in Corporation Street is Without an Edge There is No Middle , an exhibition of abstract paintings, and for an art overload the Herbert is also only five minutes walk away – proving Coventry is not a cultural desert!


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