REVIEW: ‘When I went shopping, I bought…’ by Jake Rixon

This summer, we are delighted to have the exhibition by Lucy Gray ‘When I went shopping, I bought…’ in our ArtSpace.
This exhibition looks into the shopping lists Lucy has found around Bishop’s Stortford.
Jake Rixon (15), our work experience student writes his review of the exhibition:
‘When I went shopping, I bought…’ is a project by Lucy Ireland Gray in which she collected approximately 200 shopping lists that were discarded in Bishops Stortford over an extended period of time. These lists are currently on display at South Mill Arts.
I find this exhibition to be quite intriguing as while reading the list you can infer several things about the person who wrote it, for instance, how well off was the person. This can be inferred by the price of the items on the list.
Or was the person in a rush? You can tell this by the handwriting and the spelling.

Or even if they had written the list for someone else to go out and buy, this was often alluded to by the writer adding the peoples’ names onto the shopping list. For example, one of the lists had the subheading ‘Tom’ and below it  was onions and then carrots.

I inferred that Tom was someone that the writer lives with, presumably a young child, as both foods are healthy and easy to chew.

It could also be inferred that the writer of this list was too busy looking after their child (or potentially multiple children as Tom is mentioned by name) so they had to send someone else to get the shopping, I have inferred this as the writer would know who the carrots and onions are for as they wrote the list.

In summary someone’s shopping list can convey a wealth of information about that person solely through the small details. It is as if each of the approximately 200 amassed list are their own pieces of art. For that reason, I believe that this art exhibition is a great way of turning something that on the surface is seemingly dull into something truly fascinating and as is stated by Lucy Ireland Gray herself is addictive to read.

-Jake Rixon


Photography by Jake Rixon