Neither Use Nor Ornament

30 Mar 2019 – 28 Apr 2019

Event times

OVADA gallery opens: Thurs - Sun 12-6pm (check www.museumforobjectresearch for Easter opening times and further events).

Cost of entry


OVADA Gallery

Oxford, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • Stagecoach and Oxford Bus Company run regular services into Oxford, with the nearest bus stops to the warehouse being Frideswide Square and Park End Street. From London, the Oxford Tube and X90 coaches run regularly into the City Centre and Gloucester Green Bus Station.

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Neither Use Nor Ornament is an exhibition that explores the way that we use everyday objects – like bottles, handbags and wool – to store our memories.


By keeping collections of precious things, we create histories of love and loss, happiness and grief. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and possessions that hold great meaning for us may look very ordinary to everybody else. 

The fourteen artists in NUNO use a wide range of techniques, including live performance, installation, video, sound, textiles, photography, sculpture, assemblage, and the written word. By offering an intimate glimpse of their lives, they invite us to delve into our own personal histories, from the memories that we enjoy, to the darker experiences of trauma and loss. But their pieces draw on wider meanings too: the personal becomes the political, offering commentary on social change; and family pasts point us to the broad sweep of history, in which people are displaced by powers beyond their control.  

Ruth Geldard looks at the importance of our handbags, and what they carry for us. Kate Murdoch invites us to interact with objects from her collection and add our own touches to them. Kruse makes pilgrimages to her fellow artists, and knits a record of her travels. Sonia Boué draws on family possessions to create a conversation with her father. Some of the work is playful and encourages you to join in; other pieces allow you to stand back and reflect. NUNO shows how the things we own can transform us, and how an artist’s hand and eye can transform those objects all over again.    

NUNO takes place in the characterful warehouse space of OVADA, and brings together two very different networks of artists to share ideas, influences and ways of interpreting the world around them. It is funded by Arts Council England and Oxford City Council Culture Fund, and presented in partnership with OVADA & Arts at the Old Fire Station.

What to expect? Toggle


Lucy Phillips

Sonia Boué

Exhibiting artists

Dawn Cole

Sonja Zelić

Sonia Boué

Jenni Dutton

Katherine May

Neil Armstrong

Patrick Goodall

Hugh Pryor

Dave Edwards

Rhiannon Lloyd-Williams

Naomi Morris

Kate Murdoch

Ruth Geldard

susan kruse

Taking part

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