In his work for the exhibition Charlie Barkus explores different narratives, stories, and people. His small dry point etchings depict people he may have never seen before. The work was inspired by 'Norfolk Curios' (1981) a set of prints from the Castle collection be David Davies that document an unusual eccentric and sometimes humorous collection of Norfolk characters. Sketchy drawings are combined with handwritten texts that contextualise the figures and frequently describe their many misdemeanours.
To create the dry point etchings, Barkus scratched the surface of the plate by hand. In choosing to hand print the etchings as opposed to using the traditional mechanical technique Barkus slows the process down resulting in a unique object as opposed to a reproducible commodity.
Central to Barkus' work is an interest in the idea of the museum and its role in generating narratives that convey different histories. The relationship this type of storytelling can have to fact and fiction and the writings of Sir Thomas Browne are explored in his etchings. In 1684 Sir Thomas Browne (1605 - 82) posthumously published 'Musaeum Clausum' that records an inventory of 'remarkable books, antiquties, pictures and rarities of several kinds, scarce or never seen by any man now living'. Barkus has taken this assembled collection and created his own 'rare chance pieces, drawn at random, happening to look like some person, or drawn for some and happening to be more like another; the face proves a tolerable picture of one he never saw'.