There’s something so gratifying about finding old foreign currency from holidays past zipped up inside a washed-out backpack, or returning to your childhood bedroom and unearthing a box of love letters from an old sweetheart, or even falling upon an abandoned yet ornate piece of furniture in the street. The inexplicable, even universal, feeling induced by finding things is what Cornelia Parker, the curator of FOUND, is exploring in the latest exhibition at The Foundling Museum.

Parker gathered over 60 artists to share their own interpretation of the word “found”; both at a deeply personal or purely whimsical level. We loved Parker’s own installation There must be some kind of way out of here that displays Jimi Hendrix’s old wooden staircase which she procured after realising that a big developmental project was about to knock down the flat where he once lived.

We were especially drawn to the eye-popping neon lights by Fiona Banner as well as Rosie Wylie’s vibrant oil painting of Philip Seymour-Hoffman’s back – both added quirky charm to the museum’s courtly and traditional interiors. Another pulsating piece was by Jarvis Cocker, who showed washed-out pages of the now defunct magazine Romania Today. He found them in 1985 at the bottom of a bin in Bristol and supposedly, this find inspired the lurid aesthetic for his band, Pulp. Like Cocker, many of the artists’ “found” objects displayed how something inanimate and seemingly useless or even banal, can be used as a wellspring of inspiration.

If you fancy figuring out the story behind a worn-out Theodore Reik book or simply looking at a gargantuan collection of playing cards from all across the globe, be sure to check out FOUND – you’re sure to leave the place finding more than you ever expected.

Text by Portia Ladrido

FOUND is now on at The Foundling Museum 27 May 2016 – 4 Sept 2016. Find out more at The Foundling Museum website.