museum, 2016 Scale Model (Granite, Ceramics, Stone, Natural Sponge, Netting and Plaster)

questioning the collection (Text)

‘The conversation about curators has largely been dominated by curators’ [1] The general public are required to praise and admire the exhibition, not to question the integrity and validity of the collection.

 

Whilst the overall atmospheric scenery of a museum has evolved, there seems to be something wrong and ancient with the concept behind displaying collections - their reason of being shown has remained more of a pantagruelian manifestation of selfish richness - obstructing what the museum has never been, an unbiased representation. And yet although it would be ideal to experience an unaffected historic display, it is something quite impossible to achieve.

 

If a curator positions an element on the right hand side instead of the left side of a room, a personal act has affected the way an historical element or object is represented.

 

The history revealed to us is therefore a very calculated and considered version, selected with the view of being seen and perceived. Supposedly being the “best possible mediator between the art and the public” [2], the lack of dialogue between the curator and public is vast, displayed through differing social, economical and political backgrounds, thus creating a void that is a non-representative reality. 

 

The solemn interaction with positioning the object, if not choosing it as part of the collection in the first place, is already a step in re-evaluating and filtering historical records; it is an overall act of choosing what insight visitors should stumble upon.

 

 A statement clearly underlined by the fact of selecting a limited amount of items to represent a specific period of time - whilst you cannot have every item that has characterised a broad period of time within a gallery space, the forced choice of pieces to display and their overall positions provide visitors with a standardised, if not stereotypical, historic view - leading to an altered delineation of reality. 

 

The museum as ‘a place of all times that is itself outside time and protected from its erosion’ [3] is an abstract concept in itself.

 

As an overall impression, everything displayed seems to be sieved to an essence that ignores the everyday and enhances institutional values.

 

The institutional museum as example of a systematic defect - the overall arrangement as a selfish 

 

 

superficial

narration of altered history. 

 

[1] Buren, D. (2013) Being Curated: Exhibiting Exhibitions, ” Frieze (Issue 156, April, 2013) Frieze Publishing Ltd, p.132-134. 

[2] Buren. D (1970) ‘The Function of the Museum’, Institu- tional Critique: an Anthology of Artists’ Writings, Alberro, Alexander and Black Stimson eds., (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2009) p.104.

[3] Thiemeyer, T. (2015) Work, specimen, witness: How dif- ferent perspectives on museum objects alter the way they are perceived and the values attributed to them, Museum & Society, volume 13, p. 407.