Wundercamera

22 November 2013 to 11 January 2014 Main Gallery & Manor-House

Museum Clausum, Mark Dion, Jonathan Faiers, Patrick and Tristram Fetherstonhaugh, Andrew Grassie, Karl Grimes, Vid Ingelevics, Valery Katsuba, Karen Knorr, Louise Lawler, Stuart Leech/Dulwich Picture Gallery, Richard Ross, Traer Scott, Matt Stuart, Hiroshi Sugimoto

Curated by Museum Clausum

 

Presenting work by a diverse group of international artists, Wundercamera explored the art of the curator through the medium of photography.

This exhibition brought together photography of the world’s museums and galleries to offer an illuminating view of the ways in which cultural venues display their works. The resulting photographic ‘museum of museums’ provided an arresting visual experience. As opposed to focusing on individual objects as a museum visitor, when looking at photographs of exhibition spaces the images re-present the already re-presented in a hall of mirrors effect that exposes the artifice of the curatorial set-up.

The works in this exhibition focus on different aspects of the museum and gallery experience and the individual photographers provide diverse interpretations of the photographed museum scenes. There are ‘perfect’ reproductions of dioramas that exclude all signs of a museum background. Other approaches deliberately include the museum space showing objects in distress; sometimes the camera is used to create crops that show fragments. In other images the camera captures often humorous visual relationships between visitors and exhibits, while other artists create interventions in exhibition spaces in order to photograph these.

The group exhibition was complemented by a site-specific installation in the house. A collection of photographs taken at Sir John Soane’s Museum in Lincolns Inn Field photographically ‘returned’ part of the collection that was previously housed at Pitzhanger. A video installation suggested a time-warped live CCTV link to the Lincoln’s Inn Fields museum. Whilst suggesting what Pitzhanger’s remarkable Soane interiors would have looked like when filled with his equally remarkable objects, the installation projected a strong sense of absence by referring to objects that are no longer present and to moments that have passed.

Wundercamera offered both a fascinating visual experience and a meditation on museum culture, the art of collecting and the medium of photography. This exhibition was supported by Arts Council England.

Image: Richard Ross, Museum National D'Histoire Naturelle Paris, France, 1982 © Richard Ross