Monday, 21 November 2011

The Museum of Loss and Renewal: Object Becomes Subject

The Museum of Loss and Renewal an ongoing project by Tracy Mackenna and Edwin Janssen is currently in stage 2 with Object Becomes Subject in Centrespace at the VRC. 

Above, is an image of the display cases in which Tracy and Edwin have curated objects bought from The Highland Hospice Charity Shops alongside two painted reproductions of historical masters' works, commissioned in China.

Van Gogh imagery dominates one case, with a jigsaw puzzle featuring one of his paintings placed with a vase, fruits and one of the commissioned paintings. This reminds us that works such as these have filtered through society becoming consumer goods; the question of value arises - how does the image translate through such merchandising? We are invited to consider the value of the selected objects, once donated to charity shops, then sold on again now placed in the different gallery context.

The notions of recycling, memory or history and life and death connect the cases, with fresh flowers slowly decaying and clothes that lie empty amongst objects donated to The Highland Hospice Shops. 

A slideshow on the other side of the space gradually moves through photographs of Tracy’s writing/drawing that has been annotated by her and Edwin with images from their postcard collection. This takes us through some of the poignant aspects of discussions that have happened during the project, since it’s launch at The Highland Institute of Contemporary Art (HICA) in September. Simple but descriptive comments on arts relationship to language (to paraphrase) “artworks are like words, they can be rearranged to make different paragraphs”, or the “web of interconnectedness” that applies to relationships, art and exhibition processes, or notes on loss, grief and personal relationships help to make sense of the title of this stage of The Museum: “Object Becomes Subject”.

Tracy and Edwin’s curatorial approach enables an access point into the research and production methods, as well as the ideas they explore, that make up the project. For instance, two of the display cases have pin board backings that display postcards of artworks by artists such as Van Gogh, Louise Bourgeois, Lucio Fontana and Ai Wei Wei, through this a formal mind mapping of ideas and connections is produced. 

The space is not static but a space for research, education and making; some of Tracy’s writing/recording of the discussions that are taking part within the project is materialising into a blanket. After the felting process, the blanket will be given to the Hospice members whose words helped shape it, providing it with another life/use/value. 

A library area, housed by recycled plinths that are painted yellow, allows the visitor to read Mark Dion’s Marvelous Museum, books on museum culture and curatorial practice, a book documenting Walker Evan’s Postcard collection, Grayson Perry's The Tomb Of The Unknown Craftsman or Tracy and Edwin’s previous publications. This area acts like the pin board and the slide show to give us, as visitor, a way in to their research and an opportunity to take part in it ourselves. 

The space is, like I hope ATELIER PUBLIC in GoMA's Gallery 3 will become, highly productive, explorative and allows for consideration of methods of display and individual approaches to art.

No comments:

Post a Comment