Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fragmented History: Objects and Meaning



Fragmented History: Objects and Meaning features a selection of artworks and historical artifacts from the museum’s own collection, and presents in a series of thought-provoking displays that explore critical themes pertaining to collecting institutions. The act of collecting is rooted in a desire to endow value and meaning to our lives through the gathering and ordering of the material world around us. Motives that drive this accumulation of ‘things’ are complex and varied, ranging from the psychological desire to possess, the emotional need to preserve and remember, to the political and economic drive for power, status, knowledge, and validation. The history of the Museum as an institution is inextricably linked to this practice, and the collections that it houses embody the assumptions about knowledge and value of the societies and culture that create them.

Fragmented History explores the acquisition, organization, and display of objects, addressing some key topics in collecting discourse -authenticity, fragmentation, classification, possession, and the imbuing of value. This exhibition includes artworks by well-known B.C. artists including Emily Carr and Jack Shadbolt, as well as personal possessions from the estates of B.C. Binning and architect Hugh Hodgson in juxtaposition with other historical items from the Museum’s diverse collections. The exhibition re-evaluates the relationships between institutions, visitors, objects and collections.


Image: Photograph of Scott Paper Towel Display designed by Winston Elliott, c. 1965

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