Recycled Images 25 March 2000 - 8 September2002
The Joachim Schmid Collection at the Pitt Rivers Museum - An Artist's Intervention
For nearly two decades the Museum has been interested exploring different ways of interpreting its collections through collaborations with contemporary artists.
The most recent collaboration is with Berlin-based artist, Joachim Schmid, who was invited to contribute an artist's intervention as an integral part of Transformations: The Art of Recycling. Joachim Schmid has worked for many years 'recycled images', the discarded visual detritus of modern culture, and he responded with enthusiasm to the opportunity.
The resulting work is made up of 22 small installations of postcards, archetypical recyclers of images, scattered through cases in the Museum. Central to Schmid's work is the idea of the museum itself as another archetypal recycler, through the partially serendipitous, random nature of collecting, description and classification. By questioning our categories the intervention also points to assumptions about the exotic which often inform the popular perception of the ethnographic museum. As Schmid says "generic samples of modern western culture are inserted into the collection...thus both questioning our understanding of the exotic and shifting our attention towards aspects of our own culture" .
The installations do not comment on the objects themselves. Rather they comment on the transformations of objects within museums through institutional pracices. Postcards of dignitaries are categorised as 'ornament showing status'. Kitschy kittens' tea parties invade 'Animal Form in Art'. In 'Clothing' , work overalls become an exotic form worn for the rituals of work. The archetypal glamour and cultural icon, Marilyn Munroe in diamonds, becomes 'Beads of Stone Glass and Pottery'.Amongst food bowls of the world, the extravagant and gendered presentations of pizza emerge as the exotic.
When Transformations finishes 'The Joachim Schmid Collection' will be transformed into a 'real' collection, and added to the Museum's Photograph Collections. These ideas also reach outside the Museum.Visitors are encouraged to become another author in this process, by taking and returning a specially prepared postcard. These too will be added to the Collections as part of the endless movement of meanings in the social life of an object.
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Date Last Modified: 20/3/01