This Is Not an Object
The exhibition “This Is Not an Object” was created as part of the three-year artistic and anthropological project “Discarded: Contributions to Value Studies”, which examines the phenomenon of value and the personal and social mechanisms and processes through which value is established and changed, emphasising the relational and temporary nature of these transformations.
The exhibition presents objects from the holdings of the Ethnographic Museum of Istria, private collections and artworks that thematise collecting or are part of artistic concepts. The artistic concepts (Vanja Babić, Ivan Faktor, Tomislav Gotovac and Marijan Molnar) involve collecting (as a practice) ranging from discussing various aspects of the phenomenon through artistic work, to the personal obsession with objects, their accumulation, arrangement and sorting. This initiates the conversation about collecting as an act of recognising, valuing and distinguishing trivial and everyday objects (sugar packets for coffee, rocks, envelopes, and the like), the value of which is often nullified to the point of “irrelevance”, and museum and collector objects that, as they pass through institutional verification, undergo the process of revaluation, from exceptional value to the negation of their existence. Likewise, the exhibition explores personal, artistic and institutional practices of collecting, safekeeping, classification and indexing of objects, their overlaps and divergences, thus opening the space for rethinking of the classification paradigms.
The artistic-anthropological-curatorial collaboration, as the main methodological line in the process of design, preparation and realisation of the exhibition, is also inscribed in its poetics. Based on the interweaving and initiation of a dialogue between the displayed artworks and the anthropological field, it constructs new narratives about old (museum) objects (such as a waistcoat, hairdresser hood dryer or objects in Marijan Molnar’s work). Using the logic of reverse representation, by placing invisible objects “from the background” – museum depots or private home space – or narratives about them in the foreground, it establishes a new quality of objects that moves away from default materiality towards the sensory, emotional, indescribable, symbolic and individual. By reversing the visible and the invisible, internal and external, official and private, institutional and individual, the museum space and its background activity mechanisms become a place of consideration and examination of the valuable and the valueless.
Production: Ethnographic Museum of Istria
Exhibition authors: Irena Bekić, Duga Mavrinac, Ivona Orlić
Exhibition design: Vanja Babić
Graphic design: Rafaela Dražić
Sound design: Hrvoslava Brkušić
Technical set-up: Dragan Dimovski