Wes Anderson presents box of 'treasures' from Viennese vaults
VIENNA - AFP
The "treasure chamber" at Vienna's Kunsthistorisches Museum takes on a new meaning thanks to an exhibition curated by American filmmaker Wes Anderson and his partner, illustrator and author Juman Malouf.
The pair was given free rein to assemble pieces from the vast collections and archives of the museum, as well as some of its partner institutions, in order to put together the six-month show, entitled "Spitzmaus Mummy in a Coffin and Other Treasures."
Tongue firmly in cheek, 49-year-old Anderson gave a short speech describing the process of putting the exhibition together with Malouf, 43, as "the culmination of several years of patient, frustrating negotiation, bitter, angry debate, sometimes completely irrational confrontation and often Machiavellian duplicity and deception."
"Perhaps I am as guilty as she is -- but I doubt it," he added.
With labels and explanations cast aside, the visitor has the impression of stumbling into an intimate and sometimes surreal space, crammed with objects which evoke the palette and symmetry that Anderson fans will recall from films such as The Royal Tenenbaums, The Grand Budapest Hotel and Moonrise Kingdom.
"It feels like the collecting chamber of an eccentric count, somewhere in the Czechoslovakian countryside hundreds of years ago," Jasper Sharp, the museum's curator for Modern and Contemporary Art, said.
But they have not been chosen according to traditional notions of rarity or artistic prestige.
The show's eight rooms are arranged instead in a more intuitive way and objects that may hitherto have been overlooked take center stage such as the tiny coffin of the show's title, made in ancient Egypt for a shrew.
"There are objects hiding high up, low down, every time you come into the exhibition you'll see something different."
"You will always lay yourself open to the charge of making noise when you invite someone in like this," Sharp admits.
"On the other hand Wes and Juman... certainly didn't see themselves as being an instrument of fame and attention-grabbing, very much the other way around, they saw it as a huge honour to work with the museum."
"Our hope is that our objects develop these layers and skins of meaning through their reinterpretation," Sharp adds.