ECAV, Switserland

Sentimental Museology

Presenting extracts from their research into the history of Artist’s Museums, Drabble and Martini introduce a selection of curatorial experiments; from Harald Szeemann’s exhibitions at the Kunsthalle Bern in the late 1960s and the exhibition in his apartment Grand Father: A Pioneer Like Us, to Daniel Spoerri and Marie-Louise von Plessen’s Musées Sentimentales, staged in the late 1970s and early 1980s and Orhan Pamuk’s Museum of Innocence, opened by writer in 2011.

The illustrated talk departs from the questions:

  • What happens when a collection of ever-day objects forms the starting point for emotional, imaginative and at times narrative reflections?
  • What happens when we consider substituting institutional museum visions with individual curatorial narratives, obsessions and fictional acts?
  • How might atypical collections and the narratives they convey reconfigure the institution of which they speak – the museum?

In the context of renewed interest in exhibition experiments, Drabble and Martini propose that these ‘museums’ can be seen as working somewhere between social and personal histories, between high and low culture, between private and collective memory and between nostalgic and impulsive registers. They argue that the deinstitutionalizing voice in these projects, which rephrases the activities of collecting and curating as at once subjective, convivial and sentimental, opens up possibilities for new communities of feeling and sensibility.

The presentation relates to their research project Another Story – Artists’ Museums of Alternative History, at the ECAV – Wallis University of Applied Arts and Sciences.