The “Archaeology of Memory” at the Sorø Kuntsmuseum

The Archaeology of Memory is the first of three projected exhibitions about materiality. The other materiality exhibitions will be in 2013 (soil) and 2014 (immateriality). This first exhibition takes its point of departure in materiality understood as things and the ‘thingness’ of things. The tactile, sensuous qualities of things, and how things relate to our memory and our history. Things are not dead matter but play an active role in our lives, in learning and remembering. Things shape culture and vic-versa. Things govern our movements, actions, experiences, and memories. And vice -versa. Things create meaning.

The science of things is archaeology. The artists featured at the exhibition all share an approximately archaeological practice. Like archaeologists they work with cultural and historical modes of expression, analyse them, translate them and transform them with a particular respect for materiality. The materialities at the exhibition are mahogany, cigarette butts, cloth, iron, plants, bronze, corn, porcelain, smell, paper, fox teeth, hair, whale bones, seashells, wax, seaweed, bamboo, sound, disco spots, soil, feathers and much more.

The works analyse the magical qualities of things and materiality per se; the museums’ representations of other cultures, translations of cultural traditions and their object-ive productions; the show presents the collective memory in the shape of the smell of First World War battlefields, and stone-like chunks, former STASI-files, shredded, pressed together, and thrown in the sewer system of Leipzig.

The artists are: Martin Erik Andersen (DK), Ib Braase (DK), Emil Westman Hertz (DK), Daniel Knorr (RO), Marie Søndergaard Lolk (DK), Gitte Schäfer (DE) og Sissel Tolaas (NO).

The exhibition is curated by Birgitte Kirkhoff Eriksen. It is accompanied by a catalogue with contributions from Bjørnar Olsen, Bruno Schulz, Francis Ponge/Teddy Josephsen, Peter H. Olesen and the artists. The exhibition is supported by The Danish Art Council and Overretssagfører L. Zeuthens Mindelegat.

2 Responses to “The “Archaeology of Memory” at the Sorø Kuntsmuseum”

  1. HELLO — I just stumbled on this article. How completely fascinating. On the other hand, you could have really complicated my life: I’m a novelist, with my next novel more or less plotted out — and now I see a whole NEW one popping into view, after reading about your exhibitions!


    Best to you all,

    Barbara L.

  2. Kameshwar says:

    Simon Schama’s piece in last weekend’s FT What otecjbs say about our times discusses the BBC initiatives to present history though material culture from a historian’s point of view.