Back in 2014 the MK Gallery in Milton Keynes held the ‘Treasures in MK’ exhibit which explored the theme and layout of a cabinet of curiosities. A collection of objects and artwork where the layout of items and history of the work tell a story. The collection as art and visual communication. Each object, with its own history used to communicate different themes and narratives within the much larger collection. Im a bit sad that I didn’t get a chance to see the exhibition myself in 2014, but luckily the MK Gallery have a great archive feature with detailed information and photography to give me an idea of how the exhibition was created and experienced at the time. Though its always better to visit exhibitions when you can!
“A remarkable cabinet of curiosities comprising 200 historical and modern artworks and objects borrowed from 60 collections near Milton Keynes, including Old Masters Dürer, Hogarth and Millais; Modern Masters Matisse, Picasso and Warhol plus iconic classics such as an Aston Martin DB4.”
The first thing that really strikes me about this exhibition is the taxidermy birds displayed on the podium at the centre. This natural animal, captured in time and displayed at the centre of man made creations (drawings and paintings). This display helps to create a contrast between the natural world and man made creations.
The exhibition is also celebrating the history of the area around it, Milton Keynes. Visually communicating different stories by choosing to display items that have their own myths and history along side artwork that could compliment or conflict the stories or themes.
“Instead of focusing on a specific theme or period in time, the exhibition celebrates the extraordinary variety of tastes and interests in the area. As such, the exhibition is a collection of collections; it is also an exhibition about collecting.”
Take a look at the exhibition guide here.
The exhibition might have ended in 2014 but you can still have a look at the archive on the MK Gallery website here.