The curator's room: visceral reflections from within the museum
Osborne, Michelle Anne Louise
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In the way of museums, certain things have been collected and assembled for a display, a truth, in the form of a private room in which resides the dream world of the curator. Then, as the visual expression of this inner space deepens, they are carefully taken apart, always with respect for the original. Yet the work is not shaped by the hand of a conservator destined to abandon the imagination in favour of a trail of physical evidence. Nor does it reflect the conventional rationalist sensibilities of a museum worker who, by suppressing a poetic understanding of the world is confined by "cold language" (Frame 1992 p.45) and remains caught inextricably in the web of colonial thinking.Here the imagination is truth (Einzig 1996) and an understanding of the nature of this inner space the key to the locked door. The Anthropologist and the Archaeologist, indeed a whole host of disciplinary specialists may come knocking, but it is the artist that gains access to the curatorial spirit. Compelled as much by a love of the museum profession as a crisis of European consciousness (Spivak in Harasym 1990), objects are assembled for an inner journey to a place where shadow and sunlight chase each other across the landscape (McQueen 2000). This is the dialectic space of both curator and artist, of the rational and the irrational, of inside and outside, and of disciplinary devotion and betrayal.