Biographical exhibitions are a museum practice that asks for critical consideration. Grounding the argument in critical theory, social studies and museum theory, the article explores the narrative function of objects in biographical exhibitions by addressing the social significance of objects in relation to biography and their relevance when presented into an exhibition display. Central is the concept of objects as ‘biographical relics’ that are culturally fetishized in biographical narratives. This raises questions about biographical reliability and the cultural role that such objects plays in exhibition narratives as bearers of reality and as metonymical icons of the biographical subject. The article considers examples of biographical exhibitions of diverse figures such as Gregor Mendel, Madame de Pompadour and Roland Barthes, and the role that personal items, but also portraits and photographs, play in them.
|Type of Research:||Article|
|Additional Information (Publicly available):|
Cultural history, cultural theory, history of medicine and science, curating, visual and perfoming arts.
I collaborated in a curatorial capacity on ‘Exploring the Invisible’, an interdisciplinary project by artist Anne Brodie and molecular microbiologist Simon Park (University of Surrey) funded by the Wellcome Trust. The project explores the properties of the light of the bioluminescent bacterium Photobacterium phosphoreum. The project investigates human relation with bacteria using enquiry and experimentation across photography, film and installation.
I also collaborate as an external consultant on a curatorial capacity for the Wellcome Trust to the forthcoming exhibition ‘Medicine and Art: Imagining a Future for Life and Love – Leonardo, Okyo, Damien Hirst (Mori Museum, Tokyo, 28th November 09 – 28th February 2010). The exhibition explores the art and science of the human body historically and through contemporary art and is based on the medical collection of the Wellcome Trust.
|Keywords/subjects not otherwise listed:||Biography; biographical exhibitions; curating; biographical objects; narrative|
|Publisher/Broadcaster/Company:||University of Leicester, School of Museum Studies|
|Your affiliations with UAL:||Colleges > Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design|
Colleges > Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design
|Date:||01 March 2007|
|Deposited By:||INVALID USER|
|Deposited On:||04 Dec 2009 12:27|
|Last Modified:||10 Mar 2014 07:09|