|Type of Research:||Art/Design Item|
|Creators:||Ellard, Graham and Johnstone, Stephen|
Neue Museen is a 16mm film about the radical, modernist exhibition designs of Italian post-war architect Franco Albini and his collaboration with museum director Caterina Marcenaro in the early 1950s. The film is shot in the galleries of the Palazzo Bianco and Palazzo Rosso, and the Museo di Sant’Agostino, in Genoa.
The appropriateness of Albini’s device was much commented on at the time of its installation, primarily because it was adapted from a ‘found’ hydraulic car hoist. In defense of Albini’s provocative display system Marcenaro claimed its mobility was central to ‘a new museum concept’ that emphasised truth, serenity and visibility. In his important survey of post-war Museum design Neue Museen, Planung und Einrichtung (1965) Michael Brawne indicates that Albini’s designs “were the first to question accepted methods of display” and “were to prove enormously influential later”. G E Kidder Smith in Italy Builds. L’Italia Costrusce (1954) suggests that the arrangement of the room that housed the Pisano fragment represented “a landmark design” in the presentation of sculpture in a museum context.
The film focuses on Albini and Marcenaro’s stated desire to “emphasise the atmosphere of purity and tranquillity that surrounds a real masterpiece” as a particularly explicit example of the modernist ideology of the museum to radically decontextualise art from its surroundings. As Catherine Marcerano suggests in an article from 1954 (Museum vol. 7 no. 4, 1954): “In the interests of education, the Palace concept was abandoned and the museum criterion strictly adhered to. In other words, the works of art were treated not as the decorative part of a given setting, but as a world in themselves, sufficient to absorb the visitor’s full attention”. It’s this idea of a ‘museum criterion’ that is central to Albini’s designs and exhibition display. In effect his designs propose a certain kind of looking and it’s this form of absorption that the film draws the viewer into.
A limited number of black and white photographs of the installed mobile display device exist yet there appear to be no extant accounts or film footage of how it actually operated in the museum.
|Other Corporate or Group Contributors:||
|Additional Information (Publicly available):||
‘Neue Museen: Franco Albini and Caterina Marcenaro’s Museum of Floating Objects’. Invited paper, as part of 'Sculpture and its Exhibition Histories' convened by Lisa Le Feuvre and Jon Wood (Henry Moore Institute), at the Association of Art Historians Annual Conference, 2012.
|Keywords/subjects not otherwise listed:||architectural history, museum and exhibtion design, European post-war Modernism, experimental film|
|Your affiliations with UAL:||Colleges > Central Saint Martins
Research Groups > Double Agents
|Date:||10 January 2011|
|Copyright Holders:||Graham Ellard and Stephen Johnstone|
|Funders:||Association of Art Historians, British Academy, Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, Goldsmiths College, University of London|
|Related Websites:||http://www.ellardjohnstone.com, http://www.fondazionemaxxi.it/en/, http://www.estorickcollection.com, http://www.ellardjohnstone.com/assets/NewMuseum%2002.html AAH Bulletin, http://www.aah.org.uk/media/docs/bulletin/107_June%202011.pdf|
|Projects or Series:||Research Outputs Review (April 2010 - April 2011)|
|Locations / Venues:||
|Material/Media:||16mm film, colour, optical sound|
|Measurements or Duration of item:||11 minutes|
|Date Deposited:||28 Feb 2012 10:30|
|Last Modified:||07 Dec 2015 17:57|
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