Klaus Pichler - Skeletons in the Closet: Museum of Natural History, Vienna (2010-ongoing)
“What does a museum look like behind the scenes? How are exhibits stored when they are not on display?
The focus of this study is not on the exhibition spaces of the museum, but on the space behind the scenes, particularly depots, cellars, and storage rooms assigned to individual departments which are generally not accessible to the public.
These spaces are used for the storage of countless exhibits belonging to various collections, sorted following a rigidly scientific classification system, but also taking into account the limited storage space available.”
Montclair, CA, 1975 © Philip Melnick
Zhang Huan, Family Tree, 2000
About this work, the artist says, “I invited 3 calligraphers to write texts on my face from early morning until night. I told them what they should write and to always keep a serious attitude when writing the texts even when my face turns to dark. My face followed the daylight till it slowly darkened. I cannot tell who I am. My identity has disappeared.
This work speaks about a family story, a spirit of family. In the middle of my forehead, the text means “Move the Mountain by Fool (Yu Kong Yi Shan)”. This traditional Chinese story is known by all common people, it is about determination and challenge. If you really want to do something, then it could really happen. Other texts are about human fate, like a kind of divination. Your eyes, nose, mouth, ears, cheekbone, and moles indicate your future, wealth, sex, disease, etc. I always feel that some mysterious fate surrounds human life which you can do nothing about, you can do nothing to control it, it just happened.”