An Imagined Museum: works from the Centre Pompidou, Tate and MMK collections sees three key European art museums united to bring together over 60 major artworks. It presents an ‘imaginary museum’ containing works from three of the most prestigious European collections by international figures including Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968), On Kawara (1933 – 2014), Claes Oldenburg (b. 1929), Sigmar Polke (1941-2010), Bridget Riley (b. 1931), Dorothea Tanning (1910 - 2012), Andy Warhol (1928-1987) and Rachel Whiteread (b.1963).
The exhibition draws on Ray Bradbury’s 1953 sci-fi novel Fahrenheit 451, a narrating of a distant future in which works of literature are banished and the only way to save them is to learn them by heart. An Imagined Museum invites audiences into a fictional scenario in which the exhibited artworks are about to vanish. In the same way that Bradbury’s characters memorise books to ensure their future preservation, An Imagined Museum asks visitors to memorise its artworks. A performance space allows visitors to personally recollect and represent the works they believe should be remembered forever and the exhibition culminates in a weekend event entitled 2053: A Living Museum from 20– 21 February 2016, when all artworks will have left the gallery to be replaced by members of the public.
By bringing together over 60 significant pieces of art, the exhibition proposes interpretations of the unique values that only art brings into our lives. Its sections elaborate on key reasons to save art for the future such as its ability to transform the everyday, to alter perceptions, to celebrate the enigmatic and to anticipate the future. Highlights include: Bridget Riley’s Fall 1963 whose optically-dazzling work alters viewers’ visual perception of the world; Andy Warhol’s 100 Campbell’s Soup Cans 1962 and Claes Oldenburg’s Soft Typewriter, Ghost - Version 1963, hinting at art’s ability to transfigure reality; Marcel Broodthaers’s Daguerre’s Soup 1975 which investigates systems defining our visions of the world.
Part of Tate Liverpool’s autumn/winter season, entitled Works to Know by Heart, the exhibition encourages audiences to take an active role in the exhibition and to form a personal relationship with the artworks on display. It is through this proposal that the exhibition imagines a future museum which is made by and with audiences and in which their relationship to the works of art is as important as the works themselves.
An Imagined Museum: works from the Centre Pompidou, Tate and MMK collections is curated by Francesco Manacorda, Artistic Director, Darren Pih, Exhibitions and Displays Curator and Lauren Barnes, Assistant Curator, Tate Liverpool; Peter Gorschlüter, Deputy Director, MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt am Main; Hélène Guenin, Head of Programming Department and Alexandra Müller, Research and Exhibitions Officer, Centre Pompidou-Metz.
An Imagined Museum will be presented consecutively at Tate Liverpool (20 November 2015 – 14 February 2016), MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt am Main (24 March 2016 to 11 September 2016), and at Centre Pompidou-Metz (21 October 2016 to 27 March 2017).