Wehner and the Museum Clausum:
The name, Museum Clausum, which translates
as enclosed or sealed museum, is adopted
from Sir Thomas Brownes 17th Century pamphlet, Musaeum
Clausum, an inventory of fantasised objects that form
a fictional collection. This ironic treatise on the Early Modern
novelty of assembling objects in the manner of a wunderkammer is
hence a comment on the questionable artificiality of museum-type
display, as old as the museum itself.
Wehner is a visual artist whose work has focused on the museum
for a number of years. He also completed a practice-based PhD in Art at Goldsmiths, University
of London, based on his museum work (2012). His thesis focuses on issues around museums and photography. Initially used for two exhibition projects, Klaus has adopted the name Museum Clausum as a general artist's pseudonym. By adopting this 'corporate','institutional' identity, Klaus presents himself as collector and presenter of artefacts rather than as 'artist'. He has photographed museum interiors for a number of years in his distinct style, which is created mainly 'in camera', and which he considers as matching thus unmasking the museum's own curatorial artificiality. Presenting his own photographs under the umbrella title Museum Clausum: Wundercamera as a 'collection', emphasises Klaus' dedicated questioning of concepts such as curating, collecting and art making.
One aim of the Museum Clausum remains to produce temporary exhibitions
that reflect on our relationship to objects and the importance of
the role and function of museums for our culture and self-awareness.
Museum Clausum exhibitions reflect on the culture of exhibiting
by putting museums on display. By emphasising the artifice in which
objects are staged, the Museum Clausum aims to draw attention to
the relative transparency of the institution when constructing and
presenting narratives. This, by default, creates room to question
those very narratives on display whilst exposing the museums
complicity in perpetuating desired narratives and concealing others.
Whilst the work of the Museum Clausum is a critique of the institution
it is also a homage and an acknowledgement of the museum space as
a possible medium for critical art practice as proved through
a long tradition of artists who have worked on or with the museum.
It is hence one of the aims of the Museum Clausum to foster and
promote increased critical museum literacy, as current
changes in museums policies are in danger to remain inadequate
and superficial if these are not additionally supported by changes
in museum visitors way of perceiving or reading
museums. Otherwise the museum will continue to simply 'tell' stories
only that the stories told have been altered to suit current
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