By composing unlikely objects or pictures into surrealist or dream-like visions, the artists could set the imagination going and channel the unconscious.
After the Second World War, a new generation of artists adopted this approach and called it assemblage. Their materials often included discarded objects or things that seemed worthless. This became a way of rejecting hierarchies in art and demands for purity, in favour of “anti-aesthetics”, where anything in everyday life could be used for experiments.
Öyvind Fahlström’s ”Dr. Schweitzer’s Last Mission” (1964–1966) is the hub of this room. The installation applies the collage method to question early-20th century Eurocentric notions of truth and enlightened narratives. The relationship between the parts of the work changes depending on your location in the room. Some of the elements in the installation are moveable – it was made so it could be rearranged by the artist. Fahlström called this work an “picture organ”, meaning that it generates pictures rather than being a picture.
In our digital era, the collage method is such a natural part of everyday life and how artists work that we hardly even think about it. Some contemporary artists, however, re-visit the form of the analogue collage as a method to challenge historic truths and dominating narratives.
You find the room in the Collection on floor 4
A new presentation of the Moderna Museet collection
A museum collection can be presented and interpreted in countless ways. Throughout 2019, the Collection will be in focus even more than usual, with a major new presentation that will unfold gradually in all the Museum’s collection rooms.
The art will be displayed thematically to a greater extent than before, to highlight new contexts. The new presentation is largely chronological, with occasional surprises by juxtaposing early key works with recent 21st-century acquisitions.
The ambition is to visualise even more narratives about the past and present. One premise for the new presentation is that history is not static but is constantly read and interpreted from a contemporary perspective. Therefore, several versions and interpretations of the Moderna Museet Collection will follow.
More on the Collection: Moderna Museet Collection
Published 29 October 2019 · Updated 5 November 2019